|Nahm, Thai Restaurant, Hotel Metropolitan by COMO|
Nahm, Metropolitan by COMO, Bangkok
The entrance to Nahm is unassuming giving nothing away as to the delectability of the experience awaiting our taste buds inside. The interior is stylish yet simple, seeming to provide more of a palette for the cuisine to be highlighted, rather than competition for design.
|Nahm, Thai Restaurant, Metropolitan by COMO|
Shiny black floor tiles, dark wood latticed dividers and exposed brick pillars are brightened with vibrant orchid arrangements. Ceiling spotlights illuminate a warm glow on the ochre bricks, and encircle the floral posies brightening petals and casting pretty shadows on the polished cement wall backings.
|Nahm, Thai Restaurant, Metropolitan by COMO|
An ambience of sophistication is felt with smartly dressed diners filling the tables. At the same time however, the hospitable good-naturedness of the Thai service staff charges the room with affability and a cheerful ease.
It seems awards and stars follow Chef David Thompson wherever he lays his hands in a kitchen. Beginning in Sydney with Darley Street Thai crowned Best Thai Restaurant in Sydney eight years running, and ensuing further afield in London with his first Michelin star, the accolades only continued in Bangkok with Nahm, the deserving owner of multiple appearances in the World’s Best Restaurants and Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants lists.
|Chef David Thompson|
Chef David takes an academic approach to the kitchen, carefully researching royal Thai cuisine and recipes passed down through generations. He places emphasis on the strong, fresh tastes of authentic Thai cuisine, reinterpreting traditional recipes and yielding unanticipated flavour and finish. With a robust use of powerfully flavoured ingredients such as garlic, shrimp paste, chillies, and lemongrass, balance is extremely important. Chef David manages to gracefully merge these strong savours in one place, finishing with an elegant sophistication that might otherwise seem impossible at the hand of another.
We were lucky enough to score a table at Nahm during a recent trip to Bangkok. Photos were not encouraged while dining, so I was unable to capture an image of every dish. Hopefully the few photos that I did mange to snap however do justice to the beautiful plates served.
An Amuse Bouche provided an immediate taste of Thailand. Yellow triangles of ripe pineapple were topped with balls of minced chicken, pork and Thai dried shrimp, crushed with palm sugar and tamarind, and rolled in peanuts. The juicy sourness of the fruit blended wonderfully with the savoury summit, giving a hint of what was to follow: intense flavours of sweet, salty, sour and bitter evident in every dish, but balanced to refined perfection.
Prawn and Coconut Wafers (350) resembled an open taco. Slim flaxen shells held finely chopped pieces of coriander, bean sprouts, prawn, peanuts, tofu, ginger and Chinese radish pickle. Sweet, salty, sour and spicy were again all present, but this time the scale tipped slightly towards sweet.
Served atop a cut banana leaf, Blue Swimmer Crab (330) strips rode a puffed rice cracker. Crumbles of peanuts and pickled garlic lifted an already bright, fresh and extremely more-ish combination. A sharp green chili left the edges of our tongues tingling long after swallowing: a tiny green surprise packing a whole lot of oomph.
Soups and Mains
Thai mains and soups are supposed to be consumed a little from each plate all in one session. Our waiter suggested that we think of all of the dishes, including the soup and rice, as one main course and enjoy forks from across all plates, bouncing back and forth between them. With some recipes being mild, others rather hot, and each furnishing its own distinct flavour profile, when all combined they artfully balance each other out.
Clear Soup of Roast Duck (280) was packed with fresh Thai basil, shitake mushrooms, young coconut flesh and strips of roast duck. It was well balanced and mild in character. Sips between tastings of other items provided a welcome respite from some of the other spirited recipes on the table.
|Clear Soup of Roast Duck|
Steamed Coral Trout (750) was flavoured with bank rak yellow beans and pickled garlic, ginger, loads of fresh coriander and spring onions - at least, that’s what I could see to start with. But… there was a wallop of flavour, unexpected with a steamed fish dish, that I couldn’t quite identify. Upon a little pressing of our host, it was revealed as pork belly! Used in the gravy it added both intensity and thickness to the sauce: what a great mate to the white flaky Andaman Sea catch.
|Steamed Coral Trout|
Minced guinea foul was shaded by a lean-to structure of fresh veggies in the Chiang Mai Larp of Guinea Foul (550). We learned that the heap of fresh garden veg: dill, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, French beans, a group of sour leaves of different shades (ranging from bitter to astringent to tannic in taste), cabbage and Vietnamese mint, are meant to be broken off and mixed together with the poultry, similar to a salad. When the heat of the seasonings in the poultry become too much, it’s recommended to chew on some cabbage to tone down the kick somewhat. The minced foul was coated with chili, shallots, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, garlic and red cumin, and its piquancy reached all the way down to the back of our throats. Small nuggets of skin crisped to the likeness of pork crackling – brittle and salty – imparted gems of fatty melt-in-the-mouth deliciousness in between forkfuls.
|Chiang Mai Larp of Guinea Foul|
What initially appeared to be a petite portion, turned out to be so rich and luscious that we were not able to finish off the entire bowl: Green Curry of Beef (650). Pea eggplants, basil, kaffir lime, green chili and coconut milk made a delectable marinade for tender pieces of beef. A large slice of green chili crossed the top, heeding us to proceed with caution rather than diving straight in.
Hot and Sour Soup (370), while simply named was far from basic. One of two versions of Tom Yum soup made at Nahm, this example is multi-layered bestowing a complexity and unique style that provoked much conversation. Coriander and toasted garlic floated on the surface of the broth, and green chillies drifted underneath. Prawns, chicken and wild mushroom gave the soup its heartiness. It was deceptively smooth at the beginning, furnishing a herby smokiness in the middle, but the end departed a sharp agitation that fired across the whole underside of my tongue. It was unexpected and too late before I realized its power. As saliva welled behind my teeth, releasing some of the spice, I was all too quickly encouraged to spoon in again, nabbing numerous scoops before the heat attacked once more. It was indeed how hubby had described it over and over again in the space between his first scoop and mine, “a roller coaster ride for the taste buds.”
A Sweet Thai Wafer held Poached Persimmons and Golden Duck Egg Noodles in its clutches (320). An uncooked meringue stuck the amber shreds to their envelope and the whole thing was sprinkled with raisins. The creaminess from the whipped egg white, the crispness of the shell and the stringy filling intertwined into a tangle of textures, delicate and very pleasurable.
|Sweet Thai Wafer held Poached Persimmons and Golden Duck Egg Noodles|
Only available for one month a year, we found ourselves in luck with the final dessert, a seasonal dish with Marian Plum (320) as the main ingredient. The striking orange peeled fruit sat in a bowl of shaved ice that had been flavoured with a sweet liquid. Shredded green mango and ginger, and fried shallots, strewn across the top balanced out the fruity sweetness, almost like salt does to caramel. I discerned floral notes in the aftertaste and upon further query discovered jasmine flower had been used in the syrup. Overall it was refreshing, while at the same time satisfied that desire for sweetness we often crave to complete a meal.
Tables at Nahm are highly desired bookings, so a three week advance reservation is recommended. Set lunch menus are available at 1500 Thai Baht per person and are a great way to sample the diversity of what Chef David has to offer. Two appetizers, four main courses (including a soup and rice) and dessert make a feast, so bring an appetite.
Reasons to visit: exquisite Thai cuisine; tranquil refined yet casual ambience; Blue Swimmer Crab; Prawn and Coconut Wafers; Green Curry of Beef; Hot and Sour Soup.
Metropolitan by COMO
27 South Sathorn Road
+66 2 625 3333