Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Nahm

We left MBK having spent all our cash save for about 60 Baht which was enough for out BTS tickets but not for a taxi from the station to our hotel. We decided this would be necessary given how many bags of shopping we had accumulated! I found an ATM and without really thinking I withdrew 10,000 Baht and was straight away wondering how we would be able to spend it all given we only have two days left in Bangkok.

Our first plan was to book a babysitter and head back to the Long Table. We then decided that drinks at the Vertigo rooftop bar at the Banyan Tree Hotel followed by dinner at David Thompson's restaurant Nahm would be even better. Tina organised it all in about 20 minutes and we were set for a great night. After dressing up in all our newly purchased clothes and shoes we caught a taxi to the Banyan Tree. The Vertigo Bar is an open air bar and restaurant on the roof of a 60 story building. We caught the lift as high as it went then climbed a few staircases until we reached the roof and were immediately overwhelmed by the awe inspiring 360 degree views of Bangkok. It is the absolute top of the building and you can see for miles in every direction, absolutely unbelievable! This is a must visit for anyone coming to Bangkok. The name Vertigo is very apt and I was certainly a bit wobbly knee'd. We enjoyed a number of delicious cocktails and took in the beautiful views of Bangkok at night. The cocktails definitely helped to calm the nerves.

After finishing up at Vertigo we caught the lift back to the ground and wandered next door to Nahm. The menu was amazing with so many options, choosing was going to be difficult. Fortunately they have a banquet option for 1,700 Baht per person where you get a sample if all the appetizers, soup each, a relish, a curry, a stir fry, a salad, dessert each and if course rice. We also ordered lychee Mojitos to kick things off.

I will try and recall all the dishes but it was such an assault on the senses with so much food coming out in rapid succession that combined with my cocktail intake I am going to struggle.

First out was a pork, prawn chilli jam on a slice of pineapple. Then a savory crispy Thai cupcake, then mussels on a satay stick, a Miang (betel leaf wrap) and some kind of lovely glutinous mini steamed dumplings. All of it was sensational and immediately devoured as soon as photos had been taken.

Not long after finishing our appetizers the main meal arrived and we were given plates of rice and a beautiful brothy duck soup with slices of duck and shitake mushrooms and other goodness I couldn't identify. Our curry was a sumptuous blue swimmer crab meat curry, this was a favourite. The stir fry was frogs legs which was also delicious but incredibly spicy. The salad was lemongrass prawn and chicken with cashews I think, it was so light and crunchy with a refreshing lemongrass flavor. The relish was wonderful and I am very intrigued by Thai relishes. This one was accompanied by deep fried soft shell crab and some crunchy raw thai vegetables, one of which was rose apple. We loved it and are going to try and find it back home. Sadly I can't remember the description of the relish as I was poring over this section of the menu much that all the dishes kind of became confused with each other in my memory. Needless to say, it was incredible and not something I had tried before but hopefully one I will try again soon.

The whole meal was unbelievable, David Thompson has been quite controversial over here because of how expensive his food is compared with how cheap traditional thai food usually is. I have to say that during our holiday we have eaten some amazing food but nothing that compares with how beautiful and delicious as what we enjoyed at Nahm. It is so delicate and refined and the taste sensations are superb. Perhaps his food is not tidally traditional, I am not informed enough to judge but to me it's irrelevant. He is a genius and through his excellent cookbooks he has made the wonderful Thai cuisine so accessible to so many that he really should be applauded by the Thai rather than criticized. After reading his books so many times and cooking many of his recipes it was really great to be able to taste and see what the actual versions of his dishes should look and taste and smell like.

If the whole experience wasn't special enough, who should wander past our table but the man himself. I had imagined that this might happen and promised myself that if it did I would accost him for a photo. So that's exactly what I did! He was happy to pose for a photo with me and was such a friendly person and we had a brief chat and of course I told him he was a genius. I may have been a but excited but I still think this is true. Along with Luke Nguyen and Adam D'Sylva he is one of my favorite chefs so being able to eat his food and meet him was a pretty special night for me.

I should also say that by this time we were absolutely stuffed and I had to have a bit if a lie down to recuperate for dessert! Tina kindly took a photo. For dessert they brought out a palate cleanser which I believe was more rose apple sweetened with crystalized sugar, very light and refreshing. I chose Durian sticky rice and Tina had the grilled banana with coconut cream custard. I had to eat most of both dishes which was a bit of a chore but I coped ok. The durian sticky rice is definitely a quintessentially Thai dessert and while I love mango sticky rice I don't think it is as delicious as durian sticky rice. I had to stop short of calling this my favourite thai dessert because there are just so many wonderful thai deserts but this is right up there in my estimation. The bananas were also very special and the thai bananas are quite different to ours at home. They have many varieties over here and different varieties are used for different purposes. These were delicious and the creamy custard sauce really enhanced their smoky sweet grilled goodness. if that wasn't enough they finished us off with a plate of two each of four lovely sweet treats that I can't even begin to describe.

Ok so I have done my best to recap what was an unbelievably amazing evening and I believe a must do for anyone visiting Bangkok. I know that we will definitely be repeating this evening next time were in Bangkok and I would even go so far as to say that it would be worth the trip from Singapore or KL for the weekend just to enjoy David Thompson's amazing food and wonderful service at this very special restaurant. And of course that spectacular view from the Vertigo rooftop bar!

For the record I saw David Thompson again on our way out and thanked him for a wonderful experience. He asked if I wad a chef! I said no but I do gave both your cookbooks and told him we'd be back next time we were in Bangkok. Oh and I might have told him he was a genius again.


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