The island’s latest fine-dining destination puts a creative spin on local ingredients.
To enter the new fine-dining restaurant at InterContinental Phuket Resort, you must pass between tall walls covered in a disco-ball mosaic, similar to the enclosures that separate Thai temples from the secular world. The glittering passage leads you to the wing-roofed, all-white Sawan Pavilion, which calls to mind the ethereal Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai.
Might Hom be a temple to fermentation? The moment you’re greeted with a welcome bite and drink, the team sets out to extol fermentation’s ability to elevate flavors. And throughout the 10-course tasting menu it is reiterated that each dish includes some element of fermentation, whether as a marinade, in garum, or delicately infused in oils. The team approaches this culinary alchemy with some seriousness.
But chef Ricardo Nunes, with his Michelin-starred background, also revels in playful surprises. Three of the dishes are delectable morsels that you eat with your hands, in a delightful sub- version of fine-dining protocols. There’s a slow-cooked quail egg pickled in cascara kombucha; slivered razor clams barely poached in a citrus broth atop a sourdough cracker crisped in chicken fat; and sublime crab rissole that nods to the more humble rissóis served at bars in Nunes’s hometown of Lisbon.
Never mind if you can’t keep track of all the fermentation sources (pandan vinegar, red-bean miso, lacto-fermented tea leaves) at play here. What commands attention are the extraordinary combinations and the meticulous use of local ingredients—a gentle reminder that Hom is, at its core, a Thai restaurant. One course features smoked caviar (from a sturgeon farm in Hua Hin) nestled in a young coconut shell that you scoop up with flecks of makrut lime leaves and salted macadamia cream. It evokes the essence of an ancient dip known as lon, yet emerges as a truly novel creation.
Nunes’s commitment to locavorism shines particularly brightly in Duck & Greens. The dish presents an array of the season’s freshest vegetables: wing-bean, okra, ridge gourd, and long bean, likely procured from a roadside vendor. The greens, paired with the succulent, slow-cooked local duck, are pulled to- gether by a puree of sataw “stink beans.” Unexpected but delicious, it’s Phuket on a plate.
This article originally appeared in the August/September 2023 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Ferment Believers”).