The first time I went to the spruced up Thai High (earlier the roof-top restaurant was Thai Wok, owned by the present owner plus two partners who have since moved elsewhere) I was distinctly underwhelmed. There was a Thai chef in place, but the restaurant had too many teething troubles, food being just one of them. Six months later, it is quite a different story: the Thai chef has gone, young Indian chefs are in the kitchen, the restaurant has found its feet, the staff are superbly trained, they don’t over-service a table, the manager is a walking encyclopedia on every last dish on the menu (believe me – a rarity in Delhi) and the chatterati flock here every evening, blocking up the parking place with Porsches and Prados.
It came as a revelation to me that Indian nationals could beat Thais at cooking Thai food, but the Yam Takrai Koong (Rs 375) was fresh, the prawns cooked till they retained their juicy crunchiness and the drizzle of sweetness in the salad balanced perfectly the acidity of the lime juice. There was just enough spice to make it interesting, yet not so much as to blow away the top of your head.
Kai Yang Takrai (Rs 275) consisted of grilled strips of chicken with an intense sauce of soy and lemon grass. Dry enough to be ordered with drinks, they make the ultimate snack because of their strong flavour. The Tom Sab Krapaw Talae (Rs 250) was an unusual Thai soup, totally clear with no hint of sourness or lemon grass, and had a modest amount of squid rings and fish lurking in its depths.
Pla Hoa Baitong (Rs 325) turned out to be sliced fish wrapped in banana leaves and steamed with a coarsely textured nutty sauce on the side.
It is easy enough to get a selection of starters right; less so to hit the bull’s-eye on main courses. But that was the surprise of the evening: all the main courses were not only perfect, they were visibly different from one another. Crab with Black Pepper, Galangal and Honey (Rs 495) was dry, crisp with caramelized honey that made it sweet but only marginally so that offering crab crackers was made redundant: the pieces were optimally cut to be eaten easily. Thai High is one of the few places where you <I>can<I> order this dish on a first date! Also at the price, it is rare value for money, especially in view of the stylish surroundings. In fact, I’d say that the restaurant represents value for money, great ambience and good food, more or less in that order.
Kai Phad Kraphaw (Rs 350) was my all-time favourite Thai dish: minced chicken with basil. Usually served as a starter, Thai High gives a generous portion as a main course. In Thailand, you would expect the dish with a hint of sweetness – after all, combining the four tastes of sour, sweet, salty, bitter in combination is one of the defining features of this exciting cuisine. Pla Phad Khing (Rs 395) – fish stir-fried with ginger and spring onion had a myriad undertones in its seemingly simple appearance.
My companion and I chose an Orange cheesecake as our dessert, from a tray of pastries. I have to say it tasted better than it looked: deco sponge is a trifle passé, and some desserts would work better in stemmed glasses.
3rd floor, Ambawatta Complex, Kalkadass Marg, Mehrauli
Ph: 26644289, 26641796
Open from 12 noon to 1am
Alcohol served; credit cards accepted
Meal for two: Rs 1500