Monday, May 7, 2012

NAHM - 50TH place in Y2012 The World's 50 Best Restaurants

Nahm means water in Thai but I like nahm kairng which means ice water.  Water is precious but here I am referring to Bangkok's precious NAHM restaurant which is set to draw locals and diners from all over the world to the unique and exquisite taste of Thai's cuisine in a refined settings of a posh restaurant.

Nahm has recently put The Land of Smiles on a spotlight just short of two years after it opened its door in July Year2010 having recently won the coveted accolade of The World's 50 Best Restaurants in Y2012. This is no surprise as Nahm at The Halkin's Hotel in London which opened in July 2001, 11years ago has attained Michellin star status or may I emphasize the first Thai Michellin star restaurant,  in just seven months.  

You may be confounded that the chef is not a Thai but Australian David Thompson an internationally renowned chef.  Apparently David Thompson interest in Thai cooking led him to his mentor in traditional and authentic Thai cooking in an ederly matriarch who has once cooked for the Royal Family at the palace of Bangkok.

David Thompson has published his second book filtered through a westerner's mind, Thai Street Food is a big heavy book costing about SGD90.00 (Singapore Dollars). It  is  picturesque and accounts for interesting discovery of Thai street food.

We were early but an European couple was ahead of us.  No the restaurant is not ready and will not open its door for dinner before 7.00pm but if you are the early diner filled with hunger pang, you need to wait out..  Before it is officially opened at 7.00pm many eager diners were seen pushing the door to enquire..

The taxi driver may NOT be familiar on such upscale restaurants and after a few enquiry with side street motorbike taxi drivers and passerby on the street, we managed to find the location.  The chic Metropolitan Hotel is located off the main road next to Banyan Tree Bangkok facing South Sathorn Road.  

We recommend that you place your reservation early or otherwise like us we ended up dining at the terrace that despite a visually stunning and serene poolview, the heat of the Bangkok currently at abt 35~39 degree which is still not relenting during the evening may heat things up but fortunately the food was not fiery hot or we will be scorched both in and out.

I was told that David Thompson who usually stations in Bangkok is currently back in Europe to take care of some business round the other end of the world. 

I naturally gravitate to restaurant food as my stomach wasnt prepared to handle local street food here in Bangkok and Nahm  offers true authentic Thai cuisine served in simple presentation of home cookings and not sophisticated or ostentatious to the point of good to look only.  However, I do have some reservations on this as food must look good to eat otherwise I might as well eat at home.  There must be some effort to create a sense of artful decorations on the meal but Nahm is resolute on offerring you good traditional Thai food in it truest value without straying from tradition and its their ultimate goal to be as close to the original preparation and taste.

Nahm do offer set menu that will set you back by Baht1800 per person (about SGD80).

To our surprise we had :
Complimentary canape  "MA HOR"
is minced pork, prawn and chicken and is simmered with palm sugar and peanut and it sits on top of a fresh pineapple.  Two miniscule bite size canape sits on the plain wooden board, simple garnishing but lovely in taste.

Then we had the:
Clear Soup (Gaeng Jued) of Roast Duck with Thai Basil and Young Coconut
Baht260 (about SGD10)

The small bowl of soup served on simple dining ware comes with mushroom and sliced Roast Duck.  Simple tasty mild broth with a few slices of duck meat; nothing outstanding.  For Baht260 per bowl (est SGD 10), it is reasonable.

My favourite is:
Coconut & Turmeric Curry of Blue Swimmer Crab
Baht 580 (about SGD24)

It is a delightful not so hot smooth curry with sizeable blobs of crab meat which is very fresh.  Very nice to accompany the generous servings of jasmine rice (refillable). I enquired for khanom jeen (fermented rice noodle) but this is only available at lunch.  I thoroughly enjoyed this dish which is well balanced and harmonised in taste and you are not able to savour or detect any overpowering spice.  Lovely dish.

The next dish is:
Stir Fry Kurobuta Pork with Yellow Beans and Ginger 
Baht 520 (about SGD20+)
has the feel and taste of home cooking except the ingredient is kurobuta which is tender "black pig meat" or "black hog pork" stir-fried with yellow bean (tau-cheo) and julienned ginger.  Ginger can give an overpowering taste to dish but here although the chef has added a lot of julienned ginger it is not intense but rather compliments the dish well.  I would prefer kurobuta in cubes rather than sliced and again I do not get an elevated creative dish but nice simple dish.  However, I had the dish replaced with fresh one as the yellow bean was too much and overbearing, lending it rather salty.  I could at least picked up 10 yellow beans off my plate.  This was immediately replaced without much question.

I was looking forward to dessert :
Durian and white sticky rice 

Baht 320 (est SGD13+)

Other interesting dishes on the menu includes:
Hot and Sour Soup of Chicken with straw mushroom, lemongrass, chilli & lime Baht260
Crab and Snake Gourd Soup with egg pepper and coriander   Baht240
Smoke Fish and Schredded Prawn Soup with Sour Leaves     Baht320
Clear Soup of Minced Pork and Prawns with park wan and squid    Baht280
Deep Fried Group with Fish Sauce   Baht500
Braised Snakehead Fish with Sugarcane   Baht500
Squid Stir Fried with cured Pork and Eggs   Baht500
Stir Fry Assorted Mushrooms with Spring Onion and Ginger   Baht400
Spicy Stir Fry Frog Legs with Chilli, Turmeric, Holy Basil and Cumin Leaves   Baht500
Deep Fried Snakehead Fish with Chilli and shallots  Baht 520

It is an experience to dine here.  Such calming effect in the midst of busy Bangkok; with cosy settings and the menu, Thai food with simple ingredients yet uniquely traditional and flavourful.

My impression:  
My feel is that the food may be close to skilled and delightful refined home cooking but at a restaurant setting, would prefer it to be elevated to offer more impressive dishes that I would wow dining there. 

Good service, always coming back to refill the nice jasmine rice.
The restaurant decor may not be opulent (not necessary) but it has a well designed layout, pretty cosy.  At the poolside terrace, it is especially relaxing despite without air-condition; 
The air-conditioned restaurant on the inside provides cool respite from the heat.

Price expensive but not exorbitant.  

27 South Sathorn Road
Metropolitan Hotel G/F
Bangkok, Thailand
Reservation: 02-6253333

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