The year was 2010. The place, Brigade road. We were poking around The Supermarket – the only reason to go to Brigade Road, really. You get things that you can’t get anywhere else – so secret, in fact, that we can’t even mention it here. And that’s when we saw it – Dakhani Degh – a tiny restaurant selling biryani. We use the word ‘restaurant’ lightly. It was more like a counter. He quickly became our go-to guy for a biryani fix.
Cut to 2012 and we landed up to find Dakhani Degh had disappeared. Once we were done beating our chests and shedding copious amounts of tears, we discovered a tiny little Thai restaurant, Lan Thai, had taken its place instead. Curious to see how it would measure up, we pulled up a chair and ordered some Phad Thai. One bite in and we were hooked. It’s funny how love works like that.
The place doesn’t look like much and neither does the food. So, if pretty is what you’re after, you (and your Instagram) will be sorely disappointed. But, if a little piece of Thailand is what you’re looking for, then sawasdee ka.
The food will bring back memories of the bustling, muggy streets of Bangkok being assailed by smells of dishes you are yet to discover, the beaches with their clear green waters and sweet, salty air.
Of course, this is Thailand in India, so you are sitting in a mall listening to the adhan, sipping on iced coffee. Talk about a multi-cultural experience. And yes, you heard right – they do iced coffee and do it the way God intended it.
The place is run by Shiva Prasad Patil, a former taxi-driver, who bumped into a Thai family – the Pasertjits – while waiting to pick up his son from school some 4 years ago. They wanted to enroll their children in a school in Bangalore and Patil suggested that the international schools might be a better fit. He, then, proceeded to ferry them to every single one in Bangalore. They ultimately enrolled in one they liked. Patil also helped the family find an apartment and identified English coaching classes for the children and drove them to and fro everyday.
Pasertjit was concerned about the mounting costs and making ends meet when Patil suggested opening a restaurant to help make a little extra money. It would also cater to the burgeoning South-East Asian student population. He had quite a few Thai contacts in the city, on account of his being a taxi driver, and made the introductions. And the rest, as they say, is history. Pasertjit has since gone back to Thailand but the restaurant continues to be managed by Patil. All the food is lovingly prepared by Palake – a sweet, smiling Thai grandma you just want to put in your pocket and take home.
Their clientele is mostly Malaysian, Korean, Thai and the few Indian people who actually understand Thai food. They have recently added a ‘new’ menu catering to their increasing Malaysian clientele. The fried chicken is a most welcome addition. Order it with a side of the sticky rice.
Chilli Basil Beef is a perennial favourite with the carnivores. And with good reason. Staples include the Phad Thai that continues to delight with its perfect balance of sweet and sour, heat and crunch, and the Red Curry that’s an ode to all things sublime.
Manu Chandra has apparently said that, somewhere on Brigade Road, he has had the best Thai food in the world. We agree and not just because we love Manu Chandra. So, don’t take our word for it. Take his.
How to Get There:
Where: Lan Thai, 5th Avenue Mall, Ground Floor, Brigade Road, Bangalore
Contact: +91 9845816116
Cost: ₹900 for two people
Timings: 11 AM to 8 PM