My husband and I had visited Thaï before, but at this point I hadn’t started a blog. We had the pleasure of trying it out again after a 2 year gap. I am no restaurant owner, but having eaten in many, I can assure you that consistency in delivering good quality food every single time is the toughest aspect of any restaurant business. After this 2 year gap, it feels like we were there for the first time all over again. The warm, welcoming staff, the surprise and intrigue of the menu, the oooing and aaaahing at the decor.
Dining at Thaï is a completely different and euphoric experience. You know that you are in the centre of Geneva, yet, it feels like a quaint little bistro in a remote part of Paris – so cozy is the ambiance. It has the feeling of sitting in a high-end Starbucks. I can go there with my husband and with my friends but it is one of those places that I wouldn’t mind coming on my own and sitting in my warm corner with a book eating gorgeous food.
The description which comes to mind is “so wonderfully simple yet beautifully complicated”. Simple because the decor, the set-up, the explanations of the dishes are easy to understand. It doesn’t read like a science experiment. Complicated because it is still a fine dining experience. The staff are impeccably trained, yet relaxed and fun. There are no white gloves with stiff backs. the presentation of dishes is flawless and the balance of flavours are, for lack of a better word – perfect. Using the vast range of spices so precisely to achieve balance is a complicated ordeal!
So, let me tell you about my love story with Thaï.
We started out with the “Chicken Salad with Salsa Mango, Tomatoes, Pineapple & Ginger” for my husband and the “Steamed Crab Meat Dumplings” for myself. The salad was such a celebration of flavours just bursting in your mouth. The mango giving its citrus and sweet note, the tomatoes for its luxurious melt-in-your-mouth effect and the pineapple which blended perfectly with the singe and warmth of the Ginger. If ever, you were a salad hater (like me), I KNOW this would convince you otherwise!
In most restaurants, when you order dumplings, what you get is a whole lot of the casing with very little meat inside. I was so wonderfully surprised to see the opposite. This number works really well for those who appreciate the more gentle and delicate flavours of Thai cuisine. I can tell the chef wanted to let the quality of the meat speak for itself and wow – did it sing, let alone speak! What a melody of sweetness from the crab with just a twang of warmth from the ginger.
After this gorgeous introduction to our weekend, we were graced with our main courses; “Grilled Beef with Thai Basil & Chilli Sauce” and “Saint Jacques Scollops, Spicy Sauce with Fresh Green Pepper & Soy”. What a delight! The cut of beef was no doubt a prime filet, the scollops were so incredibly fresh and sweet. To be honest, we both had a slight argument about who’s dish was better. In the end, I couldn’t help but be partial to my scallops. Definitely the star of the night! I was left with one ridiculous grin on my face – such was the effect of this dish on me.
At this point, we were so content, we were ready to just fall into our blissful food coma but the idea of desert was just too good to pass up.
To end our fabulous date night, we ordered the “Chocolate Fudge Cake with Ginger and Stem Ginger Ice cream* and the ” Café Gourmand with a Mini Fudge Cake and a Lemongrass and Ginger Cream Verine”. Okay, so you can’t get it all right. Although the cake was a little overdone, we were so happy with our main course that we didn’t even care. But my oh my, the Stem Ginger Ice cream – rrrrrrrr. It reminded me of my Chai. It tasted exactly like this…only cold – sweet stem ginger ice cream laced with cardamom. There is a saying from my father-in-law which comes to mind – “I could sit in this all day”, to the point where my husband had to remind me of restaurant etiquette to stop me from licking the bowl!
So now for the reality check. Nothing comes for free, so you might want to save this restaurant for a special night. Yes, it is expensive, but I promise, it is worth every penny – after all, it has its stamp of approval from none other than the Thai Embassy in Geneva!
It really is like no other restaurant in Geneva. In a bubble of its own it has the power to take you away from the dull reality of everyday life and put you in a state of spice euphoric dream.
Nidhi is a Geneva-based food blogger