I was sitting in the sticky heat of a Bangkok bar recently with a friend from Sheffield.He was with his Thai girlfriend and our conversation got around to discussing which was the best Thai restaurant in Bangkok. Apparently “Nahm” at the Metropolitan hotel is the place to be if you want to eat Thai food at its best. “My girlfriend doesnt like Chef because he`s a `farang` ( foreign ) guy cooking better food than a Thai chef ” (which apparently is unheard of in Thailand ). The Thais are very passionate when it comes to cooking and eating , its all they ever seem to do and 3 to 5 meals a day are the norm wherever you go to in the country. Family recipes are passed down through the generations and thousands of variations on each classic Thai recipe are in circulation throughout the country, each one claiming to be the genuine article and unbeatable.( See my recipe for Tom Yam HERE , ” it`s the best” ha ha ). So when Australian chef David Thompson turned up in town and announced that he was going to open a Thai restaurant and show the Thai people how to “cook Thai food properly” it really didn`t go down well at all…but it certainly got them standing to attention.
David Thompson opened Nahm Bangkok in 2010 and long story short , won the Thai people over with his revival of some of the old , Royal, and forgotten dishes from years gone by that he introduced on to the menu at Nahm. My friends girlfriend was well and truly impressed when she went there expecting to pick faults with the `farang` chefs food.She came out gobsmacked that a foreign chef had cooked her native food far better than any Thai chef had done so in the past. “Everything Aroi mak mak ( beautiful )… you have to try” she said to me, and so the booking was made.
The Metropolitan hotel housing Nahm restaurant is situated just off Rama IV road near the Silom district of Bangkok. It`s quite difficult to find on foot so the best way by far is a taxi meter.They`re such a cheap way to get around the city but you must get them to put the meter on otherwise they`ll hike up the price x10.It took us 15 minutes to get there from the Landmark hotel on Sukhumvit road but the end cost was only 80 baht ( £1.60 ) so it was an absolute steal. Always do the haggling and agree a price before you ride in Bangkok, or simply tell them “taxi meter”.
When it comes to the menu choice in Nahm there`s only the two choices.There`s the set choice for 1700 baht ( £34 ) or you can pick from the a la carte where each dish is priced individually ( still very reasonable ). Personally i was hoping to see a tasting type of menu as that`s what i`m into but the set choice was an 8 course one and served in authentic `Thai style` – all served and sent to table as it was cooked which was almost all at once. So basically it was a little taster / appetiser followed by some Thai canapes. The starters, soup , mains and accompaniments all came at once which i really wasn`t impressed with …but “when in Thailand” i suppose..We finished with a choice of desserts. Obviously this is how they do it in over there so i`ll go with the flow and enjoy it the way its meant to be…but personally i would still prefer to eat course by course on a Thai tasting adventure. So here`s the meal as it arrived at the table -
Little Thai amuse buche , “Ma hor”, or minced pork, chicken and prawns simmered with palm sugar, deep-fried shallots, garlic and peanuts on fresh thai pineapple.
Southern grilled Mussels.
Smoked fish , Peanut and Tapioca dumplings.
Salted Chicken , Pomelo in Longan wafers.
Spicy Pork with Mint , Peanuts and crispy rice served on a Betel leaf.
Hot and sour soup of chicken with Lemongrass , straw mushrooms , chilli and lime
Crab and Snake gourd soup with egg , pepper and coriander.
The mains all arrive at the same time
Snake head fish with Sugar Cane.
Minced Prawn and Pork simmered in young coconut cream with fresh chilli , red shallot and corianderfresh vegetables and deep fried cured Carp.
Curry of grilled Wagyu beef with Bai Yor
Salad of Grilled Scallops with Chilli jam and Thai Basil.
Deep fried cured crispy Carp.
Selection of palate cleansers – Fresh crisp Thai vegetables.
Unripe fresh Mango served with sweet Mint / chilli sugar
Typical Thai dessert with fresh Sweetcorn , red sticky rice , pandan dumplings and sweet coconut served with amazing Thai Longan fruit.
Coconut cream with Orange blossom
Banana , peanut crispy rice petits fours
Selection of little sweet nibbles to complete the meal.