Looking back at my last trip to Bangkok in late 2014, Nahm is the restaurant i loved the least of my trip (among Eat Me, Sra Bua, and Gaggan). I have done a lot of reserch before that trip and most reviews i heard about Nahm were positive, while few my Bangkok-based foodie friends and me were not a big fan of Nahm at that time. Even from that time till this trip, almost 1.5 years after, i kept hearing good stories happening at Nahm, although the restaurant is no more ranked at No.1 of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants this time. It IS hard to judge a restaurant upon one visit, thus we are here again.
This year, Nahm is ranked No.7 of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants by S.Pellecrigino, and No.22 of World's Best Restaruants. Reservation can be easily made on their official website, where you can access to the menu and prices as well.
You may choose from a la carte menu or set menus depend on your preferences. For the set menus, you may choose 1 dish from each categlories (appetizers, salads, soup, main dish, curry, desserts, etc), and the kitchen will adjust the portion size upon the number of guests.
We were a party of three thus the portion of serving size is actually larger than a la carte (notmally portion for 2 pax), thus we decided to have a la carte so we can try more dishes. Well, i was not surprised that most diners at Nahm were foreigners. Not that much locals would have such fancy and more expensive Thai food as the street food industry in Bangkok is working really well.
Kicked off with a complimentary snack of pineapple triangle topped with sweet pork, chicken and prawn paste. This classical snack has a balanced sweet, juicy with a spicy flavor to awaken the taste buds.
We ordered two dishes from the canapes menu to share. Recommended by the chef, the pork and lobster with shredded ginger and thai citron is quite spicy, i enjoyed but the green betel leaf on the bottom doesn't work for me at all. I don't like its rustic texture and tastes. My Thai friend said that's quite common for a non-Thai though :)
If you want something less hot, try the egg nets with prawns. We expected the nets to be crispy but it was actually quite soft, and a bit crunchy. The tastes was not that sharp compare to the previous canapes. Both canapes were not too bad, if i am asked to pick one, i will definitely recommend the Pork and lobster with shredded ginger and thai citron, just eat it without the betel leaves if you don't like it.
Something you have to know when you eat Thai food in Thailand. Firstly, salad is usually the most spicy dish. Secondly, you have to recognize which leaves are edible and which are not.
To be honest, the second rule was something new to me as well, which my Thai friend just told me when this salad came to the table. Two of us were not Thai, one Japanese and me, a Chinese, with a Thai friend. It was quite funny that my Japanese friend and i just put everything edible into our mouths and say "oh this leaf/herb tastes so bad'. And our Thai friend was snickering :D But it is so hard to recognize which leaves are not suppose to eat (you won't die if you eat them, but the textures and flavors are not very good). So i recommend you to go with a local friend if you want to eat Thai food.
The duck soup was quite delicious. The broth was clean but deep in flavors, the duck meat was succulent and flavorful.
One of the signature dishes at Nahm that i really loved was the coconut and turmeric curry of blur swimmer crab, this is probably the only dishes i really enjoyed of my first visit. The yellow curry base was creamy and mildly spicy, the ratio of curry paste and coconut cream was right to point. The curry flavors goes into the juicy crab bery well.
ฉู่ฉี่ฝอยกุ้งลายเสือ | Stir-fried tiger prawns with deep-fried shallots, chillies and garlic (THB 800)
The main course we ordered was the stir-fried tiger prawns from SF. Quite large prawns that nicely cooked to a crispy skin, and kept the bouncy texure inside. Quite enjoyable too.
From the 'relish' menu, we had another 'curry-ed' dish of grilled carfish with mixed vegetables. Mild hot , fresh and delicious ingredients, loved it too.
As a Thai tradition, almost all the hot dishes came to the table at the same time, and served with Jasamine rice (free-flow). If you found the dishes too hot, just eat more rice to balance the spicy flavors.
Don't forget to eat them in a Thai way - help yourself with the dishes you liked and enjoy them on one plate like a buffet style. The curry goes really well with the rice.
Before serving the dessert, we had slices of green mango with green chili ice to cleanse the palates.
The sweet thai wafer is a quite interesting dessert that has a savory twist of 'golden duck egg noodles' made of salted duck egg. In comparison, i much prefer the taditonal Thai dessert - mango sticky rice. The best part of mango sticky rice i really enjoyed in Thailand is actually the sticky rice, which the Thai people know the best technique to prepare the rice. Sticky but not THAT sticky, chewy and has a balance taste of sweet and slightly saltness. Of course, a good quality mango also plays an important part.
Compare to my last visit, i (we) found the food was less spciy - i don't know whether the chef changes the recipes or depends on what we ordered. But anyway, i really enjoyed Nahm this time. It is hard to compare an mango a banana, although they all grown in tropical countries, but i may say the food at Nahm is much impressive than Gaggan where i revisited in the second day. Definitely will come back next time.