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Namo – A Chic Thai Experience

"Thai cooking is a paradox," writes Australian restaurateur David Thompson as he goes on to
explain that "Thai food uses robustly flavored ingredients--garlic, shrimp paste, chilies,
lemongrass--and yet when they are melded during cooking they arrive at a sophisticated and
often subtle elegance."
Thai cuisine is among the top and fastest popularizing cuisine in the world and when my editor,
Kannan Ashar, heard that a promising new Thai food restaurant has opened in the dark side,
she exclaimed ‘Finally!’ excitedly and roped me in in her quest to sample the new fare.
So, there we were, on a cold, windy winter evening at the newly opened ‘Namo’, located in the
TST east district of Kowloon, facing the harbor and adjacent to the popular Wooloomooloo.
Though Namo doesn’t offer outdoor seating at present, they are hopeful to throw open the
outdoor seating area within a couple of months timeframe.
The ambience and vibe of Namo is premium, the décor is asian and not particularly Thai.
Seating is well spaced out, providing adequate privacy to each table.


Namo, Empire Centre, East TST


Victoria Harbour View



The restaurant is a brainchild of Michelin starred Chef Alejandro Sanchez and renowned chef
Wijannarongk Kunchit. It claims to be the very first restaurant in Hong Kong to offer AVANT THAI cuisine
And we were all set to figure out the ‘Avant’ in the Avant Thai experience that it promises to
offer. We chose four dishes from the starters section, balancing the traditional dishes with the
more adventurous sounding ones.
We started with the Garlic Prawn Fritters. This is a no brainer dish with straightforward flavours
of lemongrass and garlic. It is guaranteed to taste good and yes, it does.

Garlic Prawn Fritters

‘Poh Plah’ or Royal Spring Rolls tasted great too, especially when eaten with the red curry paste
dip they come with.

Poh Plah { Royal Spring Rolls }
Then, came the ‘Tuk tuk Tofu’, soft Japanese tofu with a crispy coconut coating and spicy, red
chili jam. If you are a Tofu fan, like I am, you are bound to love this dish. For others, it could still
be worth a try as this is a street food recipe with gourmet ingredients!
Then, came the starter which I thought was quite an adventurous dish – Moule Mariners. This is
basically a bowl of Bouchot mussels steeped in chili-galangal coconut broth. I love bouchot
mussels and also coconut broth individually but somehow combining the French and the Thai in
this one just didn’t do it for me. It left me slightly confused and handling of small sized mussels
steeped in broth was not the easiest one. Still, thumbs up for putting a brave and original dish
as this on the menu.

Moule Mariners
I found the creative naming of dishes quite striking and clever. Dishes like ‘Tuk tuk tofu’,
reminiscent of omnipresent tuk-tuks in Thailand, ‘Poo-khet’, ‘Thai Two way’, ‘Thai threesome’
bring in the street and colloquial flavor and to this upscale restaurant with all its internationally
sourced ingredients and positioning. The dish names act as great conversation starters among
guests and make the mundane process of ordering zingy.
We were quite full with those appetizers and not to forget, heady cocktails. ‘Thai Rose’ and
‘Namo Tini’ were among the ones we tried. A bit on the sweeter side, but tasted pretty good
and ingredients like kaffir lime and thyme Basil lent an exotic twist to the drinks.

Exotic Cocktails put together by acclaimed sommelier, Kim Murphy


In the main course, Kannan went for the ‘Thai Threesome’ , eggplant stuffed with basil pesto,
smoked and roasted, swimming in red curry sauce. She liked it and she generally is also a fan of
eggplants.


Thai Threesome – stuffed eggplant in red curry sauce

We love our red and green curries when it comes to Thai Food. The Spring Garden Green Curry
had all the lightness and taste one desires.

Chicken was soft and tender in the Red Curry; fragrance of kaffir lime leaves and basil was
transportive.


Though quite full, we could not end the evening before some dessert. We nibbled on the Ginger
Crème Brule. Unfortunately, the ginger flavor did not work for me as a part of my sweet dish
but my editor seemed to like it.


Ginger Crème Brule


I was flying off to Phuket for a week long surge of Thai food that was to follow. So, a pretty
avant way of setting the mood for the Thai holiday, don’t you think?
Do share with us what you thought of this new Thai restaurant when you pay it a visit.
For Reservations, contact - Namo Restaurant, G18, Empire Centre, 68 Mody Road, Tsim Sha
Tsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong; Tel: 2739 1133