Nahm (as in nom nom nom)

8 Oct

Nahm is the restaurant that I found on a list called “Word’s Top 50 Restaurants” when I was doing food research for our trip. In case you haven’t realized it yet, Emilio was in charge of the travel plans and I was in charge of the eating interary. You can read the list of amazing places to eat for yourself here. (I just want you to know that that is the first time I have ever made a link without actually showing the URL – I am getting better at this blogging thing slowly but surely).

Nahm is run by an Australian chef who has the same restaurant in London – which won a Michelin star (and then lost it). And just because its a new trick I learned, you can learn about Michelin stars here. It is Thai food, but obviously a bit modernized, priced way higher than street food, and just taken up a notch. It is inside the Metropolitan hotel and is a great setting.

We decided to get the set menu – where they bring food out to you, but you don’t necessarily know what its going to be. This was 1700 baht a person (about $55) but this is cheaper than set menus at renowned restaurants in the States. The silly thing was that we also got a bottle of wine and that was 1800 baht — more expensive than all the food!

We started off with canapes – little small plates that get your appetite going.

The first was a dish (and I don’t know what the fancy restaurant name of any of these things are) was this tapioca dumpling that had peanut and smoked fish on the inside. Looked weird, sounds weird, tasted good.

Actually, that was a lie. Before we got this dish, we got compliments of the chef. This was a triangle of pineapple with minced pork and palm sugar on top. The palm sugar made it a bit chewy, but the flavor was spicy and sweet.

Ok, I’m done lying…back to the canapes.

The second canape was southern grilled mussels. These were smokey and for a non-shellfish lover, they were pretty good. They were served with a side of fresh cucumber (notice how small cucumbers are here — these are not the GMO veggies of US grocery stores) which was a nice refreshing contrast to the smokiness bbq of the mussel.

We then were served these little rolls that looked like a cross between fried spring rolls and wafer cookies. These wafer rolls had chicken and lychee on the inside. Simple, crunchy, sweet.

Our last canape, which honestly could have been our last plate because we were already getting full and had so many dishes to come, was probably the best thing we ate all night. It was spicy pork with mint, peanuts, and crunchy rice which you rolled up (like lettuce cups) in betel leaves. Side note – I looked up what betel leaves were because I had never heard of them and apparently people in SE Asia often chew them for both their questionable medicinal effects and for their euphoria-inducing effects. Interesting, eh?

Then, came the salad. For this, we received a salad of deep fried soft shell crab with pomelo (a citrus fruit), chilies, and coriander. And I forgot to mention this. When we first ordered the set menu, our waitress asked us if we had any dietary restrictions or foods we didn’t enjoy. We eagerly assured here that no, we ate pretty much anything. We forgot that we hate fish sauce. At least fish sauce overdone. This salad had potential to be good, but the dressing definitely had fish sauce. I tried to sneak it across the table to the boyfriend’s side, but he didn’t appreciate that much since his nose is also now sensitive to this stench.

The soup course was a clear broth with minced pork and prawns with pak warn and squid. I have absolutely no idea what pak warn is. I tried to do a search of it but all my results said something like “US officials warn of Pakistan threat.” Um, that wasn’t in my soup. The identifiable thing to me was spring onion. It was good, but honestly, at this point, we were reaching our full limit. We literally went outside for a breather.

Our next course came in three parts. I was very confused how to eat this all together and our waiter had some difficulty explaining it. It was a coconut cream soup with pork, prawns, green chilies (which means they are young and not as spicy – I learned that in cooking class, bitches!), shallots, and coriander. It was served with this platter of vegetables — cucumber, leaves, and the like and deep fried carp fish. This could have been my favorite thing to eat, I think, except the fish sauce was ridiculously heavy in the coconut soup. I tried to filter out the prawns to eat, especially since I like coconut soup flavors, but I am not even sure Emilio tried it once I mentioned fish sauce. I tried to push it to his half of the table again – he wasn’t having it.

Our next dish was the curry dish. There were so many amazing sounding options for the curry serving that this was the only time I wished we hadn’t done the set menu. The curry that we were served had wagyu beef with bai yar (some kind of leaf vegetable but I don’t know what it is). All I can say is this – fish sauce.

The second dish that was in competition for favorite dish of the night was a simple stir-fry. It was stir-fried pork with yellow beans and ginger. We ate it with steamed rice and it had a great kick to it. Nothing that was overpowering, but enough to make you go, “hmmm…spicy!”

That was a dish I might have to re-create. After we ate it, Emilio told me that pork was his favorite meat. What?!?! I cook dinner every night and I never make pork. I think maybe twice I have cooked it. So apparently, more pork and maybe more pork when its done like this!

With all this food, we couldn’t finish it. We ate all the canapes because we walked in hungry. But all these main dishes, unfortunately, had some leftovers (except maybe the pork 🙂 ). But, there’s always room for dessert right?

Except dessert tonight……

We decided to go for it. For the past 24 days, we’ve walked in the streets and always smelled this smell that made us exclaim, “What the hell is that?? I had been tempted to try it, even though I watched Andrew Zimmerman barely swallow it on his show. I mean, it’s fruit? How can a piece of fruit possibly taste bad?

If you have never tried durian before, I highly suggest that you never do. Mi mascota and I will, as you probably can tell, will try just about anything. I tried three bites of durian and I spit each and every bite out. Emilio swallowed a few bites but was laughing (that kind of laugh that you have when you don’t know what else to do in the situation) and couldn’t believe at how “gym-socky” it tasted. It was disgusting. The saving grace was this excellent mojito-type cocktail I had that washed it all down. Why durian is called “the king of fruit” in Thailand, I can not understand. Our waitress said she’d never even tried it — it smelled too bad. Dare I say that we left this trip with a strong distaste for fish sauce and durian? I think so.

We also had two other “treats” for dessert.

One was this simple, unripe mango fruit with a lime-salt on it. I think I just prefer ripe mango with sticky rice.

We also had a persimmon dish that had yellow noodles (I couldn’t see or taste this) wrapped in another pastry roll. This tasted fine, but again, my belly was just bursting and I wanted to not burst the seams of my dress. The funny thing was that when we did our food tour on Friday afternoon, I saw these little permission pancake rolls everywhere.

I am not sure if you noticed, but those little fruits on the durian and the pancake dish were bites of one of the most amazing fruits (unlike durian!) that I have ever had. They were called mangosteen. And they were umptious, delicious, delectable little bites of sweetness. I understand why mangosteen are considered the “queen of fruit” in Thailand. It can claim that title justly.

Overall, how would I rate Nahm?

The dishes we had were done well. If we didn’t have such strong aversions to fish sauce, and now apparently, a fruit of all things, I think we could have easily said it was a great meal. And, it was a great meal. I just wish that we had thought to speak up (and remember, even) our food/taste preferences when we were asked. Otherwise, this might have been a 4.5/5 star rating for me (I am a stickler for giving 5’s), but for me, it was probably more like 3.5/5. I would come back, but probably control my menu a bit more so I could be more selective.

So, how did the boyfriend rate it?

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One Response to “Nahm (as in nom nom nom)”

  1. canapé cuir October 11, 2012 at 7:36 am #

    Excellent post. keep it up!

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