In July this year, David Thompson, the Australian-born chef of nahm at The Halkin in London, opens his first restaurant in Bangkok – nahm, Bangkok at The Metropolitan. Recognised as one of the city’s leading addresses, The Metropolitan is centrally located on the South Sathorn Road.
In 2002, nahm, London became the first Michelin-starred Thai restaurant in Europe. In Bangkok, Thompson’s ambitions are similar: “to deliver proper, decent Thai food done really well.” nahm, Bangkok will have a lighter, more easygoing feel to its sister restaurant in London. The cuisine will reflect the food eaten in Thai homes – relaxed, generous and authentic. This comfortable approach will be mirrored in the style of service, beginning with several different canapés served at each meal. Guided by highly informative Thai waiters, diners will then be able to explore the full gamut of Thompson’s repertoire.
Key dishes will include a jungle curry with snake-headed local fish known as pla chorn grown in the clear water of the rice paddies. “It’s an ugly looking fish, but the flesh is delectable,” says Thompson, “firm, plump, sweet and entirely delicious.” There will be rich dishes on the menu—for instance a southern geng gati of crushed prawns with turmeric and coconut cream and a northern relish of grilled chillies and tomatoes known as nahm prik nuum. There will also be a colourful array of Thai deserts—sweet, creamy, occasionally salty—prepared by Tanongsak, and a wine menu selected by Troy Sutton, the sommelier who works with Thompson at nahm, London.
The restaurant will be designed by Japanese interior architect, Koichiro Ikebuchi, who also designed the restaurants at Uma Ubud in Bali and Aoki in Singapore. Ikebuchi is defined by his sensitive approach to cultural authenticity. Combining modern and traditional interiors, nahm, Bangkok will incorporate Thai wood carvings, including screens for privacy, and warm oranges and browns with shimmering bronze plates on tables. The space will be steeped in natural daylight and in the evening, enriched by the soft mood lighting of the nearby outdoor pool.
Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, nahm, Bangkok will feature a private dining room and terrace dining, with a total of 75 covers. The restaurant expects to draw the majority of its customers from the city, including Bangkok’s significant expat community.
Thompson will be working alongside his long-term partner of 20 years, Thai-born Tanongsak Yordwai, who helped Thompson set up the chef’s first hit restaurant, Darley Street Thai, in Sydney in 1992. Following the opening of Darley Street Thai, the pair worked together on Sailors Thai, also in Sydney, and nahm in London.
“It’ll be great to land back into Bangkok and all that delicious chaos,” says Thompson, “I can’t wait to use local ingredients; going to the markets, playing around in the kitchen, and then putting them onto the dishes in the restaurant.”