'Klerm' may sound like some kind of mutant crustacean, but it is in fact a Thai phrase meaning 'enjoying life through food'. This jovial ethos is apparent from the moment you walk into Taikoo Li North’s latest Thai opening (from the same people behind the late Cacha Cacha), where the cheerful staff and colourful cocktail menu make for a valiant rebuff against the slightly sterile, dark setting of a basement shopping mall. We plump for the fruity papaya chilli sling (88RMB) and a wild berry and passion fruit caipiroska (88RMB), which has a tangy vodka kick.
The menu features dishes hailing specifically from Chiang Mai – think lime, chilli and seafood, as well as puckeringly fresh papaya salads. The Yum Ma Meong Puu Nim (118RMB), a green mango salad with deep-fried soft-shell crab, is a revelation: tender crab falls apart on the tongue, gently supported by a subtle crunch from the frying and the fruit. A banana leaf-wrapped snapper fish (158RMB) is perfectly grilled and balanced by a lemongrass sauce.
When it comes to Thai classics, however, Klerm’s offerings are notably outshone by the menu’s more imaginative plates. The pad thai is meek; the noodles are limp and claggy, and the green curry is mostly watery.
Klerm may be ambitiously priced, but if you’re after a decent Thai meal to round off a day of shopping, you could do far worse.
Dinner and drinks for two: 500RMB.