When we last stayed at Dusit Thani Manila, Benjarong Thai Restaurant was still on the mezzanine level but recently it has undergone an enormous makeover and relocated to the ground floor. Known for its authentic Thai food, Benjarong is considered as one of the best Thai restaurants in Manila. My friends and I had the chance to try out their food at their new location last month.
Although Dusit Thani is an older hotel, it has not lost any of its elegance, I still consider it as one of the best hotels in Makati. When you step inside, the staff in silk costume stationed at the door greet you with the familiar, “Sawasdee Krab/Ka.”. The lobby architecture is stunning, grandiose and classy flowing with light throughout. Benjarong is located opposite The Pantry, another good restaurant in the hotel.
The new Benjarong has gained a wider space compared to its previous location. The added bar serves up pre-dinner drinks including bespoke cocktails and those hard to resist after dinner tipples. Another feature is a seating area where you can see the charming cooks prepare the food. Dining area embodies a mix of warm elegance with a fresh look and clean layout accented by good lighting and decorated with Thai artefacts.
Since all of us have been to Thailand, more or less we were all familiar with Thai fare. The only argument I guess was the level on how hot the dishes that we are going to order. After we’ve perused the menu, our order came down to a mixed appetiser/starters, mains and dessert all to be shared.
We were starving, believe me Friday evening traffic in Manila makes anyone hungry, so bring on the food! Served in a ceramic bowl with wooden base, Por Pia Tom Yam vegetable spring rolls were the first to arrive, just perfect starters. Freshly deep-fried, these bad boys had a golden crisp-crackly shell on the outside, moist vegetable filling on the inside.
Pandan leaves are popular ingredients to most Southeast Asian cooking, they add a vibrant aroma and flavours to a dish. Sure to hit the right spot, the fried chicken wrapped in pandan leaves – Gai For Toey with a Thai dipping sauce was a crowd pleaser, every bite added a chilli hit on the palate not to mention fresh chillies that accompanied it.
Everyone at the table loves a soup dish and the Tom Yam Gung didn’t disappoint at all. The broth was robust, hot, sour with hint of herbs and spices along with equally well cooked prawns.
For salad we ordered the Catfish floss – Yum Pla Duk Foo served with fresh green mango, cashew nuts, coriander and thinly slices of Spanish red onions. I’ve tasted this dish in Sydney once, and I must say that the rendition of Benjarong satisfy all the taste buds. It was crunchy and fluffy crumbled catfish mixed with all the elements, definitely a must try!
We all agreed that a Thai meal is not complete without a stir fried noodles – Pad Thai Gung Sod, a popular street food in Thailand. This is one of the signature dishes of Benjarong. With delicate balance of sweet and tangy sauce infused to the rice noodles, it was a flavoursome dish with notes of tamarind puree and shrimp paste. Served with prawns, bean sprouts and shallots.
Another dish that delighted our table was Gai Phad Med Ma Muang, stir-fried chicken with capsicum, cashew nuts, shallots and chilli. Packed with spicy punch, this is the perfect Jasmine rice partner, caution, you might ended up ordering another bowl of rice that tasty.
Three succulent grilled skewers of Nuea Ping, was the last dish, served with chilli, coriander and garlic sauce. Meat was tender and juice oozes out with smokey and hints of pepper flavours. In Thailand this is a classic street food enjoyed as an appetiser or even with a bowl of rice.
To finished off our gastronomy trip to Thailand in Manila, we could help but to try the very popular Khao New Ma Muang- Mango Sticky Rice. Sweetest mango ever, stacked on a bed of steamed glutinous rice served with freshly grated coconut and mango ice cream.
From their menu: ‘Banjarong means ‘five colours’. It is a unique type of Thai porcelain renowned for its intricate patterns. A masterpiece of the potters art, Banjarong was originally reserved for royal and ceremonial use. Thus, it is most fitting for a restaurant that preserves the tradition of Royal Thai Cuisine.
So if you’re visiting Manila, get your fix of authentic Thai flavours in one of Manila’s running Thai restaurants and experience the Royal Thai cuisine and service.
Benjarong Dusit Thani Manila Ayala Centre Makati Philippines
Dusit Thani Manila (For Packages and Promotions). Dusit Thani is our preferred hotel in Makati, Philippines.
E_deliciou_S & friends independently paid for this meal.