As a rule, I don’t enjoy wading through the crowds that parade around fancy Siam Paragon Shopping Mall. I go there for one thing only and as I climb towards the upper floors of the building, I smile because I smell something wonderful: the perfume of aromatic beef broth scenting the rarefied air.
My destination is Nuer Koo at the cosy wooden patio on the mall’s fourth floor. The restaurant’s name means ‘soul mate’ in Thai, a phrase used mostly in the context of love, which is apposite because for me food is all about romance.
Nuer Koo is a beef noodle joint operated by the seven siblings of the Sarasin family, who gave it that name because, in addition to its figurative meaning, it also translates as “beef match.” Here you pair beef broth with a rice or noodle dish of your choice.
The restaurant is a notch or two above similar outlets in terms of value because it uses high-quality sirloin, rib eye, Kobe and Wagyu beef, cuts that have a huge positive impact on the pièce de résistance – the broth – which is pretty miraculous even without any seasoning.
Bob, my muse when it comes to Thai food, introduced me to this delight and like him I tend to order the broth and noodles in separate bowls. I get flat, soft noodles and a swimming pool of delicious broth with lean pieces of beef floating in it.
The Karen chilli vinegar (using chillies grown in the hills of northern Thailand) plays an important role in the taste. In fact, I don’t want anything else to jazz up the broth. This fragrant, smoky addition enhances every mouthful, for which I carefully combine a little bit of everything… a piece of sirloin, some flat noodles, and some broth. The tenderness of the thin-sliced sirloin and the softness of the noodles, coupled with the richness of the broth, work on the palate like a symphony.
As a ‘winter’ comfort food in Thailand, it is hard to beat and best shared with that someone special.
Nuer Koo is located at the fourth floor of the Siam Paragon Mall – nearer to the fountain end rather than the temple end. It also serves delicious appetizers such as gouy chai todd (fried stuffed chive dumplings) and Phuket-style fish balls.