Considering Longrain in Melbourne serves my favourite dishes in the world, and the head chef Martin Boetz was taught by David Thompson, it is no surprise nahm has been on my list for a long while. nahm has been one of the only Thai cuisine restaurants in the world to have a Michelin star and I have David Thompson's two famed Thai cookbooks on my shelves too. People have commented that since he opened the Bangkok branch and bases himself there, the London branch has suffered and since lost its Michelin star whilst the Bangkok has breached the San Pellegrino Top 50 list in the world.
Nonetheless despite a reduced reputation, you can't reverse years of curiosity from my belly. Given there were 4 of us, we skipped the tasting menu in favour of ordering more variety of a la carte dishes.
- Salad of Langoustines (with young ginger & lychees)
- Spicy Minced Pork Salad (with crunchy rice & betel leaves)
- Dtom Yam Hoi (hot & sour soup with mussels, turmeric & coriander)
- Smoky Kingfish Relish (with toasted coconut & chillies served with five-spice eggs, pickled greens, starfruit & green beans)
- Stir-fried Eel (with pork, curry paste, wild ginger & chillies)
- Jungle Curry of Venison (with long leaf coriander & deep fried shallots)
- Double-Steamed Rabbit (with pickled mustard greens)
- Stir-fried Tofu (with corn peppers, samphire, spring onions & corn)
- Gola Cuttlefish Salad
- Mango Sticky Pudding
- Sesame Seed & Coconut Dumplings (with pickled ginger agar agar)
- Coconut & Taro Pudding (with ancestor biscuits filled with young coconut)
All of the dishes were at least good. The Salad of Langoustines and Spicy Minced Pork Salad were great - I always enjoy South-East Asian salads for the amazing combination of herbs and spices and textures especially when reinvented by modern Thai chefs. The Tom Yum soup was a must try for me as I've tried to make the impossibly complicated David Thompson's version in Thai Street Food cookbook. The true form is deliciously deep (although not overly strong) with flavour and a kick of chilli - unlike any version I've tried before.
I will say that I did expect some stronger flavour from some of the dishes that I'm used to from Longrain. On that front I was a little disappointed, but different people have different tastes.
If you have access to Bangkok, I'd suggest trying that one instead given the modern trends. Otherwise the old faithful London branch is certainly acceptable.
Next time I would order any combination of the salads and the unique Dtom Yam Hoi which you won't have a similar taste to anywhere. The other dishes are all good and so picking something where the ingredients appeal to you won't be difficult.