I feel The Oberoi, Bangalore located on one of the busiest junctions of Bangalore – Trinity Circle, MG Road transforms itself into a serene place the minute you walk through that almost maze like rocks and trees to reach Rim Nam, Oberoi’s by the waterfront signature Thai restaurant. You feel yourself instantly relaxing comforted by the serene surroundings as well as the excellent service The Oberoi is known for. And to top it all, the food at Rim Nam has always been par excellence. It is in my opinion, one of the best Thai places in Bangalore.
Chef Tam, who is the head chef at Rim Nam hails from Isan, Thailand’s largest region, located on the Khorat Plateau, bordered by the Mekong River to the north and east, by Cambodia to the southeast and the Sankamphaeng range south of Nakhon Ratchasima. The food from Isan is spicy and pungent and features some of the Thailand’s spiciest salads. It also uses fresh herbs like mint, basil along with fermented fish (plah rah) to create a unique flavour of Isan. And if you don’t know yet, Isan is home to the famous Som Tam, that is where it originated.
Rim Nam is currently celebrating the culinary heritage of Isan in a special dinner only festival running till 31st May, 2016. I sampled a tasting of the dishes (small servings and almost everything on the ala-carte menu). They also do have a Chef Tam’s special Isan tasting meal available on special booking regularly.
We started the tasting with Tom som plakrob, a delightful Thai soup with tamarind and fish (there is a veg version available). The almost clear soup with a fantastic balance of spice and tamarind was a welcome drink that day considering Bangalore was almost overcast and the clouds were threatening to pour down
For the appetizers , Chef Tam served us Vietnamese inspired rice paper rolls with chicken, glass noodle and spring onions served with Thai Papaya salad and a killer sweet chilli sauce, I swear I wanted to bring that sauce back home.
As we progressed along to the salads we were duly warned about the spiciness and asked if we can handle the heat. My spice level tolerance is a good 8 on a scale of 1-10 and I told Chef Tam to bring it on, with the fact that Isan is known for some of the spiciest salads in Thailand the warning from Chef I was accepting that my tongue will be on fire but it wasn’t. However do keep something chilled to drink handy, my co-diner found it tough to handle the spice and was sweating profusely.
A platter of salads namely – Sup normai (spicy and sour bamboo shoot salad), Sup mhak mi (Spicy and sour raw jackfruit salad) , Yum hed (fresh mushroom and white fungus salad), Lab ped (Spicy roast duck salad with Thai herbs) were served. It is hard to pick a favorite from this because each salad shone that day. Sup normai, surprised me with its non bamboo shoot like flavour, spiciest of the lot this isn’t for the faint hearted. I could have happily eaten Yum hed for a complete meal with that white fungus shining like a star. The spicy roast duck Lab ped was succulent and rightly spiced. Even the Sup mhak mi was delicious inspite of the fact that I am not a jackfruit fan.
For the mains, we requested Chef to send mini tasting portions again and sampled – Meekarti moo (stir fried rice noodles with tomato and coconut sauce. Prawn/pork or vegetarian version available), Kaeng goum gai (Spicy Thai clear curry with herbs and chicken), Kaeng curry neu (Yellow curry with chicken, lamb or tenderloin).
The Meekarti moo, almost felt like a comforting prawn version of our seviyan back home and considering sea food is my first choice of protein, the dish really shone bright for me that day and the crunch that sprouts added to it made it just perfect. Kaeng goum gai, was a pleasant surprise since in my head reading chicken and clear curry I had kind of written it off without even tasting but the flavours were so intense and beautiful that I could have this stew like a soup or like a curry by the gallon. Kaeng curry neu, was closer to a Thai curry as we know it. Creamy, slightly spicy and rich there was a surprise element of potato in it along with tenderloin. Chef Tam told me that they often use potato along with meat in curries in Isan too just like us back home. The similarities in the food do go beyond the use of chillies
I have often said it before that I am not a fan of Asian desserts and I think the dessert that day re-inforced my belief. We were served Kao tom mud (Steamed sweet sticky rice with banana) which was probably far better than most Asian desserts that I have eaten but still it wasn’t for me, the coconut sorbet it was served with is a different matter all together. I actually asked for a second helping. Creamy and almost ice cream, the sorbet hits all the right spots.
If you like Thai food and can handle a decent spice level, pick up the phone now and reserve a table.
The Oberoi, MG Road Bangalore
May 20th to 31st, 2016. Dinner only.
Ala carte menu.
Average spend per person : INR 2,500 plus taxes
For reservations call 2558 5858