As soon as I’ve booked my flights to Bangkok, I instinctively sent an email to the reservations team at Nahm asking for a dinner slot during the days I was in the city. It’s always been on my bucket list, particularly as it’s been Asia’s Top 10 restaurants for the past 5 years (Top 5 this year and Top 1 in 2014).
As expected, the first attempt at a date wasn’t successful. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing and changing itineraries (as you know, I will change itineraries for good food), we found a match and I was ready to roll. But was it really worth it? Will food at Nahm seriously blow my mind?
Cocktails came quick, I settled for a watermelon martini whilst P went for passionfruit. Lovely as they tasted, I missed the cocktails in London, where the alcohol is a bit more apparent.
We went for the set tasting menu.
At 2500 Baht (£57) I think Nahm’s set tasting menu is fab-tastic. It’s based on the ala carte menu and is comprised comprises a selection of canapés, salad, relish, a main course dessert. Compared to the set menus here, it’s a helluva lot to eat.
We didn’t really know what was coming. I just said I like spicy stuff and our server nodded in understanding.
We started with a popular Nahm amuse bouche: a ball of rich shrimp and chilli paste atop a slice of pineapple. The sweet-salty combination was definitely awakening, as if to open our eyes to different angles of a cuisine we thought we knew so well.
Next up was a crispy egg nest with some prawn and kaffir filling. This was slightly akin to what I had at Issaya Siamese Club but far more superior.
The crab wafer was quite yum. The wafer itself was reminiscent of savoury barquillos and the filling, though difficul to photograph, had a really fresh and delicious taste.
The steamed red curry of scallops with Thai basil and coconut was wonderful. I’m a huge shellfish and mollusc fan, and quite a purist at that. I’m often scared bold sauces would undermine the freshness of the shellfish but this wasn’t the case at Nahm. The scallops were delicious and the sauce… fantastic.
I’m a huge fan of food you roll up and eat with your hands. It’s fun, and Nahm didn’t disappoint with their offering. Crispy pork and lobster lay atop shredded ginger and herbs. It was aromatic, fragrant, and beautifully textured.
Salads, Soups, Relishes
Our next scallop dish came in salad form, almost like a ceviche but bolder. The vinaigrette is made with a dash of coconut milk and is punched with lemongrass. The scallops were plump, juicy and I can’t help but commend Nahm for being generous with this dish.
I loved the seafood soup at Issaya Siamese Club so much that I didn’t think Nahm’s would compare. However, I was blown away with the latter’s hot and sour soup of river prawn and shrooms. They really went all out on flavour. The tang was SURREAL. It hits you like mad, yet you’re left wanting more. And the spicy kick is HARD. But it’s so addictive like you won’t believe.
I wasn’t so sure about the grilled chilli relish with prawns, veg and pork crackling. However, it was super good and I loved eating it with rice. There’s a smokiness from the grilled chilli and veg, but the spice is mild and refreshing.
The mains came and I couldn’t help but stare at the massive prawn heads.
They were grilled and served with pork crackling. I’m funny with prawns, as I think I’ve developed a light allergy through the years. Big prawns scare me, because most of the time, they come overcooked. Nahm cooked theirs perfectly and I was all-in with gusto. The sweet succulent bad boys were delicious, allergy be damned.
The Muslim curry of oxtail, with ginger and eggplants was a mouthful. There’s a hint of nutmeg that makes the curry earthier than usual but it complements the depth of the sauce. Delicious and filling.
One of the most underrated plates on the table was a dish of steamed fish with pickled garlic. We didn’t even recognize it until we were almost done. Rest assured, it was just as tasty as the others.
I’ve gotta fess up – I’m not huge on Asian desserts. I was full from the savouries at Nahm and by the time we had to choose our desserts, I was happy to let P decide on what she wanted.
As a palate cleanser, we were given green mangoes with chilli sugar. I love green mangoes, particularly when you dip the sour ones in either shrimp paste or soy-vinegar-chilli. These weren’t as sour but surprisingly refreshing.
The mango and sticky rice dessert was okay. I enjoy ripe mangoes in Asia because you’re sure to have sweetness most of the time. Nahm didn’t disappoint. The rice in coconut milk was good, too.
The sweet Thai wafers came with poached persimmon and “golden duck egg noodles”. This was rather delicious, with the coconut cream blending well with the poached fruit, and the sweetness just right.
Petit fours came with our coffees and I actually really enjoyed the pandan-infused coconut strips. I’d love to have these in London with all the cakes I can eat!
Verdict for Nahm
The huge question was whether I would love Nahm over (another Asia’s Top 50 Best) Issaya Siamese Club (which was super highly recommended by Thai food experts on Pepo). Having tried both, I could say I liked them both but I’m slightly inclined to give Nahm the slightest nod of preference. Ambience is better at Issaya but I liked my meal at Nahm because the food was spicier, whereas Issaya was slightly sweeter.
Overall, though… I think Nahm is to be commended for the fresh produce they use. The service is great and quite contemporary. However for a well-known restaurant, I actually find it more for smart casual meals rather than special occasions. It’s not intimidating at all but good enough to impress (I mean, come on… Asia’s Best and all that).
I’d say don’t miss this when you go to Bangkok – but also check out the likes of Bo.Lan, Le Normandie, Issaya Siamese Club.
Nahm (Como Metropolitan)
27 S Sathorn Rd, Khwaeng Thung Maha Mek, Khet Sathon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10120, Thailand
Ave spend pp: 2500 Baht (£70)
Have you been to Nahm before?