NAHM

Bangkok

Esquire (UK) - - CULTURE - co­mo­ho­tels.com/metropoli­tan­bangkok/din­ing/nahm

There’s no huge restau­rant tra­di­tion in

Thai­land. It’s ei­ther food at home, or snacks from the street. Which are mainly Chi­nese in ge­n­e­sis. So when David Thomp­son first opened Nahm, the lo­cals were less than im­pressed. Here was a non-Thai, hav­ing the sheer bloody nerve to try and teach them about their own culi­nary her­itage. The cheek of it!

But Thomp­son, who speaks flu­ent Thai and has worked here for years, is a ge­nius, a man ob­sessed with trav­el­ling the land and find­ing tra­di­tional re­gional recipes to bring back and serve up at Nahm. Last year, the place was ranked the fifth-best restau­rant in Asia in that end­lessly silly 50 best list. But don’t let that put you off, be­cause at Nahm, the sur­round­ings might be five-star, but the food is thrillingly vis­ceral.

Of course, Thomp­son doesn’t com­pro­mise for timid Western palates. Thai food is all about bal­ance and if a dish de­mands hot and sour, then hell, it will be very hot and very sour. The kitchen makes all its own pastes daily (of course they do), and in­gre­di­ents are treated with a re­spect verg­ing on the rev­er­ent. Sam­phire and oys­ter salad, green mango with grilled pork, hot and sour river prawn soup. Chi­ang mai chilli prik, mas­saman ox­tail curry and stir-fried beef with chilli, holy basil and cumin leaves. This is eat­ing in Tech­ni­color. You’ll sweat, swear and grin inanely as Thomp­son and his kitchen de­liver plate af­ter plate of lip-smack­ing, eye-wa­ter­ing, thigh­slap­ping de­light. An ex­cel­lent wine list, too, heavy on the Ries­ling and Gewürz­traminer that suits th­ese pumped-up flavours. Once you’ve fin­ished, give it a cou­ple of hours then hit the streets, to feast upon wob­bling oys­ter omelettes and cold Singha beer by the me­tre. You can never tire of Bangkok.

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