An Australian Is Running The Best Restaurant In Asia - And It's In Bangkok

Australian-born chef David Thompson looks at shrimp paste in a Bangkok market. Photo: Simon Thomsen

Nahm restaurant in Bangkok, run by expat Australian chef David Thompson, has been declared the best restaurant in Asia by an influential industry magazine.

Nahm rose three places from last year to top UK-based Restaurant Magazine’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014, announced in Singapore on Monday. It pipped 2013’s winner, Narisawa, in Tokyo, now at No. 2, with Gaggan, an Indian restaurant in Bangkok, taking 3rd place.

Thompson, an expert in Thai food, established his reputation in Sydney in the 1990s with restaurants such as Darley St Thai and Sailor’s Thai. He’s the author of Thai Food, a large, hot pink book considered the bible on Siamese cuisine.

Thompson went on to open his first nahm in London in 2001, and it became the first Thai restaurant to receive a Michelin star, but the chef closed it lain 2012 to focus on his Bangkok outpost, which he opened at the Metropolitan Hotel in 2010.

Nahm quickly established itself as a must-eat destination wfor its focus on traditional Thai cuisine that, at times, is searingly hot. Thompson elevates the country’s peasant dishes, reinterpreting them in a more fine dining context, yet the flavours remain authentic – at times confrontingly so. And for a hotel restaurant, it’s extremely good value, with a multi-course dinner costing less than A$70 per person.

Nahm is also ranked 32 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

Sydney chef Tetsuya Wakuda also made the Asia’s 50 Best list, which does not include Australia, with his Singapore restaurant, Waku Ghin, ranked 7th.

Scottish-born Will Meyrick, former chef at Jimmy Liks in Sydney, also made the list with his Bali restaurant, Sarong, at 47.

Not surprisingly, China topped with Asia’s 50 Best with 16 listings, many from Hong Kong, followed by 10 from Japan and eight from Singapore, which has built an impressive reputation as a gastronomic hub.

The Tippling Club in Singapore run by chef Ryan Clift and Australian-born restaurant manager Marcus Boyle, made its debut on the 50 best at 23, while Janice Wong, owner of 2am Dessert Bar in Singapore was named Best Pastry Chef.

The full Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is here.

Details for Nahm are here.

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