Aaharn, not typical Thai
14 Mar 2019
The first thing that struck us when we arrived at Aaharn’s bustling downstairs bar, was the upbeat vibe and the picturesque outlook of the courtyard at Tai Kwun. I made a note to return for a few cocktails with friends.
The energy changed completely when we went upstairs to the dining room. It was all mood lighting, Zen-like peace with hushed tones of romance-- a great atmosphere for special occasions.
Did not disappoint
With Thai cuisine aficionado, chef David Thompson, we knew to expect authentic flavours and his translation of the balance of spicy, bitter, sour, sweet and salty, in every dish. We also knew this would not be your typical Thai.
The eight-course wine-paired tasting menu kicked off with an intense amuse bouche, that upon eating we thought might be too much, was in hindsight an excellent start setting the right tone for the rest of the meal.
One dish that we would have happily had more of was the, Pork and prawn with ginger and galangal on betel leaves. Featuring complex, layered flavours and a wonderful bitter finish. I also liked this dish as a fan of betel leaf and its health benefits.
The highlight for us were the curries. The chicken curry from the set and the added on signature lobster curry — divine. The gravy was dense with a smooth texture, packing a well balanced punch, complemented by pieces of fresh coconut. We were particularly impressed that despite it being a full flavoured curry it did not overwhelm the delicate and sweet taste of the delicious crustacean.
Unexpected and modern
The two desserts: Mango sticky rice and Taro pudding with custard apple, simmered in coconut cream were a delightful surprise, as we weren’t expecting too much from this course. The taro in particular received high praise, so soft and smooth; a unique dish that is certainly hard to find elsewhere in Hong Kong.
While the other dishes we tried satisfied, we found the flavours quite safe, with a lack of boldness or spice, which was an unexpected disappointment as chilli fans. It does however, make the food accessible for those that can’t take the heat.
Overall we found the food to be in-between creative and comfort Thai food. To avoid disappointment it is best to go with no expectations, this is David Thompson’s elevated, some say sophisticated, take on Thai food, and sometimes, mostly in fact, it will be vastly different Thai food to what you have eaten elsewhere.
Personally, I think the restaurant will hold high appeal for diners in their 30s and 40s, who want fine-dining quality cuisine, with great service, but in a much more casual setting.
Special thanks to Karen Wong