Everybody loves Thai – that’s a given. But being in love is sometimes hard in Warsaw. How many of these ridiculous restobar things offer something they claim to be Thai? And how many of them actually end up serving anything that’s remotely authentic. Even many of Warsaw’s dedicated Thai restaurants can’t get it right: just look at Silk & Spicy.
In the shape of Naam Thai, however, the city has a jewel. You wouldn’t necessarily think so, for Naam likes pretty much standard: anonymous, modern décor at the foot of a newish residential development. But there’s something different about it: it’s Sunday evening, and while the city center’s restaurants lie empty Naam, on the borderlands of Saska, is heaving. The reason, though, soon becomes apparent.
Bangkok-born Chanunkan Duangkumma is the real deal. There is no skimping in spices, no shortcuts on authenticity. In fact, the first thing my GF says on tasting the Tom Kha Gi is, “my God, I’ve not had anything like this since I visited Thailand.” And gorgeous it is: a creamy coconut soup with chicken and lime leaves.
Unbelievably so, she’s drawn the short straw. I’ve ordered Guai Tiaw Pet, a duck soup based on the chef’s secret family recipe. It is everything you want in a Thai soup, full of depth, flavor and exciting twists. I make a pig’s ear of the table by dropping half my noodles on it, but it doesn’t change anything: I love this.
And the mains are winners as well. For the GF, Pad Ka Krow, a chicken stir fry with chili, garlic and oyster sauce. It’s not the most photogenic dish, but does that really matter when the tastes are this good. Myself, I’m boring, and go for a standard red beef curry. But there is nothing standard about the taste – instead, it’s a firework of different thrills. So far, it’s all too good to be true. Maybe it’ll go wrong with desert, I think.
It doesn’t. We share mango sorbet with sticky rice and cream, and not one grain of rice goes untouched. This has been a fantastic journey to Thailand, and rather cheaper than a return ticket – the price, just short of the zł. 150 mark. At those prices, I might as well go back tomorrow. Thinking about it, that’s not a bad idea – after all, there’s some stir-fried squid I need to try.
Naam Thai ul. Saska 16, facebook