When Javed invited us to the launch of Tuk Tuk, his new venture with his business partner Anisha, we had no reason to turn it down. It was being touted as a Thai restaurant that serves authentic Thai food, something that this city could do with a little more of.
Javed Sanadi,of Jhalak Dikhla Jaa fame, is a choreographer by profession, and Anisha Lakhar, is a professional makeup artist. The idea of Tuk Tuk came to him when he and Anisha decided to take a trip to Thailand to enroll for a cooking course in traditional Thai cuisine at the Silom Cooking School at Bangkok. Being foodies, they enjoyed their time learning various techniques and soon decided to start Tuk Tuk back in Mumbai.
Tuk Tuk is located on the New Link Road in Andheri West. The interiors are bright, with yellow and red walls adorned with Khon masks and Thai puppets. It was a bit too yellow for me but we were really excited for the food. We were welcomed by Anisha and soon Javed joined in. They had prepared a set menu which looked exciting, we could hardly wait.
We started with the Cha Yen, the Thai Ice Tea (Rs 135) which is a milky iced tea sweetened with condensed milk. This is usually served on crushed ice and served in plastic bags with a straw in all the markets in Thailand. It was fun to have this in Mumbai. They also have a fun drink called the Bubble Tea (Rs 135) which has tapioca balls in it, you should definitely try.
Next, we had the Prawn Tom Yum soup (Rs 185). Bursting with flavours, it had fragrant lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves. We enjoyed this soup. It was delicious, and was something you would really want on a rainy day.
Then we had the Som Tam salad (Rs 160). Probably the most popular salad in Thailand and one of my favorites. You know it’s a “real” Thai restaurant if they get this right dish right and we both had a big smile on our faces. The seasoning and flavours were spot on, and the peanuts added the perfect amount of crunch. We did feel the size of the raw papaya should’ve been a bit thinner. Overall, it was well balanced and we finished it in minutes.
We then tried the Laab Gai (Rs 185), a classic warm minced chicken salad from the North Eastern part of Thailand. We loved it as it was simple and tasty. The toasted rice in the salad added to the texture. The herbs didn’t overpower the dish making it oh-so-scrumptious. This goes really well with sticky rice.
The next dish we had was bold and lip-smacking good. The Thai Extra Spicy Sweet & Sour Wings (Rs 250). They said once you try it, you won’t be able to stop. They were right. It was spicy hot, tangy and a lil sweet, the chicken wings were crispy and I absolutely loved it. I remember how Javed stood right next to me to see my expression when I took the first bite. I love chicken wings; but most of the time they’re slathered on with so much sauce, that it ends up losing its crunchiness. These were crispy, crunchy and packed with a punch. A must try!
While I was still savoring the yummy chicken wings, Joash’s face lit up when the waiter got us the Yam Pla Duk Fa (Rs 350), a deep fried fish cutlet served with Mango salad. Traditionally it’s called Yam Pla Duk Fu which translates to Crispy Fish Cloud. It’s made with cat fish and bread crumbs. This dish in itself was OK but didn’t taste anything like the original Thai dish. It had way to much bread than fish in it. I also think they should make changes in the description of this item on the menu. It says Deep Fried Basa, which is misleading, as it’s only a cutlet made out of Basa fish. Joash loved it, but I would only give it a 2 out of 10.
And now, our mains. Penang Curry (Rs 265) with Steamed Rice (Rs 100). We were pretty impressed by how the rice was steamed; each grain was separate, light and fluffy, cooked beautifully. The Penang curry went well with it, it was creamy and all the aromatics were well balanced. The most common misconception with regards to this curry is that people think it’s from Penang, Malaysia; but it’s actually a Thai curry, usually milder than the other Thai curries, and pronounced “Phanaeng”, also called Panang Curry. Phew! Glad that I got that off my chest 😀
We had also ordered a portion of the Pad Thai noodles which was a bit weak in terms of flavours. The place was buzzing with people and that could’ve been the reason they were not at the top of their game. However, we will be back to try these again for sure.
For dessert we had the Coconut Chocolate Mousse (Rs 175) and the Mango Sticky Rice (Rs 185). The Coconut Chocolate Mousse was flat and had not set well; the flavours were messed up. The Mango Sticky Rice was served in the traditional manner, Sticky Rice topped with toasted moong beans with a side of coconut milk sauce and slices of fresh mango. It is definitely something worth trying before the mango season gets over, as it’s not very sweet, yet all the elements of the dish just makes it a very pleasant dessert.
Tuk Tuk truly gives you a true ‘Thai market experience’. It’s priced reasonably. We will definitely be back. I would strongly recommend you to try out their teas, especially the Bubble Tea (Rs 135) with your meals instead of aerated drinks for the authentic Thai experience.