The first research I do when planning a holiday is of course food research. When I was planning my trip to Bangkok recently, I made sure I did as much research as possible about the best eats, bars and fine dining restaurants. I knew I was only in Bangkok for a week and the food possibilities are endless! After asking all my contacts about the best fine dining experience in Bangkok, there was one restaurant that was consistently recommended, and that was Nahm.
Nahm is synonymous with fine dining in Bangkok. Since opening in 2010, Nahm has received countless awards and accolades for its exceptional food and dining experience. In March 2014, Nahm was voted number one in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List from San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna and in April 2014, the restaurant was voted number 13 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
So who is the man behind Nahm’s success? Meet the Australian born chef David Thompson, whose style combines big bold flavours with meticulous attention to detail, fresh local produce and traditional cooking methods. Prior to opening Nahm, Thompson worked at Darley Street Thai in Sydney which was voted ‘Best Thai Restaurant’ by the Sydney Morning Herald eight years in a row. Nahm London came next, where David secured the first ever Michelin star for Thai cuisine.
With the Bangkok outlet, Thompson was able to raise the stakes in the kitchen: ‘Bangkok has allowed me to cook for Thais in Thailand — and that is significant. I use some old favourites from London, such as ma hor. But in fact, most of the dishes here are new. I prepare and cook intensely flavoured dishes attuned to ingredients that simply cannot be found outside of the country. The whole place is also more relaxed than my original London restaurant — much as the Thais are themselves.’ says Thompson.
He uses robustly flavoured ingredients—garlic, shrimp paste, chillies, lemongrass—and melds them together to create a sophisticated, subtle elegance in which every element is in perfect balance. This includes curries, salads, relishes, soups and stir-fries, often featuring traditional ingredients less seen in modern Thai restaurants.
Nahm is located on the ground floor of Metropolitan COMO Hotel, a beautifully designed contemporary space on South Sathorn Road.Upon entering, you’re immediately struck by a sleek and sexy venue of latticed wooden screens and booths, which gives the restaurant a feeling of intimacy. Despite its modern features, historic Thai influences remain in the brick-steeped columns reminiscent of Ayutthaya temples, the gold-leaf featured wall, the reclaimed Thai teak wood used for the flooring.
There is also additional seating outside, which has a superb view of the glistening pool and water feature
The service is impeccable, polite and attentive without being pushy. Diners can choose between the a la carte and set menu which comprises a selection of canapés, Thai salads, relishes, curries, stir fries and dessert priced at 2300 baht per person. The à la carte menu varies regularly, with regular highlights including jungle curry of grilled salted beef with wild ginger, kaffir lime leaves and holy basil and for dessert, durian and sweet sticky rice or crispy coconut cupcakes.
We started with one of Nahm’s signature dishes – the prawn and coconut wafers (350 THB). Served on a banana leaf, the wafers were impossibly crisp and aerated, almost resembling hard shell tacos. A medley of prawns and coconut were teamed with pickled ginger and fiery chilli to achieve a nice contrast between sweet, sour and spicy flavours. .
From the salad section, a green mango salad with grilled pork and sour leaves (590 THB) was a palate popping dish of sweet and sour flavours and textural contrasts. The pork was beautifully grilled and a nice pairing for the refreshing green mango which balances the dish.
A picture perfect bowl of coconut and turmeric blue swimmer crab curry (700 THB) was, without doubt, the ultimate show stopper of the evening. A steaming bowl of butternut pumpkin coloured curry had the most beautiful aroma from the harmonious blend of coconut and turmeric. The addition of Kalamansi lime provided the curry with a touch of freshness and acidity to cut through the richness of the curry.
What the stir-fried wagyu beef (730 THB) did not have in beauty, it sure made up with in flavour. Generous chunks of melt in your mouth style wagyu beef were teamed with charred onion, oyster sauce and thai basil to create a dish full of depth and body. The charred onions were beautifully translucent and soaked up the sweetness of the oyster sauce, while the Thai basil provided a touch of freshness to cut through the richness of the dish.
For dessert, a coconut ash pudding (320 THB) was served with a bowl of poached bananas. I have never seen a dessert like this before! Served in a banana leaf, the tar black coconut pudding had an unusual consistency, almost as stretchy as bubble gum but not as chewy. Despite the unusual consistency, it was surprisingly tasty and moreish, especially with a dusting of coconut pieces to provide some added texture. Paired with a bowl of perfectly poached bananas in coconut milk, I couldn’t think of a better way to finish the evening.
The final verdict…
Nahm well and truly lived up to its hype. The service, food and atmosphere is truly impeccable. It will be on top of my list next time I visit Bangkok.
The final rating…
Value for money: 8/10
Address: 27 S Sathorn Rd, Thung Maha Mek, Sathon, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Phone: +66 2 625 3333