Nahm, Bangkok

So my time in Thailand is drawing to a close and as the looming flight back to a very cold England looms closer I thought it’s time to treat myself. I’ve been meaning to try Nahm for years as David Thompson trained Bob who I used to work for in Cirencester. An Australian chef who went to Thailand by mistake and ended up learning the cuisine and well becoming one of the most common names to Thai cookery bringing out 3 books in the process and winning the first Thai Michelin star when in London. Some of the recipes are formidable using things you just wouldn’t get down the Road at the Emerald.

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            The restaurant itself is situated in a hotel, a big hotel in a very posh area of Bangkok, Sathorn. I’m Quite dubious of restaurants attached to large hotels as I know the will be people who quite simply don’t care for the food, who just wander down for a feed without really understanding what their eating and the process ensued. The Hotel itself was a little soviet in appearance, minimalist with simple styled water fountains, concrete and blacked out Mercedes dropping off wealthy families. They knew I was coming due to the emails swapped informing me of act you can’t be late and a kind of strict casual dress code. The code was immediately broken by a young chap walking in with next me in sandy flip flops and a pink “same, same but different” t-shirt meeting mummy and daddy for some free chow. This annoyed me vastly as did it the staff. I had that previous day ventured out to buy a smart shirt!

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            Ignoring the table opposite, the attentive staff were on my case and I was in the mood for cocktails going straight for a Tom Yumtini which was absolutely delicious with a kaffir lime leave floating on top. This was served with an appetizer of dried shrimp, peanut and chilli on a slice of fresh pineapple with was a pleasant start and not overbearing.

 

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The menu is expensive to Thai standard but considering what you’re eating it wasn’t too bad for english standards. I chose to go with the lobster and pork miang leaf wraps as an appetiser which was quite substantial, though incredibly sharp, the leaves tough and something that surprised me being in Thailand, it could have done with a smidge more fish sauce... then that could be just me. For main course I chose the Muslim curry of Oxtail which seemed to be mussaman without the potato. It has to be one of the best curries I’ve eaten outside of Bobs restaurant served with the most formidably cooked rice, light and sticky almost opaque. The curry held all kinds of flavour, rich and almost glossy from the oxtail that came off the bone with a little persuasion. I chose a sweetcorn, prawn, lime, mint, chilli and lemongrass salad to cleanse the pallet between diving into the curry which worked really well though i couldn't find any mint. After another sterling Thai infused cocktail the plates were swiftly cleared.

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I was almost full teetering on the edge of complete and a plate of iced durian came out with one of those strange loaded biscuits you get at Thai markets. It didn't blow me away but it was almost cleansing with the icy, almost salty durian.

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Looking over I could see "same, same but different" struggling with the other curry on the menu which amused me greatly. It was a good meal however I would have preferred to have eaten it of some hazy street in the jungle of Bangkok with fellow diners who actually came for the food. I can't help thinking however that this was a reproduction of something much better. In terms of price I could have bought 160 Phad Thai's for the same price, makes you think.

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The Hand and flowers

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Seeing as we were in stoner park we thought we may as well go and visit the hand and flowers in Marlow to celebrate leaving the big smoke. I've been wanting to come here for an age and what a feat to be the only pub to have two michelin stars with the great Tom Kerridge of whom i have a lot of respect for.

It was a nasty evening with the weather and after putting up the tent we were in need of a stiff drink ASAP. We threw on some smart casuals on and jumped in a taxi. now desperate for a drink sat down in the bar area and immediately ordered several different gin and tonics from the extensive menu. I had Toms vegetable gin which was deliciously fresh, garnished with a stick of liquorice bark and fennel herb which is one of my favourites. A couple of rounds of crispy pork skin and roasted nuts later and we were ready to enter the restaurant.

The room though quite dark was beautifully decorated. The quality of the table setting stood out quite vividly and of course a pair of Toms rather large chef old whites splayed out on the wall for added character and also some retro sneakers I imagine he wore to work back in the day.

Before we knew it deep fried whitebait with Bloody Mary sauce and warm sour dough with the most wonderful soft local butter came to the table.

We moved on to the Hand and flowers own ale which was pleasant and of course a couple of bottles of very reasonably price reds on standby for the main course. I started with the scallop and my it was a big'n served in a ceramic pot with a rather sweet bouillabaisse, a mere hint of saffron, peppers, a beautiful cracker with fennel herb ebmeded within and a blob of rouille. I have to say i was quite jealous of Dave's liver parfait and brioche, so light and brilliant to spread with a bit of chutney.

The wine was opened and we moved onto the main course. A couple of our party went for the fillet of beef which considering where we were i thought a bit boring however good it may be as we have a team of brilliantly talented chefs that can persuade certain ingredients to impress us. I went for the "essex lamb bun" with sweetbreads, black cabbage verde and a pot of sticky lamb jus. Its presented very simple, a cleaned lamb bone protruding out of a shiny egg washed sphere of pastry clad lamb rack, confit breast and sweetbreads. Stunning with the salsa verde to cut trough the fatiness of the lamb, one of those times where you look around the table and think I've won! Although the venison did look amazing too.

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To finish, a strawberry soufflé, brilliantly executed with pistachio ice-cream and more poached strawberries, not too sweet and not too heavy after such a full on main course. We finished with a double espresso and waddled out to the taxi and back to the circus. A lovely evening all round and would certainly recommend it, however we did have to book 3 months in advance!

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