Benjarong is my favorite Thai restaurant, although, to be honest, I don’t dine there as often as I should because it’s a bit out of the way, and the Dusit’s location is kind of tucked away in the corner of Ayala Center that I often forget about it.
BENJARONG AT DUSIT THANI MANILA
I first discovered Benjarong back when Dusit first had their Crossover buffets. Wouldn’t you know it, I happily parked myself at Benjarong for the crossover buffets. At that time, Benjarong already impressed me – the food was delicious, the flavors distinct but harmonious, and they had a real Thai chef cooking food on the buffet area.
Ever since, Benjarong has always maintained that place in my mind for real, high-class Thai food. Of course, some regular home-cooking style Thai food restaurants became popular, but Benjarong is different – it’s not home-cooked Thai food, it’s royal cuisine – it’s the type of Thai cooking that is served to Thai royalty.
When I received an invitation to dinner at Benjarong, of course I happily accepted! #RediscoverDusit is really a great hashtag, because it’s been a while since I visited Dusit and I look forward to rediscovering what’s new. I saw that the hotel has been upgrading some of its facilities – they have a new buffet / cafe restaurant.
The place still looks like it did all those years ago. I’m sure they made a few changes, but it’s still the same ambience – formal.
Did you know that most, if not all, Dusit hotels have a restaurant called Benjarong? Benjarong is a kind of painted porcelain in Thailand that has several colors. Benjarong literally means “five colors”. It can also mean 5 flavors mixed together, like in a curry.
Benjarong is introducing some new dishes, and they also wanted to spread the word that they will be moving to a new location in the latter part of 2017. The Dusit Thani Hotel will be doing some renovations, and Benjarong will be moving to where Basix used to be (ground floor). I’m excited to see the new Benjarong in a few months, but I will miss the classic Benjarong, too. If you want to catch Benjarong before the move and relive memories there, try to visit it soon!
For our dinner that night, we were serenaded by this Thai lady who played classical Thai music for us.
This is the Spicy Tuna in Betel Leaf, you’re supposed to eat it in one bite! A bit spicy, but not overwhelmingly so. Nice start to the meal, and get some leafy greens, too.
Green Mango and Crispy Catfish Fresh Spring Rolls. Light and crunchy little morsel, try it with the sauce.
My new favorite! Green Curry Stuffed Chicken Wings. So good, especially if you like flavors exploding in your mouth! Not too spicy, just a tad spicy.
Crispy Shrimp Spring Rolls. This was simple but kind of addictive.
Crispy Papaya Salad. Another very good dish! It’s sweet, it’s sour, it’s slightly spicy, it’s crunchy… Can’t stop eating this. I love all the flavors and textures combining into something harmonious, I think I can finish an entire order by myself…
Boat Noodle, Beef Noodle Soup. This one reminded me a little of beef pares, but sweeter.
Crispy Fish with Spicy, Sweet Sour Sauce:
Green Curry Chicken, my all-time favorite thing to order at Benjarong! Smooth, creamy, flavor-packed with green chilis and other spices, the best with some Jasmine rice. It’s just mildly hot.
Masaman Curry Beef. A bit sweet for my taste, though.
Wok-Fried Chinese Broccoli with Crispy Pork Belly:
For dessert, we had the Benjarong – 5 colors of ice cream and fruit. It’s a simple and cooling dessert, perfect after our flavorful and spicy meal.
The food was prepared by Thai chef Watcharaphon Yongbanthom, also called Khun Ja (Miss Ja). She was an Iron Chef in Thailand! No wonder the food was awesome!
Also, look for this Thai lady, Miss Kullanit Yingkayun. She has been with Benjarong for 17 years and knows all the stories!
I really must go back to Benjarong soon! The Green Curry Chicken is still my favorite. I also like their Pad Thai, although we didn’t have it this time. A notable new favorite is the Green Curry Stuffed Chicken Wings – either I have a thing for green curry or Benjarong just does green curry really well. I also really liked the Crispy Papaya Salad.
Price-wise, it’s in the typical range for a hotel restaurant, expect to pay around P1,000 – P1,500 per person for a full course meal. For me, Benjarong is one of those hidden gems – very few people know about this restaurant, it’s hardly ever crowded, and if someone wants me to forgive them for a slight, just treat me to a meal at Benjarong and all will be forgiven.
Again, don’t forget that Benjarong will relaunch with a new look and a new location at the ground floor of Dusit Thani Manila in the latter part of 2017!
For inquiries and reservations, please call (02) 238-8888.
Benjarong at Dusit Thani Manila
Mezzanine Level, Dusit Thani Manila, Ayala Centre, San Lorenzo, Makati City
Mon – Fri: 12 Noon to 2:30 PM, 6 PM to 9:30 PM
Sat: 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, 6 PM to 11 PM
Sun: 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, 6 PM to 9:30 PM
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