A certain someone’s fresh-from-the-oven legacy is swiftly being cooked to perfection. I speak of Zorawar Kalra, not Jiggs (whose legacy is incontestable), and how he continues to revolutionise the industry with Massive Restaurants Pvt. Ltd, one opening at a time.
While I have thoroughly enjoyed meals at his restaurants, I have usually had some minor quibbles. I find that difficult to do with the all-new Bo Tai, which offers modern Thai and Italian grills. This may just be his most evolved brand yet. Here’s why: Bo Tai enters the fray at the stylish One Style Mile district in Mehrauli, which big guns like The Grammar Room and Olive Bar & Kitchen have already elevated to extraordinary standards. But the restaurant is confident of its abilities right at the onset—it has a picturesque walkway, opulent stairway and a black-beige-gold interior to show for it. The indoor seating reflects this aesthetic, while both the al-fresco rooftop sections have a casual lounge vibe with a hint of romance (candlelights, the moonlight and the Qutub Minar at a distance).
However, as impressive as Bo Tai already seems, the cocktails further amp things up. They have roped in London-based Dino Koletsas to develop a signature menu with some of the most innovative tipple I have seen. The Full Moon Festival is my favourite. Inspired by Loi Krathong, a Thai festival (each signature corresponds to Thai folklore), it has a gin base, strawberry and rose syrup, grapefruit, orange syrup, lime and a bunch of other ingredients. This potpourri, somehow, has a soupy taste, but the kind that you would rather hic down. Another is the Bangkok Boulevard. It is a little gimmicky—comes in a glass sprayed with, um, actual gold—but this whisky, tropical vermouth, honey lime and sparkling wine-based concoction has a taste that trumps its ostentatiousness.
Chef Sahil Singh of Pa Pa Ya fame is helming Bo Tai as well, so the food is not a concern. Purple is my favourite colour, and when the smelted rice-flour dumplings came wearing the shade, they won by sheer aesthetics. And, yes, they had a taste to match. The scallop carpaccio is the perfect hors d'oeuvre—refreshing, adequately flavoured and functioning like a palate cleanser. The duck sausage is a flavour fest—something I had not anticipated as I usually find the meat bland. Among the main course dishes, the massaman curry with steamed rice (served in a cross between a wine glass and a fish bowl)—as authentic a Thai dish as it gets—is a standout.
Nothing caps a meal as well as a good dessert. The kabocha custard tart with mango ice
cream introduced me to the Japanese pineapple. It also gave me quite the ‘food’ for thought—as with this fruit, Bo Tai uses plenty of ingredients sourced from other countries. So, effectively, wasn’t the entire world in my tummy?
Where: Bo Tai, 6/4, Kalka Das Marg, Near Qutub Minar, Mehrauli, New Delhi