Each new month brings a glut of new openings in Bangkok but few places are quite as conceptually ambitious as Maya, way up on the 29th floor of the Holiday Inn on Sukhumvit 22. The sparkly, expansive foyer fans out into an unusual L-shaped space, dining room in one direction, merging into a lounge bar in the other. In terms of the food, it’s modern or progressive Indian cuisine that contains more than a few surprises.
First, though, the cocktails (all B295) – although the selection is a little bit on the sweet side, it’s clear that some real effort has gone into devising some interesting combinations with Indian twists. The vodka khatta pudina starts simply with a mix of vodka and guava juice before adding a dash of cumin powder, while the tamarind margarita adds an exquisite sweet-and-sour edge to the familiar base.
This willingness to experiment is also borne out in the food – try the murgh chandi kebab (B380), with chicken marinated in yoghurt, cardamom and mace before being finished with edible silver leaf. Or the raan e Maya (B900 for half a leg, B1600 for the whole), which takes a baby leg of lamb coated in rum and house marinade, slow-cooked in a tandoor oven.
The seabass moilee (B550) is also impressive, the fish pan-seared in ginger-infused coconut milk. The tawe ki machli (B750) offers a striking seafood counterpoint, offsetting the mild flavours of a snow fish with south Indian tomato and black olive chutney.
Duck doesn’t normally get a run on an Indian menu but at Maya, the duck tikka kuti mirch (B440) marinates it in chilli flakes, garlic and sun-dried spices to delicious effect. Equally, the Indian staples are well-represented and executed with well-chosen updates. For example, the nawabi chicken tikka salad (B220) takes the well-worn chicken tikka but infuses it with Glenmorangie whiskey and serves it with a honey reduction.
As with many new places, Maya is still trying to find its groove in terms of atmosphere – the bar-restaurant balance is not an easy one to strike – but there are enough intriguing ideas at work to suggest it will become a favourite among those who fancy Indian food with a difference.
29F Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit 22, 1 Sukhumvit Soi 22
02-683-4888 | mayathailand.com | 5pm-1am