Monday 24 August 2015

Spices: Nahm - Dining at Asia's Best Restaurant for 2014

For the past couple of years I've always used the Miele Guide as my basis for the best restaurants in Asia but sadly the publishing body has ceased operation. Before going to Bangkok, I researched on good restaurants that we can eat at. Nahm appeared as the best restaurant in Asia for that year, 2014 in S.Pelligrino Worlds 50 best website Upon reading that the restaurant serves Thai cuisine, I purposely scheduled our meal there on our last day in Bangkok to be able to compare it with our street food experience.

Nahm - Asia's Best Restaurant for 2014

It was a choice between going ala carte or having their set lunch menu. We would usually go for different set menus but the server told us that we could only choose one set menu for the three of us. This is because the resto serves the dishes in family sytle bowls and plates meant for sharing. Diners can also have as much rice as they want. We decided to have one set meal and just order two other ala carte dishes in order to try out more.

Dishes are meant for sharing

To start we were given a triangular piece of Pineapple topped Minced Pork and Peanuts as our amuse bouche.
It looks really simple and it was just perfect to excite our paletes, refreshingly sweet and savory salty.

Pineapple topped with Minced Pork and Peanuts

We wanted something to cool us down, we asked the server for his recommendations and we ended up having the Thai Sabai and the Tom Yumtini. Among the two cocktails, we favored the Tom Yumtini more because of its uniqueness. It tasted weird at first cause it exactly taste like the tom yum soup. But the more we took little sips, the more we grew fonder of it.

Tom Yumtini and Thai Sabai

I would start off with the set menu, its a 6 course meal that consist of canape, salad, soup, curry, 'stirfried, steamed & grilled' and dessert. The lunch set cost 1,300 Baht (price has increased to 1,500 Baht as of the moment.) There were two choices for the Canape course but I the resto was generous to us because they served us both. Prawn and Coconut Wafer with Ginger and Blue Swimmer Crab with Peanuts and Pickled Garlic on Rice Cakes.

Prawn and Coconut Wafer with Ginger & Blue Swimmer Crab with Peanuts and Pickled Garlic on Rice Cake

The ingredients that were used for the Salad of Fresh River Prawn and Pork with Asian Pennyworth was so fresh but I found the dressing lacking in flavor.

Salad of Fresh River Prawn and Pork with Asian Pennyworth

All of us didn't like the Hot and Sour Soup with Chicken, Prawn and Wild Mushroom. The soup has a strong fishy scent and taste. It seems that they put too much fish sauce in the soup, it was totally off putting.

Hot and Sour Soup with Chicken, Prawn and Wild Mushroom

The Jungle Curry of Chicken with Wild Ginger, Green Peppercorn, Madan and Thai Basil tasted good but I it was missing a certain flavor that I tasted in the curries of the streets stalls in Bangkok.

Jungle Curry of Chicken with Wild Ginger, Green Peppercorn, Madan and Thai Basil

I enjoyed the Stir Fried Pork with Dried Prawns, Apple, Eggplant and Chillies the most. The combination of the textures and flavors are really interesting, I just wished this was spicier.

Stir Fried Pork with Dried Prawns, Apple, Eggplant and Chillies

For dessert, we were served Sweet Thai Wafer with Poached Persimmon and golden duck egg noodles. Simple and really refreshing.

Sweet Thai Wafer with Poached Persimmon and Golden Duck Egg Noodles

We had two additional Ala Carte dishes, the first one was Green Curry of Beef with Thai Basil and Eggplants. The beef was exceptionally tender but again there was something missing in the curry.

Green Curry of Beef with Thai Basil and Eggplants

The other dish we had was the Pak Warn Stir Fried with Garlic and Mushrooms. Pak Warn is a kind of green leafy vegetables that translates to sweet leaves in Thai. The vegetables was stir fried with  light soy sauce and it had the beautiful scent and flavors of garlic. A dish that tasted very familiar, it reminded me of the local dish of Adobong Kangkong.

Pak Warn Stir Fried with Garlic and Mushrooms

As I've mentioned before, we ate here at our last day in Bangkok. We've already tasted and experienced the amazing flavors of Thai food in the streets and in restaurants. Nahm uses top notch ingredients, the way they prepare and cook each dish is exceptional. But taste wise, I felt that they down play the flavors a bit. All of the dishes were good but lacks the oomph and umami goodness compared to local dishes that we've tried. If we've dined here on our first day in Bangkok, I might have a different opinion. If asked if dining here is worth it, it's still a yes. Will I come back? Maybe not because I'll head to the streets of Bangkok to eat, Soi 38 specifically.

Address: Inside Hotel Metropolitan,  27 Sathorn Road, Thung Maha Mek, Sathon, Bangkok
Tel No.:  +662 625 3333

Thursday 6 August 2015

Spices: Open Kitchen

Late last year, Chris Urbano of Maputing Cooking and I decided to meet up again and this time around, he suggested that we dine in Open Kitchen, a restaurant in Kapitolyo that he supplies wine to.

There were four of us that night and we decide to share everything amongst us. To start we had the Steamed Bamboo Shells, the shellfish was served with croutons and side salad. The shell fish was delicious as it was so fresh and perfectly cooked.

Steamed Bamboo Shells - Php165 / 15 pcs

The Pumpkin Vanilla Soup looked really promising, it was served table side. On the center was a scoop of vanilla ice cream, the server poured out the soup into the bowl and told us to make sure that we mixed the ice cream together with the soup before eating. The soup was kind of runny and it needed more pumpkins in it as it didn't taste much of it.

Pumpkin Vanilla Soup - Php155

I liked the Chorizo Fussili with Tuna as it was really a simple dish done really well. Chorizo was salty and tasty, pasta was al dente and the tuna. Even though it was kind of thin, it was perfectly cooked, it still had a nice blushing pink center.

Chorizo Fusilli with Tuna - Php420

Cooked Tuna with a Nice Pinkish Center

The Grilled Wahoo was served with black coconut rice, lemon grass cream and potato alumettes. Fish was cooked perfectly though I found it a little bland even with the lemon grass cream, we had to add more salt on it. I was expecting the potato alumettes to be crispy as it is how it should be but the potato strips were pan fried instead.The crispiness would have been a plus for the dish's texture.

Grilled Wahoo - Php455

The Ribeye was of decent size and the way it was prepared and cooked was perfection. Served with a side of mashed potatoes and vegetables, the beef had nice pinkish center and the addition of the beef au jus was a nice touch. I'm guessing that the meat comes from the local market as it wasn't as tender compared with the imported ones but still it was good, a dish that I would order again.

The Ribeye - Php920
Perfectly Cooked to Medium Rare

My favorite dish for the night is the Anise Pork Belly. A huge chunk of melt in your mouth pork belly cooked with the aromatic and flavorful sauce that consist of honey-mustard, star anise, onion leeks and nori. I truly enjoyed the fusion of flavors of the sauce. The sweet honey mustard is very western, mixed with the Asian flavors of the anise, onion leeks and nori, everything compliments each other so well.

Anise Pork Belly - Php460

Chris and I each brought a bottle of wine. I brought a dry Viura from the Rioja region that complimented the seafood dishes. Chris brought one of his wines that he sells on line, the Chrismont Lazona Sangiovese from King Valley, the 2012 wine was excellent with the steak.

Chrismont Lazona 2012 Sangiovese

With 4 of us dinning, two bottles of wine weren't enough. On each table, you'll find recommendations on which wines will pair up well with the dish you'll order. We ordered two more from the restaurant, the All Saints Cabernet Sauvignon and the All Saints Sangiovese Cabernet. I've ordered and tried the All Saints Sangiovese Cabarnet before, I love how the wine is so versatile and savory at the same time. Both of the wines can also be ordered on line,

Wine Pairing Menu

All Saints 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon - Php1,940

All Saints Sangiovese Cabernet - Php1,940

Majority of the restaurants in Kapitolyo are the bar/resto type where people go to down beers, eat grilled dishes, get tipsy and be merry. Open Kitchen is different, it's a place to have a nice quiet meal. Dishes are more 'refined' but still relatively affordable. The food is not mind blowing great but good enough to be visited regularly to eat well.

Open Kitchen
Address: 71-B East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Tel No: 738 0102

*For orders or to find out more about the wines, you can visit,