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April 2000

Wok Joy

Resaurant review of AYUTTHAYA and BALI GRILL

Ayutthaya Roseggerstr. 28 85521, Ottobrunn Sunday-Friday 11:30-14:30 and 18-23, Saturday 18-23.

On the rare occasion that one finds that delightfully hidden neighborhood joint that serves unbeatable burgers or paella or whatever your favorite food might be, a question looms: Do you share this incredible find with others or keep it to yourself so that the place stays authentic and your favorite table is always available. Ayutthaya in Ottobrunn is just such an establishment.
Tucked away in a quiet residential street, the secret of this gem is the staff. As the menu states, “We don’t have just a Thai kitchen, we have Thailanders in the kitchen.” The authenticity comes from the bicultural couple (she’s Thai, he’s German), who owns and runs the restaurant. The Geiss’s ensure that only genuine Thai ingredients are used and each meal is prepared freshly when ordered. The fragrance of herbs such as lemon grass, hot chilies or Thai basil come steaming off every dish.
Start your meal with some soup. Nothing stimulates the appetite like a hot (extremely spicy) bowl of Tom Jam Gung (DM 10.50) — this lemongrass soup is filled with generous portions of tender scampi and mushrooms. For something with a little less burn, try the Giu Nam (DM 8.50) — homemade dumplings with pork filling served in a delicate chicken broth seasoned with coriander and crisp bean sprouts.
The main-dish menu at Ayutthaya includes tasty noodle and rice choices for vegetarians, but the chicken, fish and duck specialties are superior. Pla Lad Khing (DM 22.50) is a spicy entrée of fish filet cooked with ginger, onions, celery, garlic and leeks. The vegetables create a light brown sauce that is slightly sweet and flaming hot. In order to give your taste buds a little relief, order the Gäng Gäry Gai (DM 23.90), a yellow chicken curry with potatoes, onions, paprika and hot basil in coconut milk. If there is such a thing as Thai comfort food, then this dish fits the bill. A medley of herbs in the sharp curry is nicely mellowed by coconut milk. If you are dining with several people, order different dishes and share. The Ped Priu Wan (DM 24.50) is also outstanding. Duck breast is grilled so that the skin is crispy and the meat succulent, and served in a sweet and sour sauce flavored with chunks of pineapple, onions and crisp vegetables.
Be sure and call ahead to reserve a table at Ayutthaya. One might think that this small neighborhood place is hardly known, but word spreads quickly. Food 10, Service 8, Atmosphere 9.

Bali Grill Albrechtstr. 39 80636 Munich Tel. (089) 18 16 66 Daily, 11:30-15 and 18-23, closed Mon. except holidays

Neuhausen’s Bali Grill has been satiating Asian food lovers’ cravings since 1966. The restaurant’s extensive Chinese, Vietnamese and Indonesian menu, coupled with gemütliche indoor or outdoor atmosphere, has brought the restaurant notoriety, even beyond this tree-lined residential neighborhood. Though similar to Chinese fare, Indonesian cuisine has a flavor all its own. Veal balls, a finer, more savory version of the meatball, highlight both soups and appetizers. Whether served in Bamie Baso Kuah (DM 4.80), a rich chicken broth dotted with egg noodles, or accompanying Yamien Baso (DM 6.50), a generous serving of vegetable stir-fried noodles flanked by two pangsit (won tons), the delicate orbs steal the show. Indonesian main courses are a welcome change to chop suey. Jay Ja Khe (DM 16.50), lightly battered chicken strips, are presented in a fiery, chili-based tomato sauce and topped with cooling julienne leeks and carrots. For those with an aversion to spicy food, a similar dish, Ayam Goreng Nenas (DM 16.50), is prepared with a thin, not-too-sweet-or-sour dip. For the adventurous, specialty items are found under the Gemischte Fleisch Gerichte category. Most unusual, so delightfully extraordinary, in fact, that we affectionately dubbed them “mystery rolls,” are the Pu Jong Hai (DM 18.50) — two braised pork cutlets wrapped around a filling of shrimp, chicken, vegetables and egg served in a bok choy, red pepper and hot oriental tomato compote.
Bali Grill boasts a number of “family plans,” house-picked meals incorporating the best of each nation, for one or more persons (DM 26 – DM 38 per head). Though these potpourris appear to be a bit meager on delivery — several tiny bowls are served on a Sterno hot plate — most agree they are “stuffed” before finishing the sampler. The owner’s son, friendly and polite, does a good deal of waiting on tables. He, as well as the menu, is conversant in English. Good food and a home dining-room ambience culminating in a gratis glass of plum wine — what more could you want?

Food 9, Service 9, Atmosphere 8

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