Nestled a little way down Sukhumvit Soi 13, Benares Bangkok serves modern Indian cuisine with fine dining finesse. Guests are welcomed to the restaurant, which can accommodate 60 covers and includes a private dining room for eight, by genial director of operations, CJ Singh. Trimmed in black and gold, the venue is dimly but sufficiently lit with a soft glow from a cascade of hanging bulbs that Singh says are inspired by the Ganges River in the holy city of Varanasi (also known as Benares) at evening prayers, when the riverbank is lit up by the thousands of flaming candles and torches of worshippers.
Chef Navin Prasad, who worked at Benares London—the first Indian restaurant in the city to be awarded a Michelin star—developed the Bangkok iteration’s a la carte offerings and tasting menus with vegan options. Currently heading the kitchen in Thailand is chef-manager Pankaj Tiwari. Molecular as well as sous vide techniques are used across many dishes, while the bold flavours of Indian cuisine remain distinct so that the results have an interesting cross-cultural charm.
We kick off with first courses to share. Soft-shell karwari crab comes with a crunchy coating of semolina, which offers a pleasant contrast to the juicy meat. The dish is presented with a tangy raspberry chutney and butterfly pea mayonnaise. Foie gras is given a unique punch—it arrives with Indian savouries, coriander and cardamom and has a lightly smoked aromatic finish. A plate of saffron poached pear salad offers a refreshing palate cleanser. The sweet, luscious fruit pays a lovely complement to the bed of fresh greens, honey mustard vinaigrette, tamarind gel, multigrain crackers and almond flakes.
Also to share is a generous platter of prawns done three ways, our favourite being the grilled version which is plump, smoky and flavoursome, and served on a velvety base of coconut powder for a creamy finishing touch. If you’re craving a more traditional taste try makhrani tangri kebab, or chicken drumsticks marinated in black pepper and cooked with paprika and tandoori spices. It is served in petite shot glasses with a sharp yoghurt sauce. More details: https://www.thailandtatler.com/dining/benares-is-bangkoks-new-ray-of-light