Aroi Mak Mak Part Two: Nuer Koo

Note: S$1 = Bt22~25

You can buy a bowl of beef noodles on many Bangkok street corners for Bt30 or less. At Nuer Koo, the latest restaurant to open in Siam Paragon’s food zone, you pay Bt950. But this is Siam Paragon, after all, and the noodle shop is owned and run by the offspring of three prominent (as in “wealthy”) families – Pangsrivongse, Sarasin and Limatibul.

Nuer Koo is Thai for “soul mate” and here it has the added fun of playing with the word for beef. In its only nod to a sustainable economy, the restaurant has minimalist decor with wooden tables and floors.

The BF heard about this place and insisted on trying it out when we were in Bangkok a few months ago so was it worth the hype? Here goes.

Our starter was a complete waste of money – cost us about S$6 for this packet of pork rind cracklings that taste like nothing and was so hard neither of us actually had a good bite of this. We experimented with dropping this into our broth to see if it would soften, but no go.

PS: I packed this to go so I could feed my Tuppy some and he hated it.

A hundred grams of Kobe beef sliced into a bowl of beef stock costs Bt950. A dish of rice noodles is Bt25 and Japanese steamed rice Bt40, served separately to get the real taste of premium beef.

Some other things on the menu: Yentafo – noodle soup with red-bean paste, fish balls, squid, veggies and fried wontons – goes for Bt145. Phuket-style steamed fish balls are Bt120, deep-fried Chinese chive cakes Bt80, deep-fried tofu skin Bt120, steamed tofu with minced pork also Bt120 and crispy seaweed Bt45.

The BF went for wagyu (Bt550) in beef broth with slim noodles (Bt25).

The manager was extremely helpful with our orders. He saw that we weren’t local and recommended tweaks to what we initially ordered so we could enjoy our meal better. He asked if we preferred sweet or saltish broth, found out if we liked chewy or tender meat, and suggested the types of noodles that would go best with our broth.

The soup is slightly herby in a good way and makes you feel like your grandma made you the meal. There’s a wholesome and hearty completeness to it and leaves a lip smacking aftertaste.

We both liked my rib better as compared to his wagyu which is strangely surprising. We’re both huge beef lovers and had assumed the wagyu would outperform the S$15 rib meat. The wagyu was definitely some cheap cut – explains the S$20 price tag – which had a little bit of stale blood taste and was slightly chewy.

I got the under rib (Bt350) in beef broth with slim noodles (Bt25).

Noodles were too floury for my liking and I thought it could have been improved with a handful of sprouts just for the crunch. The soup with my noodles were on the almost too sweet side, but provided a perfect contrast to the beef broth which became saltier the more we drank it. (Were we supposed to drink the broth I wonder?)

My under rib was tender beyond belief – it was into toothless old people being able to eat this category. The best way I can describe this is to compare it to Yoshinoya but way way way softer and tastier.

There’s a right amount of beefiness, doesn’t overpower or be outshined by its broth or when eaten as a mouthful with noodles.

I tried a little bit of the chilli which nearly killed me but the BF says its fantastic. Thai Iced Teas in this place are nothing special too, same old sweet awesome deliciousness.

Kind of regret not going for the Kobe but I felt bad spending Bt950 on a bowl of simple beef noodles. But hey, if Kobe would kill your wallet, you can have your noodles with Australian wagyu which the BF had and still get that same silky marbling and melt-in-the-mouth tenderness. There’s also rib eye for Bt450 and shoulder for Bt235.

Aficionados of Bt30 beef noodles might at least try to scrape together Bt80 for a bowl of meatballs in a traditional broth that tastes meaty enough.

Even better, for a mere Bt165 you can get the Beef Bone Broth, one of Suraparp’s father’s recipes. It’s light, clear and aromatic.

The menu includes rice topped with beef as well – shoulder for Bt255, rib eye for Bt470, wagyu for Bt570 and Kobe (becoming no less expensive) for Bt970.

Or shun the beef altogether and have the Pork Clear Noodle Soup with minced and sliced pork, liver, heart and innards. It’s only Bt85. The version with tender Kurobuta pork is a less modest Bt125.

We’re already planning to return to Nuer Koo for our upcoming trip. This place is definitely worth a try. Nuer Koo is on the fourth floor of Siam Paragon and is open daily from 11am to 9.30pm.

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