The Mezzanine has always been a most impressive building. It looks like a fine dining establishment. You expect something very special when you enter the premises. Unfortunately the offerings here over the years have never quite measured up to expectations. Now it has gone Thai.
The menu is quite large and covers most of the popular traditional Thai dishes. Tod Mun Pla [fish cakes] and Tod Mun Gung [prawn cakes] are regular favourites and good indicators of kitchen ability. In Bali they are generally more International style than Thai, and the same applies here, with the exception of the excellent sweet chilli sauce.
Gung Hom Sabai are deep-fried marinated river prawns wrapped in wonton skins. Por Pia Ruam Mit are spring rolls stuffed with a mix of seafood. They come with a plum and sweet chilli sauce. Gai Satay are the Thai version of Asia?s most common offering satay chicken.
Another Thai dish I often use as an indicator of kitchen technique is the Gai Hor Bai Tuey, marinated chicken breast wrapped in pandanus leaf. It is usually steamed first [to cook the chicken and infuse the pandanus flavour], then deep-fried just before serving [to heat and brown the meat]. I have had this dish many times, in and out of Thailand, and it can be anything from disgusting [hard dry little lumps of chicken] to sensational [as at The Benjarong in Bangkok?s Dusit Thani last month]. I am sorry that I cannot give you a verdict on Mezzanine?s version as although we ordered that dish, it never arrived.
Yam Neua Yang is grilled slices of beef tenderloin in a salad of celery and coriander. Yam Woon Sen is usually very hot and sour. Here two generously large prawns are served beside a pile of vermicelli noodles [stuck together in a clump] the spices underneath.
Plar Gung is a prawn salad, Yam Ruam Mit Talay is a classic Thai fish salad combining fish, prawns, squid and mussels. Larbs are minced seafood or meat combined with kaffir lime and spices. For my taste, when done properly, they have always been just a bit too sour, but real Thai aficionados love them! Here there are two choices; Larb Gai Reu Neua [spicy mince of chicken or beef with kaffir lime] or Larb Pla Kapong [spiced snapper with kaffir and dried galangal].
The two classic Thai soups are on the menu, of course; Tom Yam Gung [hot sour prawn] and Tom Kha Gai [the ambrosial chicken and mushroom in coconut milk]. More unusual is the Gaeng Chued Pla Muek Sord Sai [squid stuffed with minced pork, cucumber and coriander, in a clear broth] and Gaeng Chued Benjarong [a non-spicy combination of chicken, shrimps, asparagus, baby corn, oyster mushrooms and coriander in a clear soup].
The list of curries is headed by three that everybody loves. Gaeng Phed Ped Yang is roasted duck in a fragrant red curry with pineapple, grapefruit and cherry tomatoes. Panaeng Gai is a thick red curry with coconut cream, the large chucks of chicken tender and tasty. Massaman Neua is a mild curry of beef, onions and potato.
Neua Kaeh Phad Prig Krapao [lamb with basil] is excellent. Large slabs of very tender lamb in a not too spicy sauce. Although not enough oomph for me it is still a very good dish. The classic Thai chicken and cashews is on the menu [nothing like the Chinese version], Gai Phad Med Mamuang Himmaparn. A number of King Prawn dishes are present including a Chinese-influenced Gung Nuang Si-ew; king prawns steamed in garlic, coriander, white pepper and soy.
Deep-fried fish [till very crispy] with tamarind sauce is yet another Thai favourite, Pla Sam Rod. We ordered a whole baby snapper steamed in ginger, spring onion, coriander, pepper and soy. Unfortunately the fish ?smell? was so strong we sent it back, but at least it was deducted from the bill.
For those who are eating alone and want something simple there is always a Phad Thai Gung Nang, rice noodles fried with prawns, bean sprouts, salted turnips, bean curd, egg and then topped with ground peanuts.
The wine list is a moderate one, but quite adequate for a restaurant of this standard. Although I was quite mystified by an Australian white wine described as [no brand name] ?Handpickled? Chardonnay!
Overall, Mezzanine is a nice restaurant for a pleasant meal. For newcomers to Thai food, an easy-paced introduction as nothing will bite your head off! For Thai fanatics all a bit bland and bordering on the sweet side.