A contemporary makeover for Thai and Chinese delicacies

Beverages and desserts are highlights at Bo-Tai, attached to JW Marriott

Bo-Tai: Modern Chinese Thai Bar & Grill’ at JW Marriott, Vittal Mallya road is the newest kid on the block. It is the latest from Massive Restaurant, the brand that has Farzi Cafe, Masala Library by Jiggs, and other establishments to its name.

Located on the ground floor of the five-star hotel, the restaurant offers both outdoor and indoor seating. Built around a 200-year-old fig tree, it has an extremely cosy vibe. The greenery and the earthy tones, accompanied by dim yellow lighting and light music creates the perfect ambience for one to simply relax. Chef Sahil Singh has curated a menu that offers a contemporary take on Chinese and Thai food and grills while trying to stay true to the flavours. 

We started off with the ‘Preserved Raw Mango Salad’ which has pickled raw mangoes, giving the dish hints of sharp sourness, which is balanced by crunchy coconut slices and creamy cubes of avocados. The ‘Raw Mango Soft Shell Crab Salad’ included pickled raw mangoes, a flavour that became an instant hit at the table. The crab, while tasty, was fried in a batter that was slightly undercooked. However, the subtle spiciness of the crab blended perfectly with the sour mangoes. ‘Corn Curd’ was an interesting dish. The corn curd is tossed with chilli and spring onions and then deep-fried.

We were warned to not pop it into our mouth in one go, even though it was small, because it was hot. Cut a piece into half and allow it to cool down for a few seconds, lest your mouth should burn. The creaminess of the curd, the crunchy outer texture along with the mildly spiced corn makes for a delightful appetiser.

The ‘BBQ Pork Spare Ribs’, a great accompaniment for your drinks, was juicy and tender, with the meat coming off the bone easily. We were not a fan of the ‘Avocado Carpaccio’ which was thin slices of avocado topped with yuzo soy sauce. The dish seemed rather bland, and the portion size was quite small.

The ‘Braised Escalopes of Lamb’ had strips of lamp that had been well cooked and tossed in palm sugar and shallots. The lamb was juicy, though slightly chewy. However, if you are not a fan of the flavour of shallots, stay away from this dish as the taste is quite strong. The ‘Parched Chicken Miang Kham Michigan’, with plum and raw mango, while tasty, was a miss. The chicken was placed on a bread made from sago seeds, which was sadly both, dry and soggy. The ‘Crystal Pork Dumpling’ had a reddish hue to it, and nothing else to set it apart. 

For the main course, we were offered ‘Tofu and Truncated Soy’, a gravy that featured roasted peanuts, Thai basil sauce and birds eye chilli. The sauce was delish and slightly pungent for our taste. However, I have personally never been a fan of soy, but for those who are, this might be your next go-to dish. The ‘Massaman Duck Curry’ was simply one of the best dishes I have ever had. It was creamy, thanks to the coconut milk, and had crunchy cashews, well-cooked duck and the right blend of spices. The dish paired very well with the Jasmine Steamed Rice-- a combination I would return for in a heartbeat. The ‘Pad Thai Noodles’, featuring a sweet and spicy sauce, was also served. While the noodles in itself were delicious, it could not beat the duck curry-rice duo. 

For the desserts, we had the ‘Chocolate Tart’, which featured a Belgium chocolate mousse, a strawberry and coffee mousse and a tart. The dark chocolate kept the dish from becoming overly sweet. The combination worked perfectly. The mousse had, however, been dusted with cocoa powder, which I personally did not enjoy. 

However, it was their ‘Coconut Creme Brule’ that won our hearts. Served inside a coconut shell, the hardened caramelised sugar broke with just one crack, revealing a thick creamy coconut custard sweetened with jaggery. This dessert is a must-try for anyone who visits the restaurant. 

They also have an extensive drinks menu, with their own range of signature cocktails. Their ‘Full Moon Festival’, a gin-based drink that includes spiced vermouth, strawberry and rose syrup and edible flowers, is one of the most Instagram-worthy drinks on the menu. ‘Bangkok Boulevard’, their most expensive drink owing to the fact that it has real gold, is for the whiskey lovers. The combination of whiskey and champaign, mixed with spiced orange vermouth, honey-lime and sparkling wine made the drink both spicy and sweet at the same time. However, while the edible gold adds to great presentation, it makes the drink messy. ‘Hem and Lion’, which featured tequila and fresh watermelon juice, was refreshing and sweet. A strong drink, don’t let the sweetness of the juice fool you into believing otherwise. ‘Cool Heart’ came in a gold-coloured pineapple glass (props for creativity) and was a mixture of Gin, Jägermeister and Thai spices.  

The service was great; albeit slightly slow. The food, ambience and the drinks, however, definitely won our hearts over. 

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