Well, I don’t know where to begin praising this exceptional restaurant and its charming young head chef… (whom I had no idea was the chef until he told us at the end of our meal. He’d been serving us personally!! :O) tucked away behind this white colonial building (the Ping Nakara Hotel) lies the Nakara Jardin Café. Established around November 2012, by a graduate of the Cordon Bleu cooking school, this café brings together beautiful vistas of the River Ping and beautifully crafted gourmet dishes that make a trip here so memorable.
It was quite a hot day (as is every day in Thailand! How I miss it), and all the cycling around the temples and inner city square warranted something refreshing yet and with a good bit of protein to chomp down on… yes- this description isn’t the most eloquent but I am simply channelling the thoughts emerging from my cortex (ANIMAL BRAIN) at the time.
*Neo-Cortex may now regain centre stage.*
So I the first thing I ordered was a Roast Duck Breast Salad. It comprised of beautifully cooked and lightly seasoned slices of duck which lay seductively on a bed of locally grown rocket and some scattered segments of locally sourced Thai oranges- which taste more amazing than a combination of the freshest clementines, satsumas, and mandarins you’d find across the globe in our European supermarkets. (I ate most of the orange bits before I realised I wanted to blog about this- this should be testament enough for you to get over there in your next planned travels!) The dressing was a deliciously balanced vinaigrette that wove these three simple ingredients into a magic carpet, I’m talking a whole new world kind of palate pleasing.
FUN FACT: The Queen of Thailand is big on encouraging local produce (and local handicrafts), so she should… it’s delicious!
The next thing(s) I sampled were our Chef’s pasta dishes. Freshly made, freshly sourced, simple seasonings – you get the picture… if not, here’s one below. Chef Pom’s very own arrabiata angel hair pasta, with black-pepper-buttered king prawns. A little curled leaf parsley, and parmigiano- absolutely delicious. Fresh seafood really does make all the difference- they were succulent, and held their own flavour among an array of complementary flavours. It’s like they all held hands and decided to dance around the plate in a circle – from the first bite to the last.
I wandered into the small room where I saw the dessert case- full of geometric constructions and immaculately assembled layers. They all looked so delicious but I narrowed our samplings down to three: The first a blueberry mousse cheesecake bombe. Now, at hotels and brunches and high teas I have come across SO MANY beautifully presented desserts that taste awful… not Nakara’s. They delivered on both looks and taste.
The cheesecake was light, laced with ribbons of blueberries and beautifully glazed on top. It had a pistachio crumb crust in a delightful halo around it. It’s like he understood the physical structure of a blueberry – round and crisp when you bit into it- and created these components and its structure around said properties.
The second: an Earl Grey and Chocolate Mousse *WINNER!!!*
THIS WAS HANDS DOWN MY FAVOURITE! Layers of earl grey tea sponge encased in a rich chocolate mousse that was so airy – like a soufflé made of chocolatey snow. Certainly not a combination I’d have thought to try out, but this was executed to absolute perfection. The slight bitterness of the tea cake balanced the sweetness of the mousse, enhancing the rich dark and velvety cocoa that dominated my tastebuds.
The third: A Raspberry mousse cake… *TECHNICAL SKILLS WINNER*
I mean. Just look at it! Layered like it was made with a laser. The bottom layer consisted of circles of raspberry sponge, topped with another thick layer of mousse. The top layer was a slick, tart coulis kind of thing that was the perfect consistency to complement the soft mousse in its air-whipped assemblage, and the “holepunched sponge” that wrapped around the base of the layers of loveliness added just the right amount of substance without imbalancing the individual textures and the overall pillow-y theme the chef was clearly channelling when making it. (Many such desserts tend to be gelatinous, rubbery, and generally off putting when you take a bite but this was just- WONDERFUL~!)
Innovation : 5/5
Free brain anatomy lessons and aladdin metaphors on account of awesome food? A 5/5!