The ticket demand is so high at Next Restaurant, businesses blocked employees from logging on to their website. Riots and riots of prospective diners refreshing the Next website until they can’t refresh anymore. Now dubbed by one facebooker as the term “nexting.”
Nexting(v)- To Continuously refresh a website until one breaks it
After 2 days of staring at this mesmerizing red website background, it started to mean more than just a meal. Arriving at Next was like reaching the end of a rainbow. Or in reality, defeating the other 78,000 organic users in a trigger clicking marathon.
The struggling community of Next Facebook followers kept everyone amused throughout the entire process. Teasing, laughing and joking to pass the times. Just for the sake of another mouse-clicking rush, I sort of wish Next would restructure their restaurant every month.
The first course sets you in the streets of Thailand to munch on small bites over a newspaper tablecloth while sipping on a carrot juice cocktail. Traditional Chinese style steamed Baos stuffed with Beach Mushrooms and green curry. Grilled bananas topped with garlic, cilantro blooms, red chilis and pickeled shallots. Crispy fried shrimp and prawn cakes. Sauteed fermented pork sausage. To finish it, chilled sweet shrimp with mint, garlic and bird chilis. Nothing too outrageous here. All the bites held to the traditions, but kept the tone down from the usual spicy notes of Thai cuisine. A great experience, and fully flavorful beginning.
The take on a Hot and sour soup was greatly appreciated. Such a complex yet clean and subtle broth was perfectly executed and poured over the bowl of pork belly, mushrooms, kefir lime and tomato.
While waiting for the next dish, basmati rice was served with the following accoutrements.
A deglazing with Chili, garlic and shallots (favorite sauce of the meal)
Duck egg with green mango and white radish
Pickled fruits and vegetables with basil
The wild Louisiana Catfish was soon presented at the table in a platter perched over a hot ember. A caramel sauce added savory elements to the dish, with a light contrast coming from the celery and coriander root.
Satiated from the Catfish course, there were three more servings to go.
Now the pot roast resembling braised beef cheek curry came out. So fragile from the braising, it could be cut with a spoon. After trying this coconut peanut curry, I started to realize why the Chef was so timid with the heat. There are so many flavors brought forward. Masking these elements with heat would also ruin the experience coming from the proceeding courses.
A chilled palette cleansing clear juice shot of watermelon and lemongrass set us up for the remaining desserts.
In one half of our individual coconuts, we found liquid nitrogen elements of corn, licorice and egg. I couldn’t quite figure out what the sour green caviar shaped gels were, but they really brought this course together. In the other half was a coconut sorbet. Each element in the first half was to be eaten by itself, then the coconut sorbet would instantly clear the palette. Though not a traditional dessert, it was truly a highlight of the experience.
For the last dessert, we received a frozen dragonfruit with rose syrup. A cap to end to the glutinous trip to Thailand.
While waiting for our valet to arrive, one last item was offered. A sweet and heavy Rooibos Chai tea served in a plastic baggy, reminding me that I was already content 3 courses ago. A truck dolly would’ve been a decent gesture to help me to the car, better yet a rickshaw for authenticity. Worth the two days of “nexting”? Certainly no regrets on this side of the table.