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Dhaka Tribune

Soi 71: A decade of Thai culinary excellence

Soi 71 exudes serene tranquillity with spacious seating options with private dining spaces

Update : 19 Apr 2024, 01:06 AM

Soi 71 has carved out a reputation in Dhaka's culinary scene, offering genuine Thai cuisine with incredible decor, in our opinion one of the best fine dining ambiance Dhaka has to offer. During our recent visit to this beloved restaurant, which has stood the test of time for over a decade, affirmed its enduring consistency, much to our delight.

"Soi 71 was established in 2010 in a tranquil corner plot of Road 71 where an organic inflow of guests and word of mouth about the quality of Thai food soon made it a community favourite," said the Chief Executive Officer, Nashra Sakhawat.

Food

Our Thai lunch began with the arrival of chicken skewers, boasting a delightful char and a lingering smoky flavour that could occupy your thoughts for days. Accompanied by a tangy-sour sauce, these skewers tantalized our taste buds, setting the stage for the culinary journey ahead.

Next on our gastronomic adventure were the wok-fried prawns bathed in a sweet and sour sauce, emitting an alluring aroma the moment they graced our table. This timeless dish featured succulent prawns enveloped in a sweet-sour-tangy sauce, infused with the harmonious blend of vinegar, sugar, and tomato. 

The thick broth, with its rich consistency, elevated the flavour of the impeccably cooked prawns, delivering a pure taste of tender, sweet shrimp meat complemented by a perfectly balanced, slightly tangy sweet and sour sauce.

Following the prawns, we indulged in a soul-satisfying carb fix: Soi's special tom yum fried rice with vegetables. The tom yum fried rice, with its irresistible appeal, could easily stand alone as a dish. 

Made with tom yum paste, soy sauce, brown sugar, and kaffir lime leaves, this fragrant rice dish presented a harmonious blend of flavours, enhanced by the freshness of the vegetables. Paired with the prawns, this combination left us grinning from ear to ear.

Our culinary journey continued with a stir-fry featuring minced beef and basil leaves, a dish elevated by the interplay of light and dark soy sauce, Thai chilies, garlic, ginger, and bell peppers. This delectable creation boasted a well-balanced umami flavor, perfectly complementing the tom yum rice.

The average cost per person for a meal at Soi 71 is Tk2,500. 

Ambience

Located in gulshan 2, Soi 71 exudes serene tranquillity with spacious seating options with private dining spaces. Each room comes with a different colour palette with cerulean and azure shades of blue being the dominant hues, with delightful touches of whites, browns and greens. 

The space radiates elegance while also paying homage to Thai heritage and culture through the use of basil leaf and lotus motifs on the walls and murals. 

Challenges  

Open since 2010, Soi 71 has had to relocate several times due to the requirement to be positioned in a residential area rather than a commercial one, but this also brings with it a variety of distinct obstacles, according to Shakhawat. 

“One of the greatest challenges I faced was maintaining a restaurant designed to bring joy to the community with its open spaces and private rooms,” she said.  The ideal location for such a setting is a non-commercial property because commercial areas often lack ample parking, are expensive, and don't support the atmosphere we aim to create.” 

She added: “ A residential location is our only viable option, but this choice regularly presents hurdles with local authorities.”

The current economic climate has presented considerable challenges for the restaurant resulting in a price hike. 

"Inflation and the devaluation of the Bangladeshi Taka have had a substantial impact on our operations, as we import the majority of our ingredients to ensure the original taste of our cuisine. Additionally, The gas supply has also grown unreliable, requiring us to move from pipeline gas to LPG, which is more than four times as expensive. 

Despite these problems, we were able to keep our prices consistent for as long as feasible. She said,  "Eventually, it became necessary to implement a modest price increase on our menu items," Sakhawat explained. 

Verdict

We liked every single dish that we tried, which is unusual. So we highly recommend recreating our meal of wok-fried sweet and sour prawns, chicken skewers, beef basil leaf, and soi special tom yum fried rice which is a total winner of a meal; you could also add more of your choice. 

We did leave with the impression that you can't go wrong with your order at Soi 71, and we hope you have the same experience.

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