Follow the aroma to the 29th floor
By Mahmood Hossain
Bangkok is a beautiful balance between centuries of tradition and modern metropolitan elements. So, it should not be surprising that there are always eateries popping up around town, bringing new life to each corner on almost every soi. For a restaurant that is already well-established, staying afloat is one thing, and continuing to stay relevant is another. Maya Restaurant, on the 29th floor of the Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit, has successfully navigated through one of the most challenging periods in recent times, working harder to keep heads above the deep and even more to innovate and bring back its patrons on a regular basis.
For the unfamiliar, Maya is deceivingly spacious. The moment you walk in, there is a warm welcome to its contemporary elegance and playful nature. To the right, an open kitchen bustling with skilled cooks and their arsenal of instruments churning out a delectable menu for their guests. The same view can be appreciated from the left, with the inclusion of a few tables nestled under the dimly-lit room. And depending on the time of day, you might be embraced by the wonderful display of natural light setting the evening mood through one of the glass walls. Oh, the walls. One of the most unmistakable characteristics of Maya is its panoramic view of the city.
The layout of the restaurant is uniquely drawn out. You’ll see the bar strategically placed in the centre as you enter the main dining area, situated to the left and the most spacious segment of the restaurant floor. Its seating and light fixtures are both chic and relaxing, as expected of any sophisticated fine dining experience. Maya also facilitates a unique blend of romantic evenings and get-togethers with friends or colleagues as a possibility, without either occasion’s vibes clashing against each other.
The opposite end of the restaurant is a bit more secluded, where you’ll find tables dedicated to a quieter dining experience. Perhaps an environment where you can enjoy a delicious meal and fall into deeper conversations. Take a few steps further and you’ll enter the outdoor, edge-of-the-roof experience. Slightly more intimate, this happens to be a popular choice for couples seeking to lock eyes and engage each other’s attention for hours on end.
FOOD AND DRINK
With a personal touch and returning Maya to its past glories is the Chef De Cuisine, Harish Tiwari, spearheading the restaurant’s modern approach to taking artistic liberties with traditional Indian delights. One of those significant standouts is the appetisers, which have the potential to outshine the starters and the main dishes. Whether it’s the succulent Prawn puchka (THB 350) or the melted and spiced-packed surprises inside the Galouti potli (THB 300), you could invest a hefty time on these apps alone.
The starters are there to elevate the experience before you pounce on the mains. The marinated prawns coated with peppercorn of the Jhinga kalimirch (THB 950) and the tangy skewered prawns in the Seabass jhol (THB 550) will leave you more than satisfied as you meet your prawn quota for the month.
As for the mains, we tried the Murgh awadhi biryani (THB 500), prepared in a traditional copper pot. The rice is cooked perfectly, with the right amount of moisture, and the chicken is tender to the bite. Scented with screw pine and rose water, this mouth-watering dish channels the flair and palette of the Nawabs, without the pomp and show. Alongside the Bhune pyaz ki subzi (THB 390), accompanied by Laccha parantha (THB 200) or Khamiri roti (THB 130), the mains leave just enough room for dessert.
Be it the Bailey’s bhapa doi (THB 250), a steamed yoghurt cheesecake with Bailey’s liqueur; the Gulkand gulab jamun (THB 150); or the Pandan phirni (THB 200); the desserts are light, not overly sweet, and served in appropriate portions. An entire meal can fill you up without you worrying about tiptoeing along the lines of a self-induced
Maya’s signature cocktails are also a wonderful addition to the festivities and feasting, whether you’re on a date or looking to liven things up with co-workers and friends. If you’re looking for something smooth and easy-going, the Moh maya (THB 350) can hit the spot – a blend of vodka with fresh passion fruit and fresh orange juice with a twist of what we can only assume is a secret ingredient. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something refreshing with a kick, the Somras (THB 350) is a dynamic cocktail with no secrets, just a blast in a glass that will tempt you to ask the bartender for one more. Maybe two. And to add a cherry on top, Maya will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a free-flow drink promotion throughout April.
The Dahi puri (THB 200), a concoction of wheat shells filled with masala potatoes, pomegranate, yoghurt and chutneys, was a clear favourite. We could have spent the entire evening devouring these flavourful bursts of wonder, washed them down with Maya’s lively cocktails, and called it a day.
MAYA RESTAURANT & BAR
29th floor, Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit
1 Sukhumvit 22, Klongton, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Open on Wednesdays to Sundays from 6pm to 1am
Open for Sunday brunch from 12pm to 3pm
Tel: 02 683 4888