Samui Wining & Dining
First Impressions

Banana Fan Sea Resort’s General Manager, Khun Supit Choo-in, is a large factor in the resort’s huge success.

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Amongst lush greenery and meandering paths sit 75 guesthouses and the beachside eatery Baitong Restaurant. With TripAdvisor reviews oozing its praise, it comes as no surprise that it has steadily climbed the ranks to hold a coveted spot in the top ten restaurants in Samui – number 6, in fact. Nestled into the beach and poolside-adjacent, the atmosphere at Baitong Restaurant is undoubtedly that of holiday chill-out. There are tables in the sun, tables in the shade, tables by the pool and tables by the bar. So, depending on what mood you’re in, there’s a place for you. Speaking of the bar, there’s not one, nor two, but three happy hours here where they serve up some fresh fruitblended concoctions and a great house wine that’s cheap as chips – amongst other drinks of course. The happy hours are from 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm, respectively.

      Khun Supit Choo-in is the relatively new General Manager at Banana Fan Sea Resort. Many of his customers and guests know him by name and you’ll frequently spot him in the restaurant jovially chatting away to them. He even sends every resort guest a personal email of thanks, recounting an anecdote or individual experience they shared. Now that’s customer service! Since Khun Supit has been there (that’s eight months) he says there hasn’t been a single complaint in the restaurant. If that’s not testament to his great work then I don’t know what is! And what are his first impressions of the resort? “I love it of course!” Khun Supit exclaims.

       He was in Phuket during the Tsunami which, like everyone else, he found was a very difficult experience. But after life got back to relative normality there, he decided it was time for a change. So he came over to Samui and starting working within the wedding planning industry for a leading company. “Working with Faraway Weddings was a very special experience,” he enthused. “To be there for that magical time when a couple are planning their wedding day is a truly heart-warming experience.” And one which has obviously helped him to be the kind and understanding General Manager that he is today.

       Khun Supit is very hands-on in the restaurant. And he’s very proud of it too – which he has every right to be! The décor echoes holiday-cool. It’s got that perfect synergy of contemporary finishing and traditional Thai architecture. It looks clean and polished and yet ample wooden furniture has been utilised, creating a comfortable environment. Anyone can feel at home here. The dining space is also two-tiered to maximise the number of tables that get a stunning sea view – a clever touch. The division of space also creates a more intimate environment for your table, wherever in the restaurant that may be.

       Baitong Restaurant is particularly renowned for its Thai food. And once you taste it, you’ll see why. It’s also very reasonably priced – not always a given on Samui today. Many of the chefs and floor staff have been with the company since the resort’s inception some ten years ago. So they obviously know their stuff. The restaurant has two themed buffet nights – one on Monday and the other on Thursday. Monday sees mountains of seafood and meat served up, whilst Thursday is the weekly Thai evening. The à la carte menu comes complete with sample images of some of the dishes to whet your appetite – and also helps those diners unsure of what some Thai cuisine look like.

        A starter of ‘pomelo salad with soft-shell crab’ is a wonderfully light yet satisfying option. The soft-shell crab is coated in a light-as-air crispy batter and dissolves in your mouth when combined with the juicy pomelo pieces pounded with a tangy dressing. The coconut and fried garlic pieces add depth of flavour to really finish this dish off nicely. You may have tried pomelo salad before but you have not one quite like this! For mains, the ‘Penang chicken curry served with steamed rice’ is a great choice for a spice-shy Western palate as it’s rich and creamy, with ample flavour, without being spicy. And for dessert, who doesn’t love ‘banana fritters’? And these do just the trick. They are crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside, and come served with two generous scoops of smooth vanilla ice-cream, a squirt of whipped cream and a cherry on top.

         Khun Supit is always looking to improve the restaurant and the resort. And that’s when his close relationship with his customers really comes in handy. They are honest with him and he works alongside them to create the perfect experience for every guest. Along with small tweaks to the guest rooms, Khun Supit is forever planning new things. He never wants to get complacent. Delivering that magical experience to every guest is what he lives for. He constantly updates the Facebook site he set up for the resort and restaurant with general commentary and pictures he takes on his morning jogs. And you can see the appreciative comments from previous guests and customers all over their Facebook wall.

          When asked what he thought was the best feature of the restaurant, Khun Supit simply motioned with his hand to the beautiful, white beach and gently crashing waves just feet from the table at which he was sitting. “Great for people-watching too,” he says. “It’s very relaxing here. People come for a drink, then try the food, and after that they keep coming back.” Whilst saying this he turned to cheerily greet some return customers and they enthusiastically returned the sentiment, relaying a joke from their previous visit. Both he and the guests left the encounter laughing wholeheartedly. If first impressions are everything, then Khun Supit’s certainly got no problem!

 

 

Christina Wylie


 


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