The Cowcross Review


Timeout’s Number 16: Nahm by Pat Kua
March 16, 2008, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Restaurant, Timeout Top 50 2008

I’m always a bit sceptical about restaurants in hotels as they tend to fall into two categories – either extremely overpriced food that’s not very special, or food focused on fresh flavours matched perfectly in ambiance and corresponding price. If you can’t tell, I think most hotel restaurants fall into the former and those in the latter I’ll try to reserve for special occasions. Fortunately for me, I found that Nahm, Timeout’s #16 on the Top 50, falls into the better of these two categories.

Nahm

Nahm, located in the Halkin Hotel just near Hyde Park corner and run by Australian chef David Thompson focuses on providing fresh and authentic Thai foods you won’t find in your local Thai-food offering pub. It may seem strange that an Australian runs this restaurant although once you eat there, it’s obvious that the amount of time Thompson spends in Thailand results in superb offerings infused with traditional flavours and ingredients, some extremely classic, and others much more modern yet all distinctly Thai based.

Squid

My sister found it difficult to appreciate the atmosphere with only four or five other tables seated for the evening. I have to admit a few forces work against the only Michelin-starred Thai restaurant in Europe, such as being Monday night in a swanky hotel, its location on a very quiet street away from Hyde Park corner, all making it difficult for people to stumble across it. I saw it as an opportunity to indulge in the dining atmosphere while resting on our chairs with their small and comfortable pillow in the small of my back.

Sea Bass Green Curry

Nahm offers a tasting menu though I couldn’t really justify eating or paying that much (£45) for my first visit. Fortunately the waitress told us what the best way to order from the menu when going ala carte, and recommended picking a dish from each category focusing on different flavours so that, as a group, we could experience a wealth of sensations and tastes. We ordered four dishes (duck salad, ginger shallot squid, stir fried pork and a seabass green curry) between the three of us and, followed by a round of dessert, literally had us rolling out of the place, completely content and, at least for me, quite impressed by the evening. The two dishes that impressed me the most included the seabass curry and the squid. The curry paste looked like it’d been made relatively fresh and the result was a dish full of flavour and spices that wasn’t at all overpowering. Even the other chilli-wary The Cowcross Review author enjoyed the subtle heat provided by the small chillis sitting in the sauce. The squid impressed me since they’d cooked it perfectly with almost melt in your mouth flesh tinged with the surprisingly strong ginger shallot flavours

Peanut Cluster Dessert

Nahm also offers an overwhelmingly exhaustive wine list and I’m sure that if we were all in the mood to drink, we would have appreciated it. Instead I had one of their signature martinis infused with a spicy ginger flavour that went perfectly with our meal.

I’ll agree with my sister that their presentation isn’t what you’d expect from a Michelin starred restaurant and although presentation matters, I do understand it’s very difficult to make stir fry and curry dishes that presentable without being too ostentatious. I think they made up for it in their amazing desserts, something that you’ll have to try for yourself.

Going back to my original statement, Nahm is a wonderful experience when you can share different flavours with a small group of people though I’ll still look for that special occasion worth going to it for.

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