Restaurant Review Project 21 – Monsoon

2 May

The clear chicken soup with vegetables

Once upon a time, there was an enthusiastic foodie and a blogger who took on the onerous task of reviewing 24 restaurants in a matter of 6 months. Well, that was 6 months ago! Restaurants were visited and revisited but the reviewing was forgotten conveniently. Also the baby that went with the pack to review restaurants grew up to be a highly active 2 and a half-year old who didn’t care about posh restaurants or their food. Slowly and steadily, restaurant visits trickled down and take outs and home delivery were preferred.  But it is time that I go through and fulfill the promise I made myself and show the world what a true foodie I am! For the uninitiated, this post shall elucidate why I took up such a bird-brained project in the first place. After my 20th review, I am really excited to write the 21st one because it is a special one. I have wanted to go to Monsoon, which is located in a stand alone compound in the Food district of Adliya,  for a long time. It has the reputation of being one of the best south-east cuisine churners in the country. They have been awarded numerous awards for culinary excellence year after year. No wonder, my curious taste buds were craving to go check the flavours that Monsoon seem to promise. But as luck would have it, whenever we tried to reserve a space it was always full. Finally after months, we did get a chance and we grabbed it with both hands.  Something just felt right about the night and I was prepared to be charmed.

But nothing prepared me for the fabulous South Eastern interiors and the haunting woodland scents from burning incense. A combination of all this threw my senses into a tizzy and meanwhile we were led to our seats by a gracious hostess dressed in a traditional Thai attire.  The eager bunch of us quickly took our seats and browsed through Monsoon’s exclusive menu. The dishes ranged from Thai, Vietnamese to Malaysian to Japanese and it made it amply difficult to pick out something from the extensive list. The jade crockery they served food in caught my eye and I admired the decor from where I was sitting. Even their washroom seemed a lot like a spa salon with floating roses and lilies and aromatic candles burning at all corners.

For starters we order the Clear and the creamy versions of the chicken soup with vegetables, chicken Satay with peanut sauce and Som Tam( the famous Thai raw Papaya salad) The soups were bursting with tangy flavours with the mild chicken playing its part to balance the taste. I took no time at all to slurp it all down before I took to the menu to order my next course. The chicken satay with peanut sauce was absolute deliciousness on sticks. Perfectly grilled and tender to eat, the chicken satay reminded me of my Honeymoon in Phuket.

Chicken satay with peanut sauce

Som Tam

Som Tam is a true flavour fiesta. It is a gorgeous medley of tangy, sweet, spicy perfectly balanced. It is a kind of starter for which you have to fight for your share because no sooner the waiter plonks the raw papaya platter on the table, it disappears.

Rice dumplings

Some of my vegetarian friends ordered some rice dumplings  which were fresh rolls with fried tofu, mixed herbs and sesame seed served with radish and carrot sauce which I wasn’t too keen on since I rather invest my calories on some good tasting meat. But they did get a big thumbs up from my vegetarian friends.

Assort of main course - Chicken and tofu in different sauces

An assortment of main course which had chicken and tofu in different sauces. These weren’t the top-notch considering how wonderful the starters were. Nevertheless, quite filling and if we hadn’t ordered the starters, we would have liked the main course a whole lot better. For the vegetarians there are plenty options in noodles in different sauces but one such noodle order seemed more like a vermicelli dessert since it was extremely sweet.  The charm seemed to fizzle out as the evening progressed when we finally ordered the dessert.

Panna Cotta with Raspberry coulis

Panna Cotta with raspberry coulis was one of the desserts that we girls picked which left much to be desired. I have not had the best of experiences whilst ordering dessert at South East Asian restaurants. 9/10 times it is a big let down and sadly, it was the case this time too.

Fried ice cream with strawberry compote

Being such a big fan of MasterChef Australia and having seen Pho ( don’t remember the season – Maybe it was 1) make fried ice cream, I wanted to try it atleast once. I expected the batter around the ice cream to be crisp and the ice cream inside the batter to be still firm but it was neither. I wasted my calories on that one, because it is a universal rule that once you order a dessert, it is your responsibility to finish it no matter what ( don’t ask me who propounded this rule. I just use it as per convenience)

All in all the sum total came to a handsome 63 Bahraini Dinar for a meal of 5 with drinks.

You can see me partially hidden towards the end. This photo is a reminder of what a wonderful time was had by us all. Food, wine and good company makes for a perfect evening. Monsoon fits the bill ( pun intended) in every possible way to meet this end. It is a place to relax, converse, nibble, inhale the fragrant aroma and be at peace. I would highly recommend Monsoon to anyone who wants to try authentic South East Asian cuisine and revel in a zen like space.

Monsoon has been Sliced!!

The verdict is :
Food – 4.5 /5
Ambiance – 4.5/5
Service – 4/5
Overall – 4.5 /5

20 Responses to “Restaurant Review Project 21 – Monsoon”

  1. Bikramjit Singh Mann May 2, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

    Hmm I am coming to visit yo sooooooon.. the food yummmy
    He he he

    • Anita Menon May 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

      do Bikram. Would love to host you!! Main accche parathe bhi banati hun

  2. Gayathri May 3, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    Glad you are back at it…3 more to go..:)

    • Anita Menon May 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

      yes!!! 3 more to go.. and then I guess a grand round up is in order

  3. I Live in a Frying Pan May 3, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    Love Som Tam! I could have mountains of it for lunch everyday…love the review, reminds me to go hunt out for some good Thai gems in Dubai :)

  4. Devina Divecha (FooDee) May 3, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    I’ve been eating so much Thai lately… making me hungry this review is.

  5. Deeps @ Naughty Curry May 3, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    this reminds me even i have neglected my restaurant review section! thats a great review… very honest. loved the way the food is presented coz i always eat wth my eyes first. never heard of fried icecream.. that sounds so wonderful and interesting but sad that it dint live upto the expectations

    • Anita Menon May 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

      Write your restaurant reviews Deepthi! It is fun. After writing this, I realized how much I missed it and its easy because YOU DONT HAVE TO COOK

  6. Deboshree May 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    The starters look yum indeed. It is almost a fault – them being so good – for the main course tends to fizzle out. The dessert looks good too…its been a while since I had some good Panna Cotta. Super review, Anita! :D

  7. Ameena May 3, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    We have a Monsoon here in Los Angeles as well and it honestly looks SO similar! How funny!

    • Anita Menon May 5, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

      :D I am sure they serve very good food too

  8. marie May 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    After Mexican food Thai is pretty high on my list. My sister lived in Thailand for 18 months and makes the best thai food and som tam etc. It’s a full day of cooking but when she makes a Thai feast we are all so very happy.

    • Anita Menon May 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

      Thai food does have exquisite flavours and is one of my favourite cuisines

  9. Helene (@MasalaHerb) May 4, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    Hi anita!
    I didnt really get where this restaurant is situated, dubai?
    the name sounds familiar though but maybe I am mixing it up with a place in bombay…

    anyway… no wonder this restaurant received numerous prestigious awards. the best presented dish is no doubt the panna cotta! I should have had the idea with mine. ^.^

    I enjoyed your review Anita and your amazing way of playing with words in a phrase. I wish I could learn more from u. ;)

    • Anita Menon May 5, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      This is in Bahrain

      You should have panna cotta in your restaurant. It would be an instant hit
      Thanks so much for your kind words

  10. pooja May 6, 2012 at 3:37 am #

    I am reliving the flavours and fragrances of Monsoon thanks to your post!
    What exquisite craftsmanship with words Anita!brilliant!

  11. Cass @foodmyfriend May 7, 2012 at 2:40 am #

    I wish that this restaurant was near me! How beautiful does that food look :)

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