David Thompson is one of Australia’s pioneering chefs. While a great many of the country’s leading cooks have honed their skills in some of the world’s culinary hotspots, particularly Europe, Thompson took his love of Thai food to, well, Thailand and created Nahm.

Nahm is a bastion of Thai fine dining. Thompson sources rare ingredients from all over the country, combining them in artful dishes that have won his restaurant significant acclaim. Depending on which list you look at, Nahm has often been ranked the Number 1 restaurant in Asia. In the last list of the San Pellegrino world’s 50 best restaurants, it was ranked a very respectable 22 overall and took 8th spot in Asia. At times it has held the top spot in Asia – no mean feat.

It was with considerable anticipation that Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband wended their way to a calm and peaceful dining room overlooking the pool area at Bangkok’s Metropolitan Hotel. The hotel is on South Sathorn Road, in a prime business location and only a few doors down from the Australian embassy.

Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband navigated there from the nearby Sala Daeng BTS station, with a slight detour; this was during Thailand’s annual Songkran Festival where the locals arm themselves with water pistols that Arnie himself in Terminator guise would be proud to shoulder. Facing the prospect of sitting down to a gastronomic event in sopping wet clothes, we took a rather circuitous route to reach the restaurant, out of the ‘line of fire’ so to speak.
So when we arrived, we were hot, bothered and in desperate need of both a drink and sustenance.

Thompson was a pioneer of Thai food in Australia, opening the well-regarded Darley Street Thai in Sydney in the 1990s, followed by Sailors’ Thai. He then took his brand of Thai to the world, eventually opening Nahm, where he is the co-owner and still has a huge influence over the food, although Prin Polsuk is now listed as controlling the kitchen.

Indeed, on the day we visited, Thompson was not behind the pass. He sat in an alcove while dishes were brought to him. Towards the end of the lunch service (Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband had a late seating), he paced up and down one side of the main dining room talking animatedly on his mobile phone. It was a little disconcerting to say the least.

But, let’s get to the main event – the food and drinks. It’s our usual practice to order a bottle of champagne when having a multi-course meal, figuring it goes with almost any cuisine. In Bangkok, that’s not a particularly affordable option; we’d already been told import duties on champagne were high. We opted instead for cocktails. Gluttonous husband enjoyed a very good Mojito, while Greedy Girl took an excellent strawberry daiquiri.

Nahm Bangkok Thai

Icy cocktails for a hot day

We took the set menu, which offered a few choices and, for the curries, opted for the ‘wuss’ level of spice (i.e, not outrageously hot). Sorted. First up was a small treat – ma hor (which apparently means ‘galloping horses’). Little triangles of pineapple were combined with a mix of pork, quail and shrimp and topped with coriander leaf.
Nahm Bangkok Thai fine dining

Ma hor

It was perfectly edible although Greedy Girl considers the ones she’d had at Melbourne’s Easy Tiger packed in more flavour. Still, not a bad start.

Next up were our canapés. First, we had egg ‘Nets’ with prawns, wild almonds and kaffir lime. The almond flavour really came through here and it was an enjoyable and interesting combination.

Nahm Bangkok Thai

Egg nets with prawns

We then had grilled Guinea fowl skewers (pictured at the top of this post). These were combined with peanuts, cumin and turmeric and a small salad of shallots and cucumber. The skewers made an exceptionally pretty plate and the flavours were superb. An unqualified yum.

The menu allowed a choice of salad. We took the king fish with pomelo, lemongrass and lime. Again, an attractive-looking dish, the lemongrass was a little too strong for Greedy Girl’s liking but the fish was superb.

Nahm Bangkok Thai

King fish salad

In Thai style, the rest of the dishes were presented together. There were two soups on offer, so Greedy Girl took the clear soup of roast duck, Thai basil and young coconut, while gluttonous husband had the hot and sour soup. The duck soup was excellent – well balanced and full of flavour. Greedy Girl was happy to slurp it down. The hot and sour soup was very spicy (for our tastebuds) but was full of chicken, prawns and wild mushrooms. Gluttonous husband enjoyed it.
Nahm Bangkok Thai

Clear duck soup

Nahm Bangkok Thai

Hot and sour soup

Our final dishes were our choice of curries. Greedy Girl chose the stir-fried cured pork with tomato and fiddlehead ferns. She didn’t need to be told not to eat the giant chilli placed on top. Again the curry was quite well balanced and the greens an inventive touch.
Nahm Bangkok Thai

Stir-fried cured pork curry

Gluttonous husband opted for the aromatic curry of chicken with pickled cucumbers. The fragrance of this dish was delightful and the flavours quite enjoyable.
Nahm Bangkok Thai

Aromatic chicken curry

We then moved to dessert – tropical fruit in a scented syrup, followed by sweet Thai wafers with poached persimmon and golden duck egg noodles. It was cold, refreshing and not too sweet. A nice way to finish.
Nahm Bangkok Thai

Dessert, Thai style

The food here was enjoyable but we weren’t wowed by it. Perhaps our expectations were too high. In terms of the other excellent restaurants we’ve visited throughout Asia (and the world), Nahm wouldn’t feature prominently on our top list but we’re not lovers of Thai food – more like just good friends. Thai food aficionados may find more to appreciate about the cuisine.


The Foodie World star rating
27 South Sathorn Road, Bangkok

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