Samui Wining & Dining
Cross to X2
An idyllic minimalist retreat and restaurant tucked away in the south of Samui.

 

Cross to X2It’s a fact. There’re two types of resort on Samui. The first is the sort that you’ll see. They’re right on the road. Or you’ll walk past them on the beach. You can see them. You’ll be attracted – tempted even – by the warm lights of their beachside eateries. Or you’ll stop in for a drink by the pool.

 

And then there’s the other sort. The ones you can’t see. Those that are hidden from view. Off the track or up the hill. Those venues with views. Or the places with style that sit right on the sand. But tucked away. Quite often nearby, but sometimes remote. Whichever the case, there’s a whole treasure trove of dining gems hidden all around the island. Big Buddha and butterflies are marked on the map; farms and monkeys, too. But some of the best places to go to eat are almost a secret. Such as, for instance, the intriguingly-named X2.

 

And that’s pronounced ‘Cross To’. It’s a fun play on words that’s echoed by the name of the restaurant; ‘4K’, as in ‘For-k’. And, yes, the resort is fun, with its smiling staff and laid-back guests. But it’s also a serious essay in style. ‘Minimalist’ is a word that’s often thrown around, often for the sake of sounding trendy more than anything else. But at X2 the clean and simple lines and angles dominate all, along with vast wall-surfaces of grey concrete.

 

And no, it’s not in the least bit bland. Firstly, just check how many sorts of surfaces there are; rough, scrubbed, ribbed and marbled. And then weigh the balance of these against the very subtle offsets and contrasts: the delicate green ivy that traces lacy patterns on the grey walls; the blond wood of the ceilings and the warm wooden sculptures. The dramatic black slate flooring that bounds the grey walls in the car park. And the way the night-time lighting is angled to accent and merge all of these features together. It’s all very smooth and subtle.

 

There’s an overriding sense of spaciousness at X2, mainly due to the fact that’s it’s not crammed full of accommodation. The grounds run to five acres (12 rai) but have just 27 luxury villas geometrically landscaped into this. All of them are high-end chic; most have private pools and decks, and the décor and fittings are on a par with any 5-star getaway anywhere, even having Apple TV (WiFi internet) to go along with the big flat screen televisions. There’s a luxurious spa that also has a private massage pavilion at the beachfront. And, of course, the lofty, airy and expansive 4K beachside restaurant, too.

 

One of the most-impressive aspects at X2 is the scatterings of mature fruit trees that are set on the close-cropped green lawns: on a coconut island it’s almost a joy to be surrounded by ‘proper trees’ for a change! Half of the T-shape of the restaurant is adjacent to the resort’s pool. But the other half of this space, running alongside the restaurant and down onto the sand, is a tree-studded lawn where the parties and barbecues are usually held.

 

Like everything else here, 4K is all about understated styling, with black and grey hues offset only by that blonde wood, and with those textured concrete walls again. But, again, a dramatic counterpoint is present to balance things; in this case the sheer height of the roof and the impressive pillars it sits upon. And then there’re the constant up-and-down levels of the floor. The first thought is that the main dining area is raised on some kind of plinth. But look again; it’s actually a complex series of linked layers that rise up four steps in places but down two steps in others.

 

The second impression relates to the furnishings: this is delightfully more like a lounge than a restaurant. You will see chairs and tables; each nest of seats has its own low wooden table in the midst of them. There’s even one big circular table that’s ringed by chairs – but these are ‘Alice in Wonderland’ style, with whimsically high backs. The rest of the seating is made up of huge and comfy loungers that are almost like half a daybed with a backrest. These are, not surprisingly, grey. But they’re twinned with huge, plump cushions that are a satiny, dense black. As dining environments go, this is probably one of the most laid-back that you’ll come across anywhere.

 

Which brings us to the food. The menu is broad, running from snacks and sandwiches through to gourmet dishes. The man behind all this is Khun Surachate, a chef well-versed in 5-star cuisine, having previously worked for some time at Four Seasons Koh Samui Resort, amongst other equally notable resorts elsewhere. The offerings at 4K are International-Thai and with a hint of Mediterranean popping up every now and then, such as the delicious ‘Pan Fried Salmon Fillet with Grilled Asparagus and Roasted Potatoes, served with Avocado Salad’. Each day offers a ‘special’ comprising a choice of two dishes. And the rest of the menu is divided between appetisers, soups and salads, pasta, mains and desserts. And the latter includes a scrumptious Blueberry Cheesecake, and Crème Caramel, amongst others!

 

4K is super at night, with the varied and thoughtful lighting throughout being a design-feature in its own right. But it’s also an ideal stop off on a day-trip, where you can explore the surrounding area, drop in and snack a bit or have a drink and catch up with the email on your laptop. And you’re welcome to use the pool, too, to cool off.

 

X2 is easy to find, unlike many such resorts that are also hidden away. Just take the ring-road southwards through Lamai and past Hua Thanon and follow the sign to the left for the Butterfly Garden. X2 is clearly signposted at this turning and impossible to miss. Which is just as well, as behind its minimalist façade lies a true Samui gem.

 

Rob De Wet 

 


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