I am always struck by absolute disbelief when I step into the serene restaurant by the water – ‘Rim Naam’. Considering The Oberoi is located on the bustling M.G.Road, this oasis of beauty and calm is a treat for the senses. Cross over the plush gardens, step into the faux rock cave and gently tip toe your way over the bridge into a wooden structure reminiscent of river restaurants in Thailand. Why, the little gurgling waterfall and the spectacular Koi in the water body surrounding it, will definitely make you feel that way. Rim Naam has been synonymous with fine dining in Bangalore – there is no other place that offers such an enchanting ambience coupled with equally enchanting food. The restaurant has a new mistress of Spice all the way from the Isaan province in Thailand. If that’s not cause for celebration, I don’t know what is?!
Isaan forms the Northeastern region of Thailand and is known for its spicy and pungent fare. Seasoned with fresh herbs and fermented fish (plah rah), featuring some of Thailand’s spiciest salads, Isaan is home to the famous Som Tam, Gai Larb and Chiang Mai Sausages. And if you’re a fan of sticky rice, you should know that it’s the traditional accompaniment in Isaan, much preferred over Jasmine rice. Chili pastes known as ‘jaew’ are a combination of spicy chilies, garlic, salt, pla ra and lime juice and act as an instant mood lifter for most dishes here!
Rim Naam has introduced a Chef’s Tasting Menu featuring some of Chef Tham’s signature dishes. Chef Tham has cherry picked dishes that offer her an opportunity to tweak them with her unique sensibilities, while still showcasing the cuisine she knows and loves. The result is a tongue-tickling journey through Isaan. Well worth a languorous lunch … or dinner.
Order a sweet and soothing drink to keep you company throughout the meal. You will keep going back to it between bites of the starter or curry with a renewed sense of gratitude. The Lemongrass Pandan Cooler does a neat job of it.
The tasting menu starts with an Appetizer Platter. The vegetarians can savour Som Tam, Tod mon kao phad (deep fried corn patties with sweet chilli sauce) and Hed phad prik thai dum (mushrooms in a garlic and pepper sauce). The non-vegetarians while still getting to feast on the Som Tam (raw papaya, peanuts and cherry tomato in a spicy and tangy dressing) also get to relish the most delectable Soft shell Crab in a Garlic Pepper sauce. The Lemongrass flavored minced chicken patty on a sugarcane skewer, takes the appetizer platter to a whole new level of scrumptious!
A Tom sep pak re kai re koong, might be just what the doctor ordered to clear out the sniffles! A clear soup with vegetables, chicken or prawns – this one makes use of jaew to give it the customary sinus busting abilities. Chomp down on the crispy spring roll to add another layer of fun to your spice journey.
For main course you have a choice of Tofu, Fish or Roast Duck. This is served with Phad Pak ruam (vegetables tossed with soy and garlic) and Fried Rice. Now this is no ordinary Fried Rice. Chef Tham has boosted its desirability quotient by treating the fried rice to a unique spice paste. The result is mouthwateringly delicious. I ordered the Duck Red Curry and was blown away by how beautifully the duck was cooked. The fatty meat glistens in a fiery red curry made infinitely interesting with … red grapes! Creamy and decadent – this one is definitely an indulgence.
The lighter, though no less competent contender, is the Pla neung manao (Steamed fish in a lime and coriander sauce). If you want to experience absolutely fresh flavours that dance on your palate, I suggest taking a bite of this. They could even promote this as a dieters special and get brownie points from the health conscious.
Thai desserts. Chinese desserts. Southeast Asian Desserts. I have always lamented the lack of creativity here and this menu ended no differently. There is choice between Sangkhaya Maprow orn (Lemongrass and pandan falvoured custard) and the omnipresent Tab Tim Krob (jellied water chestnut with sweetened coconut milk). The former had a distinctly eggy taste to it and found no favors with me but the latter, though clichéd, was a pleasant end to the meal with its cool, soothing flavors.
Rim Naam is fabulous. It always has been and it’s great to see that the new mistress of spice, is treating it with the respect it deserves. Here’s to many more spectacular meals at one of my favorite places in the city. Gin Khao!
37-39, MG Road, Bangalore 560001.
+91 80 25585858
Cost : INR 3250/++ for the Chef’s tasting menu. They levy no service charge.