Best Of East looks rather modest for a 5-star hotel restaurant - while it has the plushness, it is smaller than you'd go expecting, with just 8-10 tables. Fortunately, it's a 5-star hotel restaurant
, and so you are not likely to find yourself waiting outside.
While it's draped in a rather regal red due, the place has no visual theme in the layout or even in the menu, which is surprising since Far-East restaurants are the ones that most easily lend themselves to one. There's a live cookhouse, though - where you can see the chef cooking (when he is cooking, that is) - and hopefully that kind of thing floats your boat rather than gets your goat.
Best Of East offers 5 kinds of cuisine from the East - Thai, Indonesian, Japanese, Chinese and Malaysian. You'd expect a pretty expansive menu for that kind of range, but it has just about 60 dishes across soups, starters, main course and desserts. Maybe it's got something to do with being a 5-star hotel.
The food, however, does not disappoint - Chef Jack Subba knows his thing, and he knows it well. 5 soups, 12 starters and 6 dimsum selections have both standard names like Mushroom & Babycorn Salt 'n' Pepper and the recommended Lemon Coriander Clear Soup, and exotic ones like the popular Yasai Tempura (a Japanese veg starter with sweet potatoes and golden fried vegetables) and Satay Ayam (skewered barbeque chicken Malaysian style).
The main course features 8 veg and 15 non-veg dishes, including Yasai Tamch (stir fried vegetables, Japanese style), the popular Ayam Sambal (an Indonesian chicken delicacy), Masamann Lamb Curry (a Thai dish), and a seafood array with, among others, your choice of pomfret, squid or lobster in szechuan or oyster sauce.
There are about 10 rice and noodle items, too, including the highly popular Nasi Goreng, a Malaysian rice delicacy, and many exotic names like Khao Phad Kaprao (we'd like to see who doesn't chuckle while pronouncing this basil-flavored Thai fried rice) and Goitey Phad Khimau (Thai spicy flat noodles).
Desserts include equally exotic names - Tab Tim Krob, water chestnut soaked in rose syrup and chilled coconut cream, and Kluay Chum Rad Kati, sweet banana in honey syrup with coconut milk being samples. The Jasmine Tea, at Rs. 95, might well be amongst the most expensive cuppas you've ever had.
Did we mention Best Of East is a 5-star hotel restaurant? Yes, a soup costs Rs. 150 on average, a starter or main course dish Rs. 375, and a rice/noodles item Rs. 350, and a meal for a couple can easily set you back by Rs. 1,200. Unless you are in a different socio-economic class altogether, you should be clear why you are eating here - it can't be just the food, which a Mainland China
or a Chinese Pavilion
serves at much lesser.
The executive lunch for Rs. 375 is a good deal - 1 soup, 1 rice item, 2 side-dishes and a dessert. Not really a buffet, but then it provides an entry.
Best Of East works best if you do not compare it with any other popular Oriental options about town, with deeper menus, themed ambiences and lower prices. Oops, did we already compare? It's analytically tempting to think they set this up for guests of the hotel, usually a captive audience, many times on someone's roll, and often paying in dollars. Go ahead and get analytically tempted.