An Indian visitor for the Maharani

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The crunchy Amritsari fish.
The crunchy Amritsari fish.

The Royal Cliff Beach Resort was the host to a visiting chef, Gaurav Pandey from the Punjab. This was part of the Festival of ‘Partition’, commemorating the end of the British Raj in India, and 70 years of cooperation between Thailand and India. The local festival was held in the Royal Cliff Beach Resort’s Maharani restaurant and was attended by local dignitaries.

Chef Gaurav has been touring Thailand during this festival and is a very good ambassador for India. Still only 32, he began his cooking career by cooking his first dish when has was only 10 years old. Having both parents as cooks probably made his decision easier.

Chef Gaurav Pandey displays his Punjabi creations.
Chef Gaurav Pandey displays his Punjabi creations.

The recipes for his Punjabi dishes have been left in the Maharani kitchen, so lovers of Indian food can enjoy the same feast as the Dining Out team.

Chef Gaurav’s menu featured three non-veg entrees and we began with a Mahi Tikka Amritsari, which has cubed white flesh fish and marinated in mustard oil, flavored with carom seeds and a delicate spice mixture, leaving the skin spicy and crunchy, which comes off the flesh very easily.

The second one we tried was a Murgh Malai Tikka which was presented as a Punjabi boneless chicken, marinated in cheese, cream and aromatic spices and char grilled in the tandoor. I really enjoyed this one, with the seasoning going right through the chicken. At B. 340 it was not overpriced.

I particularly liked the Murgh Tikka Makhani Andaaz. Again a chicken dish and not too spicy. This one is recommended by both me and Chef Gaurav.

Of course, there is a normal a la carte Maharani menu with prices remaining very moderate compared to some Indian restaurants outside. The best value are the Thali plates, divided into non-veg and veg with these set menus great for those who are not au fait with Indian food, so these plates are the ideal way to understand and learn the Indian cuisine. The non-veg has chicken and lamb along with Dal (yellow lentil curry) and Basmati rice. This also has poppadums, naan bread and a stir-fried potato dish (Jeera Aloo).

My favorite Murgh Malai Tikka.
My favorite Murgh Malai Tikka.

The a la carte Indian menu has several starters with prices generally less than B. 300 (non-veg) and around B. 160 for vegetarian starters.

Lamb dishes are B. 350 in the main, and include a Vindaloo and Kashmiri Rogan Josh. Even seafood items are not over the top with most under B. 450.

There are numerous vegetarian dishes with most around B. 200-250, similar to the Dal items.

And finally there are different breads and rice styles to complete your Indian feast.

If you are entertaining guests, the Maharani restaurant should be on your list. You, and they, will not be disappointed. The food is excellent and the Royal Cliff service exemplary as usual. Highly recommended.

Maharani Restaurant, Royal Cliff Beach Resort, Pra­tamnak Road, South Pattaya, telephone 038 250 421. Closed Mondays, hours 11 a.m. until 2.30 p.m. for breakfast/lunch and then 6 p.m. though to last orders at 10.30 p.m. for dinner. Secure parking within the Royal Cliff Beach Resort grounds.