Samui Wining & Dining
Equally Exciting

Great kitchens produce great food whether it’s international or Thai cuisine.

 

Equally ExcitingH Bistro at Hansar Samui Resort in Bophut has quickly gained an enviable reputation for excellence since opening last year. Executive Chef Stephen Jean Dion has a very impressive résumé and his brigade of Thai chefs has been hand-picked from some of the best restaurants in the country. Their international menu is packed full of the world’s finest produce including Alaskan salmon and King crabs, Maine lobster, foie gras, Wagyu beef, Australian lamb and Kurabutta pork from Japan. And just as much thought and care has gone into the preparation and presentation of their Thai menu. We caught up with Chef Stephen and General Manager Indra Budiman to find out what makes their Thai dishes just as equally exciting.

 

JP: First of all Indra can you tell us about the resort and the restaurant please.

IB: Hansar is a name taken from the ancient Sanskrit language and translates to mean ‘happiness and joy’. The concept and philosophy of Hansar Samui is to deliver an experience to each guest that is happy, memorable and enjoyable. We have 74 beachfront rooms and we are located at the far end of Fisherman’s Village in Bophut. Each of the rooms has a seaview, we have an elevated Chill Lounge, a long pool bar and H Bistro is open on three sides right beside the beach. There’re state of the art kitchens that guests can see into and all the tables in the restaurant overlook the ocean.

 

JP: Can you tell us a little about your background please chef?

SJD: I was born and brought up in Montreal, Canada and I developed my craft at one of the most famous restaurants in Quebec, Les Halles. Later I travelled throughout South-east Asia and then took up the position of Chef de Cuisine at Ma Maison Restaurant in Bangkok. I also spent five years at Lebua State Tower in the capital, first as Chef de Cuisine at the famous Sirocco restaurant on the 63rd floor - it’s the world’s highest al fresco restaurant and has incredible views across the city. And then I was promoted to Executive Chef of the hotel, it has a number of restaurants throughout the building. In between my posts in Bangkok I had the wonderful opportunity to be the Private Chef to His Majesty the King of Jordan and spent two years cooking for him, his family and the many visiting dignitaries.

 

JP: What were your thought processes when compiling your Thai menu Chef?

SJD: I had a clear picture in my mind about the type and style of Thai cuisine that I wanted to showcase. And for that I needed a great team around me. After seven years in the capital I had lots of contacts and knew all about the leading chefs in the city. My Executive Sous Chef was working for a good friend of mine in Bangkok and he recommended him to me as the perfect person for the position. Chef Sumit has an incredible understanding of modern food and has brought his knowledge of traditional Thai recipes and married them with contemporary cooking techniques. I have a brigade of 13 in the kitchens and they all have proven track records. Several of them have come from the landmark Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok which works in partnership with the renowned Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School and Academy of World Cuisines.

 

JP: Tell us about your approach to cooking Thai food.

SJD: You have to start with the very best quality ingredients to create a fantastic end product. And all the authentic flavours have to be there. However by using modern cooking techniques you can enhance the experience. For instance, we cook the lamb at 58° for 48 hours and in a way that it retains all of the juices and flavours. Cuts of beef or say ribs are marinated for several days which gives a softer texture, maximum juiciness and a great taste with every bite. We also spend a lot of time experimenting and a new dish on the menu can take several months to develop to the stage where we are wholly satisfied that it’s perfect and that everyone understands each part of the process. In addition, we have an excellent wine cellar and we always have it in mind that each dish must have an accompanying wine that completes it rather is simply an add on. Sometimes we taste a lot of wines with new creations but purely in the interests of culinary research!

 

JP: Indra, you’ve been in Thailand for over a year now, what are your thoughts on the Thai cuisine at H Bistro?

IB: I’m from Indonesia and have worked in 5-star hotels in Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia and my home country. And fortunately, given my job, I love food and have worked with some brilliant chefs over the years. I had of course tasted Thai dishes in other countries but since arriving here I’ve found out so much more about the regional variations in Thailand. And the unique combinations of spicy, salty, sweet and sour tastes that make Thai cuisine so different from other Asian styles. I’m very pleased that Chef Stephen and the team have brought all of those together and that they take so much time and care over every single dish. We have quite a number of high-profile personalities who visit the restaurant, I’ll respect their privacy and not mention them by name, and they are used to eating in the world’s best restaurants. It tells me that we are doing a great job when they go out of their way to book a table with us. And yes, they do eat from the same menu as everyone else. As far as we’re concerned everyone is equally important and deserving of our very best efforts.

 

JP: Finally Chef, can you make a couple of recommendations for us please?

SJD: Try our Pla goong; it’s a spicy prawn salad with lemongrass, to start with. And I love our interpretation of Gaeng phet pet yang a red curry with roast duck breast. We have more than a dozen wines by the glass and hundreds of bottles in our cellar and our Food & Beverage team will happily suggest the perfect match for all of your choices. As for where to sit, it doesn’t matter, all of our tables overlook the beach and the ocean.

 

Johnny Paterson

 


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