Samui Wining & Dining
Quality Krua

Krua Bophut is one restaurant that shines out from the crowd.

9Lately it’s got to the point on Samui when we just can’t move for restaurants. That’s all well and good; everyone loves to eat. And whether it’s seafood or salami, beachside, cliffside, outdoors or in-house, the more the merrier! But when the rumour goes around that our island’s name is going to be changed to Koh Lan Ahan – Restaurant Island (only kidding) – then it’s time to take a look around and sort out the ones that are utterly brilliant from the ones that are really just … excellent. It’s a diners’ market, to coin a phrase.

     One of the restaurants which has been shining (rather than merely glimmering) for a while now is Krua Bophut in the popular location of Fisherman’s Village. Whether you know of its reputation or not, it’s certainly an interesting place; the sort of eatery which makes you pause, look it over and then go inside to get more of a feeling for it. Which would be wise, as this restaurant has a great deal to recommend it. And so, with this in mind, I went along to find out what makes this place tick. And to do that I talked in-depth with the Food and Beverage Manager of Bo Phut Resort & Spa, Khun Jirawan Hirunruang, less-formally known as Khun Toy.

RDW : Khun Toy, tell me something about Krua Bophut. When did it open?

Toy   : It was in October 2009, in time for the high season of that year. Inside, the restaurant has seating for around 20 people and the sturdy wooden tables and chairs are well spaced out. The kitchen is open-plan so you can see Khun Boy busily at work preparing and cooking the dishes. It’s always refreshing and comforting to see that a chef has nothing to hide and is happy to cook in front of his guests.

 

RDW : The design is unusual. It appears to be a solid, traditional Thai building, but the décor is retro-modern, slightly off-beat, and the whole place wouldn’t be out of place somewhere downtown in California. What’s the thinking behind this?

Toy   : It’s all due to the owner, Khun Sorapong Limsuval. He’s a successful businessman who’s spent many years abroad and established one of Germany’s most successful Thai restaurants, Sala Thai in Hamburg. He’s associated with Bo Phut Resort & Spa and the sister restaurant there that has the same name (Sala Thai). When he decided to expand he was very much aware of what European people admired in a Thai restaurant, and he set about creating a venue here that he knew would be appealing to visitors from overseas.

 

RDW : So what is the relationship between ‘Bo Phut Resort’ and Krua Bophut?

Toy   : Every hotel and resort is aware that its guests want to go outside and explore; our guests at Bo Phut Resort do it all the time. So it made sense to open an additional, quality restaurant nearby, right in the middle of one of Samui’s most popular tourist areas. This way we catch our own guests as they go adventuring, but we also attract guests from other resorts on the island. The other aspect is that Krua Bophut is run firmly along our expectations as befits a top-notch hotel restaurant. The décor and the ambiance, the quality of the cuisine, the staff training and even the daily cleaning is of a far higher standard than is usual in many restaurants.

 

RDW : Tell me about the cuisine. How does it differ from all the other Thai restaurants around.

Toy   : Khun Sorapong is not the sort of man who has an idea and is then content to delegate and let other people set it up and make it happen. He’s a ‘hands-on’ owner and demands to be involved. To begin with he brought in his manager and head chef from Sala Thai in Hamburg. These were Thai people who were experienced in what Europeans expected and who then spent time in selecting and training their staff on Samui in line with this. That’s unusual in itself. But what made our menu unique is that Khun Sorapong insisted that we offered alternatives to the run-of-the-mill dishes that every Thai restaurant in this country unthinkingly puts on its menu. It’s traditional to have the same dishes everywhere and Thai people seem reassured and comforted by this. But here we don’t only have ‘fish fried in garlic and pepper sauce’. We also feature it prepared in tamarind sauce or deep-fried with turmeric, you can go for red snapper, barracuda or sea bass, or you can have it as a stir-fry or even deep-fried with cashew nuts. That’s why we have more than 100 dishes on our menu whereas a traditional Thai restaurant never has more than about 30 or so.

 

RDW : How does your wine list relate to the nature of Thai cuisine?

Toy   : We only offer wines that compliment Thai food. As a 5-star concept we could easily stock more and then boast about how many labels we have. But that’s not realistic. We have a carefully selected range of New World wines that have proven to be compatible. More to the point, we will provide you with a bottle or a single glass. We are prepared to make less profit here, as you can be assured that the bottle is not re-corked and used again later – as in when you come back again in four days time!

 

RDW : What about that aspect which everyone wants on holiday here, dining on the beach?

Toy   : There are only a very few places where the beach is accessible in Fisherman’s Village; most restaurants are raised up and with only a metre of inaccessible sand underneath. At Krua Bophut we are pleased to offer indoor dining, outside on the terrace or actually right on the beach itself – always depending on the weather, of course.

 

RDW : All resorts and restaurants offer promotions, discounts or happy hours. What do you have?

Toy   : Nothing at all! Firstly we don’t need to as our prices are reasonable to begin with. Secondly, we don’t need to do this to attract customers. Restaurants usually have their busy period between 7:00 and 8:30 pm. We are busy all the way from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm. You’ll usually be able to find a table at around 6:00 pm when we open – depending upon what the sunset is like – but any time after this you’ll be disappointed if you haven’t made a reservation. If you want you can do this with me personally as I’m in Krua Bophut every evening.

 

RDW : And what about plans for the future? Are you content as things are?

Toy   : There are plans for another ‘Krua’. But, shhh! It’s a secret right now!

 


 

 

Rob De Wet



 


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