I went to Next a while back, like back in September. I’ve had these pictures on my iphone for a while but was too lazy to post them until now, ironically before finals when I should be worried about failing my classes.
The downside to posting these pictures so late is that my memory of the food is not as sharp as they were right after the meal, oh well. I will try to post more often as I went to Tru yesterday and took pictures.
In addition to not remembering the food as vibrantly, I also had a cold the night I went, so I feel like my tastebuds were not as sharp.
When I first got my tickets, I have to say I was a little apprehensive. Could a western restaurant really elevate Thai food for me? Apparently the answer is ‘yes’. This was definitely one of my best experiences with Thai food. Not in the sense of how authentic it was or anything like that, but in the way the food was elevated. I can say that I’m not very fond of going to fancy Chinese restaurants, at least in the States. It’s because my conception of Chinese food is that it’s supposed to be good tasting and cheap, with the emphasis on the cheap. It’s a meal where the food is the focus and one eats it to have a good meal and fill up. It’s not really an elevated dining experience. However, the Tour of Thailand tasting menu definitely elevated Thai food.
When we first say down and looked a round, I was a little perplexed as to why some tables had yellow table cloths, but ours was lined with Thai newspapers. Apparently, this was to evoke the sorts of food that was eaten on the streets.
The first course was a roasted banana, prawn cake, sweet shrimp and garlic, fermented sausage, and steamed bun. Since I also got the nonalcoholic beverage pairing, this was paired with chrysanthemum, lemongrass, and lychee drink. The drink was super tasty. I vaguely remember really enjoying the bananas. The buns were good but nothing that impressive; the shrimp unmemorable (at this point), and the prawn cakes were a bit too crunchy for me. But as you can see, the presentation was quite pretty.
This next dish was Next’s take on Tom Yum.
This was one of my favorite dishes. I’m not sure if it was my favorite because I was sick, but it was a really good dish to eat while sick. This was hor and sour broth, pork belly, tomato, ginger. You can’t see the pork belly but it’s underneath the pretty garnishings. They really got the broth spot on. The hot and sour was really balanced and the pork belly was salted just right.
The next course was a sauce course. We were served three different sauces that were supposed to be eaten with the rice. They really were quite good. Probably the most interesting one was the fish sauce one, although I did like the yellow one. The sauces were a chili, shallot, garlic sauce, a salted duck egg, green mango, white radish sauce, and small dish of pickles. I believe the orangish liquid was the fish sauce and the brown stuff was a bean paste. They were a little on the salty side for me, but maybe that’s why they were pretty good with rice.
This was the catfish, caramel sauce, celery, coriander root. I can’t really say too much about this other than I remember the fish being really well cooked. I feel like I must always give a restaurant credit for getting the fish right because I feel like fish is really easy to mess up. It can be easily overcooked or undercooked.
Next up was a really lovely beef curry. This was beef cheek, curry, peanut, nutmeg, and kaffir lime. I think the lime was a really nice touch. The lime really brought out the flavors in the curry. It also helped that the beef cheek was super tender.
The beef curry was the last of the savory dishes. There was a palate cleanser of watermelon and lemongrass in between which I don’t have a picture of since it was just juice.
The dessert was really a lot of fun. The main dessert course was coconut, corn, egg, and licorice.
This was a super yummy dessert. The fact that it was layered made it like an adventure with a very pleasant surprise at the end. I believe there was coconut and licorice jelly at the very bottom of the coconut. Very very yummy. I think Wooju said this was his favorite.