Exploring the sub sois of lower Sukhumvit, I was thinking where the hell I’m I? Is this Bangkok or am I some where in India? After a while of rethinking, things started to come back. I was at an American Express event where they had an Indian themed party with Indian food and Indain dancing. I met the lady who was the hosting the fabulous Indian food. She invited me to her restaurant which is located in an area of what you can call little India of Bangkok.
In this area of Sukhumvit between soi 1- soi 15 for a Thai you can feel very foreign. It is a multi national business and entertainment area with many nationalities from African, middle east, western, and of course Indian.
Mrs Balbir is located in soi 11/1, it is a bit hidden, but if you ask the people in the area, everyone knows where it is. When we arrived, the restaurant is bright with warm tone lighting. The street side restaurant has very large windows looking out to the sub street. Mrs. Balbir the owner is a TV personality, she has a weekly show called “Bangkok Spice” on True vision series channel. Mrs. Balbir the restaurant has been in the business for almost 30 years. One of the first Indian restaurant in Bangkok. It is also an Indian cooking school taught by Mrs Balbir herself. Upon arriving, she welcomed us and showed us our seats. She personally recommended what was on the menu.
Hara Bhara Kebab
Yellow Saffron Rice the grains are unusually long, it looks beautiful
Malabar Coconut Tiger Prawn Curry and Chicken Tikka Masala at the back
When comfortably seated the attentive waiter recommend an Indian red wine “Chatilli 2006”. While having the wine and talking to Mrs. Balbir about Indian food the first dish arrived. “Hara Bhara Kebab” is made of spinach, it has a nutty flavor. It is a light but filling dish, very good if you’ve come to the restaurant very hungry and needed some thing to ease the hunger real fast. After that a set of dishes was rushed to our table. There are two types of curry, two types of naan, a sausage plater, saffron rice and roast chicken. The “Chicken Tikka Masala” chicken curry is very similar to a Thai dish called “Keang Mussamun Kai (แกงมัสมั่นไก่)” taste a bit sweet for me but that’s how it should taste like. The “Malabar Coconut Tiger Prawn Curry” is very unique, it has a cheesy/yogurt taste which blends real well with the curry paste and prawn. Just thinking about this dish I want to go back and have some more with the perfectly cooked butter naan. The butter naan is one of the best, cooked on the tandor oven. The garlic naan is also very nice. The “Lamp Seeku Kebeb” was made of mutton shredded made with herbs and fresh peppers wrapped around a barbecue rod and put in the tandor. The “Tandori Chicken” was very moist but it needs more seasoning, it also taste similair to Thai roasted chicken.
Lamb Seeku Kebeb
For desert, “Rasmalai” cheese on sweet milk and pistachio light and refreshing not too sweet. And the Indian Tiramisu “Gulab Jamun”, a donut soaked in syrup, this is true for all Gulab Jamun. As expected it was perfect.
Indian and Thai Food share similar ingridience and herbs, Thai uses fresh herbs, Indian uses dried herbs. Even with the same herbs the taste and scent can be a whole lot different and sometime it could be very similar. These are one of the charm of the culinary world which makes eating so pleasurable and mysterious.
Hara Bhara Kebab 120
Malabar Coconut Tiger Prawn Curry 340
Chicken Tikka Masala 290
Tandori Chicken 300
Garlic Naan 90
Yellow Saffron Rice 90
Gulab Jamun 120
Mrs Balbir the hidden gem
Address:155/1-2 Sukhumvit Soi 11/1
Text: Vasin Srivarathanabul
Photo: Chotima Jumpa, Thanapong Wasuthanasub