Chef David Thompson’s restaurant serving modern Thai cuisine in Bangkok, NAHM, is probably one restaurant that has been awarded with the most number of awards in the past year or so. A few months ago, it took the No.1 spot in the S. Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and a few weeks back, it took the honour of No. 13 on The World’s Best 50 Restaurants. That said, both lists are published by the same company.
On the topic of rankings, the irony is that while I claim to not take heed of them, here I am visiting one of Bangkok’s top restaurants according to a reports list. At least, there were reviews by other food critics on magazines, newspapers and other bloggers which seem to make dining at NAHM, a rationale choice. The reviews found on Trip Advisor seemed relatively positive too.
With heightened expectations, I walked into NAHM hoping that it would be a meal to remember.
Priced at THB 2,000 per person (about SGD 80), the set dinner menu allows you to pick items from the a-la-carte menu. The set dinner comprises of a selection of canapés, a choice of one dish from each section to be shared with diners on the table, followed by the dessert. The portion sizes are determined by the number of people ordering the set menu.
A single flower adorned the table amidst the dimly lit, and I must add quiet, restaurant. At least, it was quiet for the first hour or so until the apparent effects of alcohol set in.
Alcoholic beverages to set the tone of the rest of the dinner. I must admit, the cocktails were hardly inventive by most measures. Cocktails go for about THB 280 each.
Level of Tolerance for Spicy Food
At the start of the meal, the waiter would inquire on the level of tolerance towards chilli – which is a major plus point for some who love the Thai flavours yet feel left out because restaurants (and street side vendors in Bangkok) tend to serve Thai food, well you’ve guessed it, spicy.
Complimentary Amuse Bouche
The complimentary Amuse Bouche was a wedge of sweet pineapple topped with a sweet mixture made with pork, chicken and prawn.
Selection of Canapés
Part of the selection of canapés was a serving of Prawn and coconut wafer served with pickled ginger.
Continuing with the canapés was a serving of blue swimmer crab, peanuts and pickled garlic on rice cakes.
The third of the 4 canapés, which unfortunately didn’t leave much of an impression, was a serving of Smoked fish, peanut and tapioca dumpling.
Rounding off the canapés was a serving of salted thread fin perch served with with ginger, chilli and green mango atop a betel leaf.
A quick Google Search turned up an interesting tale about this dish. Traditionally, this is a snack served to members of the royal family. At NAHM, what was changed from tradition is the filling – from dried shrimp, to salted thread fin perch.
Our selections from the other sections of the menu – Remember, the set dinner menu consists of 1 dish from each section, with the exception of soup.
The 5 sections are, (1) salad, (2) soup, (3) relish, (4) curry and; (5) stir-fry/steamed and grilled. All dishes are served with a serving of white rice.
One of the two soups that we had, was the hot and sour soup of chicken prawn and wild mushrooms, i.e. tom yum seafood soup. I enjoyed the soup quite a bit, it sure was spicy but had subtle flavors that showed through the more you had. It wasn’t too one-dimensional, if you allow a foodie cliché to be used.
The other soup, on the other hand, was underwhelming.
The salad, relish, curry and; stir-fry/steamed/grilled dishes
All the other dishes were served at the same time. To be brutally honest, I did not pinpoint one single dish that blew my hats off. But I must admit that in each dish, from the curry to the stir-fried dish, NAHM showed me how Thai cuisine can be kept clean tasting yet allowing the traditional Thai flavors of spice and herbs to shine through.
Pre-dessert / Palate Cleanser
Before the dessert was served, a palate cleanser was served. The pre-dessert, on this occasion, was a welcome relief after all the spice and heat that came before this. A simple combination of young green mango with salt and sugar with chilli was to be the palate cleanser for that evening. At least, it did serve its purposes of cleaning the palate somewhat.
Rambutans that were soaked in a syrup and served with Thai pancakes sounded like a good recommendation from our waiter. While I enjoyed it, I felt that it was lacking something to bring it all together. That something, continues to elude me.
The meal ended off with some small snacks to nibble on.
Reservations and Dress Code
With all the accolades that NAHM has won recently, reservations are a definite must – especially for Dinner. A last-minute reservation might score you a table for lunch, but not dinner. Reservations can be made by calling +66 2 625 3388.
NAHM has a dress code – smart casual. I.e., Guests are to refrain from wearing shorts pants, sleeveless shirt (for male), open-toe sandals (for male), flip-flop or slippers. That said, I’m not sure how strict this policy is; I saw a party of four who, let’s just say, were rather dressed down.
Lunch: Monday – Friday, 12pm – 2pm
Dinner: Daily, 7pm -10.30pm (last order)
27 Sathorn Road
Metropolitan by COMO Hotel,
+66 2 625 3388