You know what the best part of eating at a place that hasn’t filled up at all is? That there is no chance of getting the virus. But we are at Bo-Tai Switch, the newly opened diner in the heart of the national capital offering a conceptual culinary experience, that has already been taken care of by the socially distanced tables here.
We have a table right by the floor-to-ceiling window, which translates into a delicious view of the alfresco dining area. Sitting where we are, feelings of envy for the outdoors-eaters are natural but boy, aren’t we getting the best of both worlds here—we can flit in and out just as we please. Bo-Tai Mehrauli would be envious of the attention its patrons are going to lavish on its sibling. It would be really something to sit in a corner and watch this chic fine-dining space ‘switch’ into a throbbing post-sundown party environment, which is the idea behind this new offering by Massive Restaurants.For entrée, we have the avocado salad, and right from the word go, the texture in tandem with the nice lettuce crunch has set the tone for the rest of the nice winter’s day lunch. Bo-Tai Switch has an artful selection of salads, and we recommend the Raw Mango & Soft-Shell Crab. Our eyes are, however, set on the Wok-tossed Chicken and our choices of dessert that is later to come, in which case the lighter-seeming Preserved Raw Mango & Avocado is just the way to go.
Read: Prawn Soup for the Soul
Most people I know would be averse to experimentation with their dumplings, but the exquisite-looking blue leaf chicken dim sums here—Smelted Rice Flour Dumpling with Chili Sampalok—and the flavours are ever so subtle and the chicken just so tender. The spin is probably a nod to the dok anchan element in Thai cuisine. But I wish I had them warmer—that’s the kind of risk you run if you’re doing everything in life for Instagram. So, when the Crispy Caramelised Prawns arrive, I make sure I acquaint every bit of my palate with their juicy goodness.
The retinue of starters hasn’t really let us appreciate the fine ambience at Bo-Tai Switch yet but getting up to witness the smoking of the Naga Fireball at the bar (which we are told is 60-feet-long—wow) allows us to finally run our eyes around the slick interiors and the calming design aesthetic. I especially love the high chairs and the use of lights to provide accents to an understated colour scheme.
The alfresco dining setup feels free and yet sequestered within the delicately laid-out confines of the restaurant. The trellis panels with the vines provide a delightful touch of the outdoors cosy. Turn right (on the way out) and you’ll soon walk into the swanky but cosy private lounge meant for private soirees and family or corporate get-togethers—a neat addition even for a world that didn’t need social distancing.
I have always associated Asian flavours with more modest setups but the main course seems bent on exposing my ignorance to myself. The Thai Green Curry is fragrant and creamy. The jasmine rice, curries and veggies are served in ceramic, traditional-style bowls (great portions) and the Prawn Satay is just a show-stealer. We have a little touch of Indonesian with the priceless Sambal Oelek and diced chicken, and it is balanced splendidly by the “exotic” Thai vegetables—and my favourite black bean and coriander sauce. The next time we’re here, we would like to try the teasing selection of pizzas (Pizza Vegetariana, Chicken Bulgogi and the tuna-, salmon- and prawn-based True Ocean) they have on offer.
Believe it or not but having a sweet tooth equips you with an incontestable judgment of desserts, and if I’ve eaten a better tiramisu than the one here, I sure as heck have forgotten it. Fluffy and mushy, this evanescent darling does real justice to its name—tiramisu in Italian means ‘pull me up’.
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We also have Belgian Chocolate Tart with Coffee Mousse but I’m not much of a tart guy, so we ask for the Coconut Crème Brulee, whose reputation precedes it. And that it lives up to—the glassy, burnt sugar crust is almost intoxicating and the cream beneath that, doused in the coconut’s inside, is sinful.
The drinks menu at Bo-Tai Switch’s well-stocked enoteca has been conceptualized by London mixologist Dino, who told us that the selection of beverages takes into account local flavours and ingredients. The gin-based, potpourri-style Full Moon Festival is a playful drink served in a globular glass is a beaut, with a hypnotic medley of rose syrup, grapefruit and lime—perfect for lovers of fruity tipples.
My second choice has to be the edgy Naga Fireball, which comes smoked and is single-malt based, its overpowering cacao bitters touch causing a delightful trauma to the palate. Just pure old-fashioned mixology.
Where: Shangri-La’s - Eros Hotel, Janpath, New Delhi
Price: Rs 2,500 for two