Rating: 6 / 10
Nimman has it's good sides. Despite being hipster heavy, there are some curious little restaurants and bars hidden in the alleys. Tong Tem Toh draws crowds all day long, lying heavy up top on tripadvisor lists and any foodie blog to the city. After managing to avoid it for 20 years I decided to cave in and see what all the fuss was about after visiting the hospital nearby.
I had to wait in line for a while which is usually a good indicator, was shown to my table by a kind soul and given a menu.
If extra points are given for interiors, then this teak-heavy bonanza would score high. However i'll happily sit on a plastic stool by a drain if the food is legit. In this case it was a matter of style over substance.
My order of Chiang Mai sausages was more like a Namibian desert floor. Achingly dry and devoid of flavour. I've eaten a few in my life and this ranked on the bottom rung. The Kaeng Hang Lay was greasy and also lacking any substantial depth. It just tasted fatty but with no umami or richness to pull you in.
The prices here are a tad over the average, largely due to the truckloads of tourists who pass through every day, but in my opinion better food can be had elsewhere. I admit I could quite possibly have ordered the wrong dishes on the menu, and their strengths lie in different fields, but when time is limited most restaurants don't get a second chance. Themz be the roolz.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored in the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"