Tel: +44 (0)20 7333 1234
Address: The Halkin, 5 Halkin Street, SW1X 7DJ
Cuisine Type: Thai
With much anticipation I finally eat at Nahm – the world’s only Michelin-starred Thai restaurant. After eating at David Thompson’s first restaurant, Sailor’s Thai in Sydney, several times and reading his extremely well-researched tome on Thai Cookery, I looked forward to tasting the cuisine of the man the Thai government asked to establish a Thai cookery school in Thailand.
We chose the traditional Thai nahm arharn meal (£49.50) consisting of six shared courses: an hors d’oeuvre, a salad, a soup, a relish or light curry, a substantial curry and a stir-fried or casserole dish. Individual ordering is also possible with dishes ranging from £8 to £15 to suit tastes or budget.
We started with an amuse bouche of mar hor (minced prawn and chicken served on cucumber slices) which was followed by latiang. This amazing egg-net construction encased chewy strands of sweetish coconut flavoured with crab. The pomelo and crispy trout salad with toasted peanuts (yam som oo pla tort) was an aromatic maze of textures – refreshing pomelo chunks, crunchy fish and reslient lime leaf – flavoured with a sweet and savoury sauce. We’d all elected for different soups and my spicy oxtail soup with onions and tomatoes (sup hang wua) tasted earthy and rich, full of beef flavour and redolent with mysterious aromatic spices. A grilled chilli relish, an extremely hot jungle curry and an aromatic pork and ginger curry followed.
My favourite dish was the double steamed rabbit with pickled mustard greens (known as ham choy in Cantonese) and daikon. This is an earthy peasant-style dish with the savoury pickles and sweet rabbit meat married perfectly with rice. We also had a firm and translucent deep fried royal bream with a rather sweet three-flavoured sauce.
We dined in subdued lighting in a warm light-golden room decorated with subtle South-east Asian accents – for example bright red corded ropes in the atrium. The extremely friendly Thai staff gave elegant and knowledgeable service. Although we were only supposed to have one curry and one casserole our waitress offered to make us two smaller servings of each because we couldn’t decide.
An exotic range of desserts beckoned and I had a coconut ash perfumed egg custard with jackfruit – quite delicious.
Personally I found the food a little pungeant and strongly flavoured but Thompson makes no compromises in his quest for authenticity. If you like your pad thai and green chicken curry as served in pubs and are expecting just a ‘better’ version, this place is probably not for you. Nahm is quite a different concept and serves Thai food rarely seen outside of Thailand and the royal houses.