When one of the best Oriental restaurants in Pune decided to host an Asian food festival, it caused quite a stir amongst the food bloggers and we at Moi Palate couldn’t refrain ourselves from being a part of it.
Situated in Kalyani Nagar on the Viman Nagar highway, Baantao is one of the few gems that you wouldn’t want to miss.
A Tropical exterior punctuated by waterfalls , huge red pineapples and candlelit tables arranged along the waterfall, Baan Tao promises you a fine dine experience of its kind.
The candle lit tables
tablesAs you move indoors, the décor gets more sophisticated with plenty of wooden paneling and a chic seating. From the elegant table setting to the stunning décor, every corner of the restaurant whispers ‘fine dining’.
With the staff
The servers are attentive and professional, able to answer any of your probing questions with ease. The Chef, Sunil Joshi, who has designed this extravagant spread of Asian cuisine, walks around to ensure you relish every morsel.
As we enter, we are welcomed by the staff. The waiter walks us through the street counters to a beautifully arranged table overlooking the waterfall. We are completely blown away by the seating and the view in front of us.
The theme is Asian and the street style food counters totally amuse us.
The waiter is courteous and asks us for our choice of drinks. He then walks us to the salad and soup counter, patiently explaining each of them.
The beautifully decorated mushrooms and vegetables
Salads: Of the raw mango, som tum (raw papaya) salad, Japanese – Yaki Niki and bean sprout salad ; the som tum and yaki niki bowl us over. The crunchy peanuts and the sweet and sour taste of the papaya tickle our taste buds. The Yaki Niki is heaped with juliennes of chicken and capsicum. The salad is fresh and is a delicious opening to the evening.
The raw mango salad is more heavy because of the lemon chilli paste and could totally pass off as a meal. The bean sprout salad is more on the peppery side.
Soups: The vibrant rich garnishing spread for the soup is a treat to the eyes. There is broccoli, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, crunchy crushed peanuts, chicken, prawns , fish, soya sauce, chilli sauce.
The Tom Kha which is a Thai sour and spicy coconut soup and the clear soup with anise, celery stock and burnt garlic is wonderfully executed. It has a distinct otherness to it.
The huge soup spread
Dimsums: Next on the ‘Asian street’ is the dimsums. Beautifully coloured, 7-8 varieties of delicious dimsums are paraded on the dimsum counter. While we try to figure out which one to order, the waiter gets us one of each. We are not only overwhelmed by the hospitality but by the powerful flavours in our mouth. The chicken dimsums are grilled and pack a punch with their spicy and a slight sweet taste. The corn dimsums are mustard coloured but don’t impress us much. The shrimp dimsums and the asparagus waterchestnut dimsums have a soft velvety covering that melt in our mouth and is flavoursome.
Grills: The grilled prawns paired with sweet chilly sauce are a powerful mix. The grilled basa falls apart in our and the combination of flavours is outstanding. There is grilled chicken, lamb and calamari amongst the others.
Main Course: While we are confused about what to choose for main course, the waiter seems to know what we might like. Thai red curry with jasmine rice. This is a high voltage pairing as the red curry explodes in our mouth bringing out rich creamy coconut flavours. It didn’t talk, it screamed “delectable”. We also tried the egg fried rice with hunan sauce but it was humbled by the powerful Thai red curry.
Desserts: The desserts are an interesting mix of mousse, momos and fruits. However, the surprise of the evening is the Tub Tim Krob. It is an interesting concoction of crushed ice, chilled coconut milk, strips of jackfruit, litchi macerated with rose syrup. This truly is a winning combination and one of its kind.
Tub Tim Krob
After enjoying mouthfuls of indulgent bites, we dig into chocolate momos. Chocolate ganache momos drizzled with crunchy almonds, has a candy like effect on us- addictive and awesome.
We are packed by the time we are done with these dishes but it is an experience that will stay with us foreover.
Recommendation : Even though the spread is huge and the prices are a little steep, Baantao delivers what it promises –a great dining experience which will have you craving for more. Baantao is your answer to an authentic Asian restaurant with a wow factor!
Chk out our video shot at Baantao http://youtu.be/hji-ienQVug
Overall Experience: 4/5