Intro: It completes the bouquet of restaurants and cuisines in GK’s N Block Market.
Atmospherics: This is where Dao and its cousin downstairs, Dimcha, win. Chic and sophisticated with an overtly Thai sensibility, the restaurant is crowded every day of the week, and one gets the impression that the interiors play a large part. At night, cut-outs on the wall are back-lit, giving the compact restaurant a smart look that combines Thai craft with contemporaneity. The service still has to settle in: the staff is affably clueless about how to suggest dishes. At the most you will be told that a particular dish “moves very fast”! Portions are generous and at least at present, Dao is not an expensive proposition. Downstairs, Dimcha has very limited seating and is a dimsum and tea place (whose dimsums bear a suspicious resemblance to those at Yauatcha!) You can ask for dimsums to be served to you in Dao, but the food of Dao is not available in Dimcha.
Table Talk: In one word, the food is Indianized. That too, rather more than is necessary. Perhaps to take cognizance of the tastes of the neighbourhood residents, no fish sauce is used, pea aubergines are sadly overcooked, the curries are served with lashings of gravy and all the starters are either spicy or deep-fried or both. The kai kraphaw (Rs 475) had been so changed from the original version that I found it unrecognizable. Minced chicken, in the hands of a Thai chef, would be lightly tossed with seasonings, so that the colour of the chicken remains light. In Dao, it is a fried dish of chicken juliennes. The dish was tasty enough and well worth the money, but light-years from the original. Penang curry (Rs 425-675 for vegetables/fish/chicken/lamb/prawns) was one of the better offerings, in spite of the too-soft pea aubergines, a complete meal for two, with a portion of jasmine rice or sticky rice (Rs 275). Stir-fried eggplant (Rs 375) was one of the highlights of the meal. Kaeng hunglay moo (Rs 1395) was a pork curry in the northern Thai style: unusual and well-executed. In general, Dao’s best dishes are its curries and stir-fries rather than its salads and appetizers.
Plus and minus: The interiors and the exquisitely well-crafted menu make it seem like a restaurant with a Thai chef in the kitchen. Alas.
Must try: steamed red snapper in ginger sauce, Massaman curry, tofu in sweet chilli garlic sauce
Ratings: Food: 3.00, Service: 3.00, Décor: 3.50
N-17, Greater Kailash N Block Market, first floor
12 noon to 4 pm; 7 to 11.45 pm
Credit cards accepted; alcohol served