- When: February 2017
- Male DINK Rating: 12/15
- Female DINK Rating: 12/15
- Total Cost: $242; Food Cost: $145
Nahm, a restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand, is currently ranked #28 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and #5 in the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list. We were looking forward to having “upscale” Thai food in Thailand, and the food was very good (and very spicy – keep reading). Still, Nahm does not rank among our favorite dining experiences.
Nahm is located within the Como Metropolitan hotel. We arrived at the hotel and walked through the lobby to the restaurant (located to the right of the lobby). After checking in with the hostess, we were seated right away. We noticed the atmosphere was a bit noisy. Also, while the decor was modern and chic, the dining room felt a bit common and did not exude high-end dining, at least in our opinion. We looked over both the cocktail and dinner menus for a bit before ordering.
Going in, we knew we wanted to order the set menu. However, we did not realize that we needed to pick the dishes. The menu notes that the set menu is comprised of a selection of canapes as well as one dish from each main course section, followed by dessert. This is not an individual, pre-set menu. Instead, you are given a choice in each category on the menu. Remember: Everything is served “family style,” so you’ll need to make your choices with your dining companion(s). If you go for the set menu, you will choose (1) Salad, (2) Soups, (1) Relish, (1) Curry, and (1) Stir-fried, Steamed and Grilled. You will be able to choose a dessert (one per person) toward the end of the meal. Given all the sections and choices within, it may take awhile to make your selections. Order some drinks while you peruse the menu!
After finally making all of our choices for the set menu, the waitress asked us how spicy we wanted our food. Being from Texas, we are used to some spice. Still, we had heard the food at Nahm could be quite spicy, so we elected not to tempt fate and asked for a “medium” level of spice.
The first amuse bouche was served as we waited for our drinks – Pineapple, Tamarind, Pork, Coconut, Coriander, and Chili. While a bit difficult to eat due to the size of the pineapple and toppings, this small bite was a wonderful combination of sweet, spice, acid, and crunch. Intriguing start.
Our drinks then arrived. Male DINK ordered the Siamito, and Female DINK ordered the Tom Yumtini. Both drinks were very good, although Male DINK’s drink was heavily stuffed with lemongrass, which took up precious space in the glass. The Tom Yumtini was smooth and flavorful – highly recommended.
Next up were the four canapés – Crab Wafers with Coconut, Galangal and Coriander, Egg Nets with Prawns, Wild Almonds and Kaffir Lime, Pork and Lobster with Shredded Ginger and Thai Citron, and Steamed Red Curry of Scallops with Thai Basil and Coconut. A beautiful assortment of small bites. The mild sweetness of the crab wafer paired well with the coconut and savory flavors of this first canape. The egg nets added a nice crunch to some tasty prawns. The ginger and Thai citron were refreshing touches to the pork and lobster, making a great “lettuce wrap” bursting with flavor. And finally, the red curry and scallops brought even more diversity to this set of small bites with its smooth flavor combination.
As mentioned earlier, the main dishes of the set menu all come out at once, served “family style.” This can be a bit overwhelming, as there seems to be so much food on the table, and there is no established “order” in which to to eat the dishes. Time to just dig in and try a little bit of everything! We’ll describe the dishes in the order they appeared on the menu.
Salad – Thai Vegetable and Fruit Salad with Tamarind, Palm Sugar, and Sesame Dressing. First impression – flavor explosion! This was a wonderful salad with a great balance of sweet and spicy. The sesame dressing was light and the fruits and vegetables were of great quality. We really appreciated having the lighter flavors of this salad to complement the heavier, more savory flavors of the other mains.
Soup #1 – Hot and Sour Soup of Chicken, Prawns and Wild Mushrooms. Another flavorful dish, the soup was very tangy and incorporated the other ingredients well. We liked the mix of chicken and prawns, and the wild mushrooms added some richness to the soup. The shaved garlic pieces were a nice touch to complete the dish. We enjoyed this soup, although Male DINK couldn’t eat a lot of it due to the intense tangy flavor.
Soup #2 – Coconut and Oxtail Soup with Red Shallots. This soup had a more calming flavor profile than the Hot and Sour Soup, which was a pleasant contrast between the two. There was still a good amount spice to it, and the red shallots provided a welcome hint of acidity. The sweetness of the coconut complemented the oxtail well, and we liked how this soup was rich and creamy, but not too heavy.
Relish – Chiang Mai Grilled Chili Relish with River Prawns, Crunchy Pork Crackling and Steamed Vegetables. First thought – look at the heads on those huge prawns! We enjoyed the pork crackling, which were basically pork rinds. The salty, greasy crunch of the pork crackling was a nice complement to the spicy relish. Admittedly, we did not eat many of the steamed vegetables, as we decided to allocate the limited room in our stomachs to some of the more interesting flavors on the table before us.
Curry – Coconut and Turmeric Curry of Blue Swimmer Crab with Calmansi Lime. This was one of our favorite dishes of the night – truly wonderful! The smoothing nature of the coconut went perfectly with the curry and crab. The Calamansi Lime provided just enough citrus and acid to keep the creaminess of this dish from becoming too overwhelming and too heavy. Everything in this dish seemed destined to be together, and the result was a delectable blend of flavors. We highly recommend choosing this curry for your meal, as you won’t be disappointed!
Stir-fried, Steamed and Grilled – Stir-fried Beef with Chili, Holy Basil, and Cumin Leaves. Our other favorite dish of the night, the beef was incredible and intensely spicy. Our waitress warned us about the spice, and we quickly understood why when we saw how many different peppers were hiding in plain sight among the beef slices. The cumin was a very nice, earthy addition. We loved the flavor combinations. Eating the beef by itself (sans peppers) provided more than enough spice and flavor. A very well-executed dish.
Dessert #1 – Tropical Fruit in Scented Syrup with Thai Cupcakes. This dish was a bit disconcerting at first, as the fruit looked like an egg yolk. The flavor wasn’t much better – a somewhat salty ice-water. Disappointing after such strong main dishes.
Dessert #2 – White Sticky Rice with Mango. When in Thailand, one must eat mango sticky rice. Why not try it at one of Thailand’s best restaurants? This dessert was perfectly warm and gooey, and tasted even better! The sticky rice had a wonderful consistency, and the sauce had just the right amount of sweetness. The mango added both a delicate fruit flavor and refreshing component to the dish. Fantastic dessert.
After we finished our main desserts, an additional small dessert of Green Mango was served. To be honest, this wasn’t our favorite, and we could have done without it. After the sweeter mango sticky rice we had just shared, this dessert just didn’t hold up.
Petit Fours – Coconut Cream, Sweet Puffed Wheat on Banana Slices, Sweet Egg Yolks, Green Coconut. Petit Fours arrived to mark the end of the meal. While always fun to try some different small bites, these didn’t really wow us in any way. After such a flavorful meal, these last bites seemed to be lacking quite a bit. Perhaps we are just not used to Thai desserts.
One note about the overall level of “spiciness” – by asking for a medium level of heat, we were pushed to our limit of comfort with how spicy the food was. We were able to enjoy everything, but probably wouldn’t have if the food were any spicier. If you are not used to spicy food, then we strongly suggest that you ask for a mild (or very mild) level of spice for your meal.
Overall, Nahm is a very good restaurant. The food is excellent. We would definitely go back several times to explore the other menu items and flavors. After enjoying so many different dishes, we are confident that the entire menu is composed of great food (except for maybe a few of the desserts, which we aren’t confident we’d ever acquire a taste for). However, what Nahm delivers in flavor, it lacks in ambiance and overall experience – at least for its world prestige. In short, we did not feel like we were at a world-class restaurant. The service was adequate, but not exceptional. The dining room was trendy, but not elegant. That said, we highly recommend stopping here if you are in Bangkok – just go with the expectation of delicious food in a somewhat ordinary setting.
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