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Dive Into The Wonders of Coastal Indian Cuisine at NILA

by Venesa Daswani

From the Shores of Goa

By: Ayush Madan

Amidst the frantic pace of our daily lives, we sometimes overlook the nuances of our heritage. It takes a fresh perspective to make us reconsider what we think we know. This realisation dawned on me during a recent conversation with my colleague and friend, Grace, who asked me about the regional and seasonal variations in Indian cuisine. Growing up, I mostly knew the rich, hearty dishes of northern Punjab, like naan, butter chicken, and chole bhature. And yet, living somewhere as hot and humid as Bangkok, enjoying these rich, warming, winter foods can be challenging. However, now that I have experienced the coastal, light, and refreshing fare of NILA – aptly named after the colour ‘blue’ in Hindi – I realise I have much more to explore. And who better to share this culinary journey with than my grandmother?


Upholding their longstanding reputation of catering to their Indian clientele, Amari Bangkok recently unveiled NILA – a restaurant which welcomes its patrons on a culinary expedition to coastal India. From the moment you walk through the open doorway, the vibrant amber hues of light will bathe you in an ethereal warm glow. Hints of Portuguese architecture are peppered throughout, from the stained-glass window behind the bar to the pleasing patterns and angular fixtures in the dining area. The cherry on top is a spacious open kitchen which gives you a full view of your meal being prepared. The whole space has the identity of a Goan home from the 1900s, perfectly capturing the essence of susegad – beachfaring, saltwater-misted, and peaceful zen energy.



Once we were seated, I got reacquainted with the chilled pineapple rasam from my summer drinks roundup – still tart and refreshing as ever. We then kicked the meal off with their Pani puri (THB 280), which came presented in a beautiful and ornate red box. Each pani puri was stuffed with different flavoured fillings, and rested atop shot glasses with vibrantly-coloured waters infused with either pineapple, orange, mint with coriander, and pomegranate. My favourite was the pomegranate filling, which was equal parts sweet, sour, and spicy. Next, we tasted the vegetarian Paneer cafrael (THB 360) featuring perfect quenelles of a cherry and jalapeño jam placed on top of circular patties of paneer, faultlessly grilled. I was particularly fond of the way the sweet jam contrasted the spiced notes of the paneer, which had been glazed and marinated with pudine ki chutney. Our last starter was the Kozhi chuttathu (THB 390), with Malabar spices, red chilli, and yoghurt-marinated chicken. The seasoning was rich and packed a punch with its warm and earthy flavours, while the chicken was well charred on the outside and moist on the inside.

After savouring the delightful starters, we dug into the delicious mains, the first of which was the Kosha mangsho (THB 950), a Bengali-style lamb shank dish. The lamb was exceptionally tender, enveloped in a rich, spicy gravy that paired beautifully with the aloo chokha (creamy potato mash), which balanced out the bold spices. Next, we had the Chicken chettinadu (THB 490). The braised chicken drumsticks had a satisfying warmth from the coconut and black peppercorns. The spices were intense but not overwhelming, complementing the poultry perfectly.

The vegetarian Anjeer kofta (THB 390) was unlike any kofta dish I had ever tried. It featured grilled figs in a luscious cashew nut gravy. The sweetness of the figs interplayed wonderfully with the savoury elements of the dish, and the saffron paratha on the side was an excellent accompaniment. What really impressed me about this dish was how light the gravy was, not making me feel bloated in the slightest. Even after several spoonfuls, my grandmother and I kept coming back for more, with her later admitting it was her favourite dish. The Madras truffle karicho(THB 850) consisted of juicy lamb chops with a hint of truffle oil, elevated by a spicy tomato sauce. The flat-grill ensured the lamb was succulent and flavourful, with the truffle adding an additional umami depth.

We then tucked into the Piri piri chinga (THB 890), flame-grilled prawns marinated in piri piri. The prawns were plump and juicy, with a fiery kick from the marinade and a smoky undertone from the roasted bell pepper and tomato chutney. Another delicious prawn dish was the Daab chingiri (THB 750) presented with delicate tiger prawns served in a fresh tender coconut. The creamy coconut flavour was soothing; a perfect counterbalance to the spicy dishes preceding it. The coconut curry leaf pulao served alongside made for a delicious pairing. For fish lovers, the Fish polechuddo(THB 620) was a highlight, starring a red snapper fillet which came beautifully wrapped in a banana leaf. The tangy, spicy onion and tomato masala, combined with the unique kudam puli seasoning, made for a memorable bite, especially when paired with the soft appam. Our last indulgent main dish was the Hyderabadi chicken biryani (THB 550). This slow-baked dish featured tender chicken and spiced and fragrant basmati rice, a delightful contrast to the cool cucumber raita and the burst of freshness from the pomegranate seeds.

Dessert came – as all good things do – in threes. The Tender coconut rasmalai (THB 270) had a delicate flavour, with perfect spheres of rasmalaitopped with coconut shavings and jelly; the perfect amount of not-too-sweet. It was, dare I say, the best rasmalai I have ever tasted. Next, the Govin chocolate rumbo (THB 320) was rich and decadent, with deep flavours from the rum-soaked plum cake and chocolate, flambéed tableside for a dramatic finish.

The last dessert, the Filter kapi Tiramisu (THB 270) was another highlight. The tiramisu was creamy and continued the restaurant’s theme of light and airy dishes, with the robust flavour of Coorg filter coffee cutting through it all. And in just a few minutes, the cylindrical metallic bowl it came in was emptied.

Now having tried both their catering and restaurant offerings, I can undoubtedly say NILA is the new Indian restaurant Bangkok has been waiting for. They add unique twists on tried and true classics, effectively incorporate coastal Indian influences into their offerings, and even dare to create original dishes and desserts, happily colouring outside the lines and pushing the boundaries of the cuisine. On the way home, my grandmother mentioned feeling very light and easy – unlike the usual aftereffects of an Indian feast – further speaking to their consistent standard in serving up delicate, delectable delights. Chef Bharath S. Bhat has brought his talent to a new establishment and has already struck gold. After eating here, I can’t wait to visit Goa myself and taste the stories I was told at NILA.



The Fruit bhel (THB 310), made with puffed rice, boondi, mango, guava, grapes, and pineapple; an absolute must-try. Tossed with mint chutney and tamarind chutney, the flavours in the dish are striking and nail all the four quadrants of salt, fat, acid, and heat. My favourite thing is the textural wonderland it creates in your mouth. Stacked like a cake, the fruit on top and the crispy namkeen and chickpeas on the bottom make for the perfect bite.



4th Floor, Amari Bangkok 847 New Petchburi Road, Ratchatewi, Bangkok 10400 Thailand

Open daily from 5.30pm to midnight

Tel:  02 653 9000

Instagram: @nilabkk

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