From Dubai to Bangkok to Edinburgh to Chicago to New York. Wee Scotch and I have been traveling since mid-August mostly visiting family and friends. We are on the last leg of our travels and will soon be back in Dubai to reunite with Scotch.
I always mistakenly think that I’ll have more time to work on my blog when I’m on vacation but that hasn’t been the case yet. Having lugged my laptop with me to Thailand in August, I had the intention of blogging about our travels but the laptop sat mostly unused in a hotel safe while Scotch, Wee Scotch, and I spent most of our days on the beach or at the pool (and we got to ride an elephant!).
Scotch missed out on our planned holiday to Vietnam (you can read about my Vietnam travel adventures here) when he was sent on a last-minute business trip to New York so when vacation time came up again, he chose to rest and rejuvenate at a beach destination in Thailand. We had never been before and were very much looking forward to it.
But before we embarked on sun, surf, and sand, we spent one night in metropolitan Bangkok. On the recommendation of my sister who never leads us astray when it comes to food, we had dinner that night at nahm at the Metropolitan hotel.
I knew nothing about the restaurant other than what my sister told me: that is was “fancy modern Thai” and “one of the best in Bangkok”. That was a good enough description for Scotch and I so we asked our hotel concierge to make a reservation.
I did a little research on the restaurant just before we left for dinner and this is what I found out about nahm:
- it was opened in Bangkok in 2010 by Australian chef David Thompson
- the concept is traditional Thai food with a modern and luxury twist
- David Thompson’s branch of nahm at The Halkin in London opened in 2001 and is the world’s first Michelin-starred Thai restaurant
- was named one of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards in 2012 by the UK’s industry publication, Restaurant Magazine.
Nahm is located inside the boutiquey Metropolitan hotel in the financial district of Bangkok:
Scotch, Wee Scotch and I sat outside by the pool as indoor reservations were full (so they say but it was never even half full throughout the night).
We were kept cool under the breeze of a ceiling fan but I was still bitten by smitten mosquitoes.
We opted for the set menu at 1700 baht per person (US $55.50) so that we could experience as much of the menu as possible.
The tasting selection is based on the a la carte menu – each and every canape on menu were brought over to the table, and then we had to choose one dish from each section of the menu to share (menu sections included: salad; relish; curry; and stir-fried, steamed, or grilled). Except for the soup and the dessert, we had to pick the same dish to be shared family style and the portion size was determined by the number of diners sharing the meal
This was a very different Thai menu from the ones that I am used to – there was no Pad Thai, no Pad See Ew, and none of the usual red/green/massaman curries.
After selecting our dishes, we were presented with nahm’s signature amuse-bouche, Ma-Hor, a sweet concoction of minced pork (and prawn?) with peanuts and served on fresh pineapple wedges:
And here’s the rest of what we ate:
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In my mind, you can never go wrong with soft-shell crab. Especially when paired with the sweetness of the pomelo fruit.
Scotch thought his duck soup was sensational and I thought my pork and prawn one was pretty amazing too even with the dried shrimp. I don’t normally like nor eat dried shrimp because I find their flavor too overpowering for me and the texture odd but these were quite but subtle in taste and soft to the bite.
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We shared the fermented fish simmered with minced prawns and pork, chillies, galangal and green peppercorns served with fresh herbs but for some reason I don’t have a photo of it.
I do, however, have a photo of the fresh herbs that were served with this relish dish. These herbs included Penny worth (fibrous), Sour leaf (similar to mango leaf), Green mango leaf, White turmeric, and Acacia (tasted grass-like):
I remember enjoying the flavors of this Kurobuta curry but felt that the amount of pork was barely enough to feed one person, let alone the two of us.
We had no idea what Kurobuta was and the waitress wasn’t able to enlighten us but here is what I discovered from Wiki: Kurobuta (“black pig”) is bred in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan and is a breed of Berkshire pig which is said to be “Britain’s oldest pig breed” originating from the English county of Berkshire. In Japan, Kurobuta is prized as highly as Kobe Beef.
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Stir fried, Steamed, and Grilled:
This dish reminded me of a Vietnamese classic where meat or fish is braised in a caramel and fish sauce.
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This green mango with sugar and chilli was lethal – there was no respite from the spiciness of Thai cuisine even at dessert. It looked like green sushi roe – it burned the tongue. I thought I was going to die.
I enjoyed this durian dessert much more – it was my second time having durian (the first was during my Vietnam trip) and Scotch’s first. I think he made a face at the taste of it. Durian is paired with mangosteen because durian is believed to be a hot (yang) fruit so it is complemented by the coolness (yin) of mangosteen.
The durian and sticky rice are normally served together but since I don’t like sticky rice, I asked that they be separated.
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We enjoyed the food and the inventiveness and novelty of the ingredients (novel for us but quite traditional for the cuisine I understand). It didn’t seem pretentious and was a nice change from the usual street and take-out Thai fare.
However, we did find the pacing of the dishes to be very off. We were served in this format: amuse-bouche then short break…then soups, appetizers, and entrees all together…then short break…then dessert.
Instead of a relaxing and well-paced meal, we found ourselves having to strategize which dishes to eat first – I tried to eat the hot dishes first but a part of me really wanted to finish the canapes before moving to the mains so by the time we got around to eating some of the hot items like the soups, they were rather cold. This restaurant has been around for 2 years – one would think pacing would be better organized.
We thought the pricing for the tasting menu to be a great bargain – being used to New York and Dubai prices, US$55 seemed very reasonable for all the food that was served.
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Nahm Restaurant: 27 South Sathorn Road, Bangkok 10120, Thailand, Tel +66 (0)2 625 3333. For reservations, please visit the hotel’s website here.