Bangkok lauds Sen’s finger-licking dishes

webWhat would you like for brunch?” Sushi? Dim sum? Dried figs? Canapes? Pasta? I had barely found a corner in the packed The Living Room, Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit’s restaurant, when pretty Punpreuk Smitinand (aka Fai) dropped brunch options. Hastily, I dropped a jaw. I knew Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit’s Sunday lavish brunch is one of the best in Bangkok, but I was in no mood for a polenta or parfait or burrata cheese.

Sitting in the Starwood Luxury Collection hotel, I was craving for scrumptious Indian food. Wishful thinking. I sighed. The brunch spread across three restaurants – The Living Room, Basil and Rossini’s – was redolent with the heady jumble of wasabi with coconut flavors, but far away from home, I wanted to dig my fork into what I love the most – Indian food.

Until, as if I drawn by familiar aroma, I walked towards where I thought was the whiff of cardamom and saffron. My olfactory instincts were not mislaid. Amidst the dim sums and the canapés lay a lavish Indian spread: mango chutney, dal makhani, mutton rogan josh, paneer tikka, garlic naan… And there stood the chef who created it all – Chef Janmejoy Sen.

With a degree from Indian Institute of Business Management, Patna, and with stints in Udaipur Lake Palace, The Imperial (New Delhi), Moscow, Muscat, Sen knows all about the art of turning simple ingredients and condiments into finger-licking dishes. Dishes that have gourmands eating out of his hands. Literally.

For 23 years, Sen has tied the apron and rustled sumptuous meals in various swank kitchens across the world. He led The Imperial team at the hugely successful 2005 Spice Route Food Festival in London and 2006 Tokyo Food Fair in Tokyo. The food fairs brought a ladleful of applauds for Sen. However, ask him where his heart lies and he will hastily tell you it is in fusion food.

Like the roast risotto biryani where an everyday risotto gets an Indian makeover. In the traditional risotto, he throws in mutton yakhni, adds saffron and mint leaves and throws in parmesan cheese just before scooping it on the plate.

As if the roast risotto biryani was not enough of an experimentation, Sen also spends hours making the fusion tandoori prawn with mango salsa, balsamic reduction and black olive powder, Another of his fusion favorite is the tandoori salmon with beetroot carpaccio served with saffron sauce.

Chef Janmejoy Sen

Chef Janmejoy Sen

At Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, a 420-room 5-star hotel, the Indian touch is not merely a Sunday special. If you are lucky, you might find sandesh, rasgulla, rasmali at the Coffee Shop and Indian barbecue at The Sula, the poolside restaurant.

Sen has been in Bangkok for over two years. He misses India, but when the foodies laud his roast risotto and tandoori salmon, he knows the hard work has been worth it. At Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, a Starwood Luxury Collection hotel, all things Indian acquire a luxurious scrumptious flavor. Thanks to Chef Janmejoy Sen.

Preeti Verma Lal

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