For those of us who don’t want to be tied to just one country’s cuisine when we think Asian, but are not quite in the mood to spend a packet on a meal (at the five stars or chain Pan Asian eateries in town), there’s a new kid on the block who’s offering a mix of Asian dishes at a good price point. Tim Tai in Koramangala came into being a few months ago, on a street that I’ve come to think of as restaurant central – there are a couple such in the area, where you just need to wander through and at least three eateries are sure to appeal. Tim Tai references traditional with a twist by its name and the décor and menu also play on this idea – colorful, with sketches and fun fonts. Inside, it’s bright and cheery with a central island and different types of seating, and the outdoor section (where we sat) has a waterfall wall and garden feel.
Tim Tai doesn’t offer alcohol, so you’ll have to stick to the mocktails – we tried the Lemongrass Iced Tea (INR 150) and Mandarin Feast (INR 150), both decent, but nothing to write home about. Save space for the food, I’d say. They had an array of soups (Chinese and Thai), but on a warmish Sunday afternoon and with an eye to wanting to try as many dishes as was possible, we desisted. You are likely to be bewildered by the number of things on offer since the menu runs into multiple packed pages! To start off, we ordered Prawns with Chilli Sambal, Long Beans & Cherry Tomatoes (INR 495) that came with a tangy, delectable Indonesian sambal sauce that my dining companion couldn’t get enough of and a crispy lamb dish that was quite good, but whose name I can’t recall. From the salads we chose the Glass noodle salad (INR 175), which came with assorted mushrooms (hence my interest) and was very light and nice, and the Som tum Thai (INR 175) – the ubiquitous raw papaya salad that is a staple on most Asian restaurant menus these days. This dish, honestly, was the only disappointing one for me – it lacked punch. However, the Banana Leaf Wrapped Fish with Balinese Spices (INR 400) made up for it – perfectly cooked and spiced, the fish was moist and had the right flavors.
For mains, the menu has all the curries you could want, from Malay to Thai to Burmese and Laotian, and these are all meal in a bowl dishes. There are also a number of noodle and rice options – we stayed simple and had one of each to go with our stir fries of Lamb with Young Peppercons and Thai Herbs (INR 450) and Tamarind Fish with Red Chillies & Kafir Lime Leaves (INR 400), both beautifully done; the lamb perfectly cooked and the tamarind adding an interesting depth of flavor to the fish. I liked the touch of the quick fried bok choy on top of the noodles and the rice had a really lovely flavor that made me reach for a second helping despite being full. Dessert for us was the Water Chestnut Rubies with Coconut Milk and Ginger and Lemongrass Crème Brulee (INR 180 each), both quite good – the crème brulee needed to set just a little more since once I broke into it, it was a tad watery, but lemongrass lover in me forgave the texture and concentrated on the taste, in this case.
There are also a ton of vegetarian dishes to choose from, and I know I’ll need at least two more visits, that too with a biggish group, to be able to experience the menu properly. In fact, it was only post my visit that I could get why a friend had already visited the place three times in a month – living as we do deep in South Bangalore, finding good places that you can revisit not too far away, and which has a selection that ensures you don’t have to repeat your choices, makes it a winner! So, while I won’t herald Tim Tai as the next absolutely must-visit spot in Namma Bengaluru, for those in Koramangala, J.P Nagar, Jayanagar and surrounding areas, it’s a no brainer from every angle: ambience, price, food quality and quantity – take a trip over, you’re sure to leave happy, and if the near full house we saw and I’ve heard of on other occasions is any indication, many of y’all already are!