Often in the world of food, the war of prowess becomes an unwieldy battle between the real deal and the good stuff. There are those who have eaten dishes in their place of origin and will accept no other version of it; and there are those who accept appetising dishes with much nonchalance for authenticity. I take pride in saying I have picked a side; the former one of the two.
Anantara Veli’s signature Thai restaurant Baan Huraa easily surpassed all my prior rendezvous with Thai fare. Nestled over the ocean, the overwater haven radiates oodles of authentic Thai delicacies coupled with the finest hospitality. Enveloped by the rhythm of the sea beneath and the soothing horizon, I was overpowered by Baan Huraa’s ambience almost instantly.
The service was exceptional and the staff was welcoming and eager to help amateurs navigate the fairly alien menu. For non-vegetarians, the menu was inexhaustible with bountiful options across meats and seafood. Furthermore, unlike most other Asian diners flung far and wide, Baan Huraa had no dearth of vegetarian alternatives either.
Our much-awaited vegetarian three-course dinner commenced with the Thai version of paan. The server approached our table with an adorable wooden box brimming with some interesting condiments such as raw ginger, lemon chunks, raw coconut, red eye chilies and sambal. All the condiments were to be wrapped into a leaf to form a refreshing pre-meal bite.
Given my love for tofu, the Tofu Satay with Peanut Sauce was the most obvious choice for the first course. In addition, we also ordered a Som Tam salad. The Tofu Satay was a winner with its tender and velvety centre seasoned with spices and marinated to perfection. The peanut sauce was so delectable, we requested for another helping. We even teamed it up with the Som Tam salad, which was flavourful and tangy with a hint of spice from the birds eye chilies. The finely-cut papaya was left al dente to perfection, adding a crunchy texture to our first courses.
For main course, a sizeable feast greeted our taste buds in the form of Pad Thai Noodles, Massaman curry and a Three-Mushroom Salad. Commemorating the fine flavours of Thai cuisine, the Pad Thai was a real highlight! Comprising light flat noodles, sautéed perfectly with a wholesome variety of vegetables, the dish managed to maintain a perfect balance between sweet, tangy and spicy. The dish of the night however, was the Massaman Curry. It was a welcome change from all curries, be it Green, Red or Massaman, tasting exactly the same in most restaurants back home in India. While this Massaman curry too did have a generous amount of coconut, the flavour generated from the freshly prepared peanut paste and perfectly cooked vegetables, shone through and made it one of the better curries we have tasted on our travels worldwide. Interestingly, Baan Huraa ditched the concept of a singular portion of white rice; and partnered the curry with a trio of rice, brown, red and sticky white. We especially enjoyed pairing the curry with the red rice. Unfortunately, the Three-Mushroom salad was nothing to write home about; it lacked the zest and essential nuances the rest of the dishes entailed.
We were full to the brim after the delicious meal, but decided to order the chocolate ice cream for dessert. It was extremely creamy and airy, with an excellent dark chocolate flavour, making it a perfect end to a sumptuous meal.
All in all, we had a memorable culinary experience comprising a terrific amalgamation of flavours and textures right from start to finish. Baan Huraa is definitely a must visit for anyone heading to the Anantara properties in Maldives.
Where: Anantara Veli Maldives Resort
Veligandu, South Male Atoll 20109, Maldives
Phone: +960 664-4100
Average Cost: $110 for two people (approx)
Note: The critic was invited by the hotel but all the opinions expressed herewith are her own