Published on December 14th, 2013 | by Ann Rickard0
Fine Dining in Bangkok
It isn’t often you have the chance to dine at one of the Top 50 World’s Best Restaurants, so when we found that nahm, operated by the master of Thai cuisine, Australian David Thompson, was the signature restaurant in our hotel in Bangkok, Metropolitan by COMO, we had to experience it.
We’ve had David Thompson’s food before. He’s a regular visitor to the Noosa International Food & Wine Festival. He comes at the invitation of Noosa’s much-admired and appreciated entrepreneur Jim Berardo (owners of berardo’s restaurant & bar in Hastings Street.)
David Thompson’s reputation for Thai cuisine is renowned, he’s won many awards and written books and done television and all the exciting stuff celebrity chefs get to do.
Our first pleasant surprise was how affordable nahm was. You’d expect such renowned restaurants to be formidably expensive, but a set menu which lets you try a number of dishes and tastes was just 1100 baht per person, about $30.
Nahm’s décor is all muted elegance: Thai teak floors, hand-crafted wooden screens in a weave like design, Thai silk banquettes and imposing brick-stepped columns reminiscent of Ayutthaya temples. A gold leaf wall is the backdrop for extravagant displays of purple orchids. How could you not feel fabulous just entering this hallowed place?
Our lunch began with an amuse bouche, an exquisite bite of sweet, sticky pork with herbs and crushed peanuts on a tiny wedge of sweet pineapple. The explosion of flavours the minute it hit the mouth was so intense it had us (well, actually me) making obscene little noises of pleasure (you know the kind.)
Service at nahm is typically Thai: gentle, observant, knowledgeable and given with such grace it makes you want to be a better person.
Two starters – prawn and coconut wafers as delicate as a spider’s web filled with picked ginger, and a blue swimmer crab salad with peanuts and pickled garlic – set the tone.
The servings were small but the flavours and technique gave insight into David Thompson’s experience and talent. He uses recipes from centuries-old cookbooks and from private Thai households. Big flavours come from meticulous attention to detail and beautiful local produce.
Three main course dishes came next: deep fried grouper with fish sauce; stir fried pork with dried prawns, apple eggplant and chilli, and a curry of chang mai chicken. All displayed perfection.
Desserts were intriguing. Lots of flavoured ice with lychees and something deliciously creamy and squishy.
The staff did explain what the Thai desserts were but by this stage I was full of food and bonhomie so I can’t recall.