Samui Wining & Dining
Hip Hip Hooray

The new Chill@HIP Restaurant at Punnpreeda Hip Resort Samui
blends the best of Thai and Western dishes in a beautiful beachside setting
.

 

Hip Hip HoorayIt’s a risky business. Whenever the owner of a restaurant makes changes that they think will be better for the restaurant, there’s the always a chance of regular customers not liking the new style, and drifting off to eat elsewhere. So when it’s done, it has to be done properly, with expert input from staff, management and especially the chef, to make sure the right note is hit all along the board.

 

One place which has managed this tricky transition recently is Chill@HIP Restaurant and Beach Bar at Punnpreeda Hip Resort Samui, on the beach in Bang Rak. Punnpreeda is one of the premier resorts in Bang Rak, mixing relaxing in luxury rooms with dining on the beach with organising watersports activities for those who feel adventurous. It’s been open for five years and has quickly grown in success and reputation, with its ‘one of a kind HIP hospitality’ and its beachfront swimming pool. And it’s just changed its restaurant (formerly called Daaraadat) to adapt to what customers were saying they wanted.

 

It now offers an innovative menu with a well thought-out mixture of Thai and Western food. There are several soups of the day and daily specials, with favourite dishes such as carbonara and lasagne, and ‘Special Chill@HIP’ plates offering even more choices, including Australian beef rib-eye, lamb rack and white snapper fillet. But if you’re needing even more inspiration, there’s a section at the end of the menu entitled ‘What the Chef Likes to Eat’, and that lists lobster cream soup with prawn, veal ossobuco with pasta and HIP grilled seafood amongst much more. And there’s a full page of ‘Authentic Thai’ options, too, and it’s all rounded off with many interesting desserts in the ‘Sweet and Sweetie’ section.

 

, who moved to Chill@HIP to take part in its change and who’s one of the best-known chefs on Samui. Having over 25 years’ experience in some of the top hotels in South-East Asia (including much experience in redesigning and updating menus), Luigi is a member of the

 

The reasoning behind the menu change was to make it more attractive to its Western customers, says Khun Patchalada Chaichana (informally known as Khun Mam), General Manager of Punnpreeda. “Most of our customers are European and we take pride at Punnpreeda in giving customers what they want,” she says. “It’s like when we Thais go to Europe, we do like to try the European food and that’s a big part of the holiday, but sometimes we want to eat food from home. It’s the same with European customers – they like to try Thai food, but if they’re here for a couple of weeks they don’t necessarily want to eat it every single day. It’s also nice to be able to eat familiar cuisine sometimes. And that’s why we decided to keep plenty of the authentic Thai food from all regions of Thailand but to also include many quality dishes with a European base.”

 

Things at Chill@HIP start off in the morning at 6:30am, when there’s the Good Morning Breakfast, which is served until 10:30 am. And then for lunch Luigi keeps the style ‘Simple, Light and Delicious’ with favourites such as pad Thai and green curry alongside daily specials. Evenings kick off at 5:30 pm with the ‘Sunset Menu’, which is complemented by cocktails and fine wines from around the world.

 

Punnpreeda Hip Resort itself is currently being updated in much the same style as its restaurant, with the colour scheme being changed to a minimal green and white, giving a relaxing atmosphere that’s exemplified by the hammock placed beside the pool and overlooking the beach. And it all adds up to the type of experience typified by the restaurant – a mixture of Thai and Western styles in an idyllic tropical island setting.

 

Khun Mam says the location of Punnpreeda in Bang Rak makes it ideal for people wanting a peaceful place to stay but who also want to be able to ramp things up a bit by visiting nearby Chaweng at night. A free shuttle-bus service currently runs twice a day from the resort to Chaweng and Khun Mam says that there are also plans to create regular activities for guests, such as going to the Friday night ‘walking street’ at Fisherman’s Village.

 

The new Chill@HIP restaurant is indicative of Punnpreeda in general, a lively yet laid-back spot that blends styles from all over the world. It’s all very HIP.

 

Laura Canning

 


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