Baan Tao – awarded best Pan Asian restaurant in Pune three times in a row, has come up once again with the popular Yin & Yang Food Festival this month. The specially curated set menus help balance the warm and cool energies in the body to keep you healthy.
The traditional symbol of the forces of Yin & Yang is sometimes described as two fishes swimming head to tail. The concept of Yin-Yang relates to food as food always has a sense of balance in color, flavor and textures. Certain foods are believed to have Yin or cooling properties while others have warm, Yang properties. The challenge is to consume a diet that has a healthy balance between the two.
The concept is exemplified in cooking methods as well, while Yin denotes boiling, poaching, braising and steaming; Yang exists in deep-frying, roasting, grilling and stir-frying. Certain foods like bean sprouts, cabbage, carrots, crab, tofu, duck are Yin foods while meat, eggs, ginger, mushrooms, wine, sesame oil is Yang foods.
The Yin-Yang concept can be thought of as simply a way to keep life in balance with healthier fare, which compliments each other to connect the opposing forces. It is like the law of averages, all detours need to culminate and neutralize each other, which is the only way to achieve harmony, balance and health.
There are 3 set menus for the Yin & Yang festival out of which I opted for the vegetarian one. The other two are chicken and meat based.
We had the amuse bouche which was rice paper and veggies. It had this burst of juices and just got my taste buds kick started.
We had two options of mocktails which were the Yin Wolf and the Yang Mary. I went with the Yin Wolf which was the cool drink comprising of cucumber, ginger and cranberry. Staying true to it’s name, the Yin Wolf was an amazingly cooling drink with just the right amount of sweetness. Fryums and Wasabi Peanuts were served along with them.
The appetizers started with the green peas, spinach, truffle oil crystal dumpling. The dumplings were stuffed with baby spinach, fresh peas and truffle oil. Although, there was just a hint of truffle oil, I loved the dumplings. We also had the Hatchew Latchew Tahu. It was a silken tofu tossed in black pepper, red chilli, scallion and pepper. I cannot begin to describe the soft consistency of the tofu. It literally melted in my mouth. It was very subtle on the palate with a decent balance of spices and a good hit from the red chilli.
For Salad, we were served with the Rojak Buah – A Malay fruit salad with a tamarind chilli dressing. It had skewered apple, grape, watermelon, guava, green apple. I loved the dressing which I thought had an amazing balance of flavors. It was sweet at first with a hot after taste from the chilli.
We were served the Tom Kha Phak Soup which had coriander roots, mushroom, carrot, zucchini, cauliflower, beans, lemongrass, kafir lime and thai ginger. It was a coconut milk based soup and I thought it needed a little balance of flavors because the coconut milk was a little over powering. However, the ginger and lemongrass were greatly infused in the soup.
In the main course, we started off with the Stir Fried Udon Noodles. Udon is a type of thick wheat flour noodle of Japanese cuisine and served hot as a noodle soup in it’s simplest form. This dish had udon noodles, pokchoy, togarashi, fried tofu, peppers and onions. It had a generous quantity of veggies and noodles. The taste was again very subtle on the palate.
The second in the main course was Wok Braised Exotic Vegetables which had kale, shitake mushrooms, green beans, carrots, zucchini, cloud ear mushroom, pok choy and Chinese cabbage. It had classic oriental flavors and it was a treat for vegetarians.
We ended on a high with the Chiffon, Litchi Ice Cream Cake Slice Dessert. It had a home made litchi ice cream with chopped nuts and hot choco syrup and a fried chiffon cake. The ice cream was the best consistency I’ve ever had by far. There was a distinct taste of litchi in the ice cream and went well with the choco syrup. We ended up having another portion of the ice cream.
There was another dessert in the chicken course called the Cendol Ice. It had crushed ice, fruit syrups, maraschino cherry, coconut ice cream, carnation and coco milk syrup. It was more like our tradtional ice gola but with a gourmet twist to it. It tasted amazing especially with the coco milk syrup served in the small tea pot.
We also had a Yogurt with Frozen Berries. The Yogurt was amazing with a silky smooth consistency and the blueberries & cranberries added that contrast to the dish to balance the flavors.
An aromatic Jasmine Tea was served in the end to cleanse the palate.
The Yin & Yang concept was brilliantly implemented by Chef Sunil Joshi with each dish illustrating the Yin & Yang properties. The festival starts from 20th July and will continue until the 10th August for lunch and dinner at Baan Tao, Hyatt.
A big thank you to Ankoura Verma for inviting and hosting The BTeam.
Disclaimer: The invite was for a complimentary food tasting event. This review is a narrative of my experience at the event. The views expressed in this review are solely mine and others are more than welcome to agree or disagree with the same. The review is in no way influenced either personally or commercially nor has it been lifted, copied or plagiarized from any source however I have done my due diligence on the event via publicly available information on the internet.
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