Samui Wining & Dining
Cool as Kantoke

Chef’s Table at Sareeraya Villas & Suites has atmospheric dining down to a fine art.

8Far enough away from Chaweng to be quiet yet still within walking distance, Sareeraya Villas & Suites ticks all the boxes. A wonderfully dramatic entrance past ponds and trickling water features really sets the scene too. And after following this out to the beachside terrace and pool area, you’ll find the intimate restaurant, Chef’s Table.

    Chef’s Table has been open for about three years now and has gone from strength to strength. General Manager Pius Luechinger has been with Sareeraya for almost all that time, so knows how things should be – and makes sure standards never slip. He also works closely with Executive Chef Hans Engerer to ensure the menu is always fresh and exciting.

     They have an international à la carte menu at Chef’s Table, which is available at lunch too. The breakfast buffet is held here as well, which incorporates a unique cook-to-order concept that makes it more like an unlimited personal chef service than a traditional buffet, where everything has been sitting out for a while – people get their breakfast fare piping hot and made to order.

      But what Chef’s Table has become increasingly popular for is its theme nights, where Chef Hans and his team offer up specialist foods and winning atmospheres to match. On Mondays they have a beach BBQ, and on Fridays an international buffet. But on any given night you can see a stunning private table on the beach, complete with flower bouquets and candles. Anyone dining there is in for a real treat – it’s the special romantic dining area.

 

Sareeraya sets up special
candlelit kantoke tables on the
beach where guests sit on
comfy cushions surrounded by
tikki torches and authentic
umbrellas from Chiang Mai.

 

      The romantic menu kicks off with an amuse bouche to get the juices going. It’s then followed by a warm king prawn salad with melon and mango. Then fresh scallops wrapped in parma ham with cauliflower purée, confit tomatoes and lime leaf beurre blanc. And that’s just the starters! After a palate cleansing raspberry sorbet the culinary journey moves on to the main event. There’s a choice of either grilled Australian beef tenderloin – under a porcini crust served with red wine jus and baby vegetable fricassee – or roasted sea bass fillet – with asparagus, shitake mushrooms and Asian greens in a lemongrass broth. To finish up the meal a trio of desserts is served – passion fruit mousse, white chocolate parfait and raspberry jelly – followed by coffee or tea with an amaretto truffle.

       The day that we dined at Sareeraya was a Wednesday. And lucky for us, that’s kantoke night. Kantoke is a traditional Northern Thai meal where each table gets a mini buffet of dishes served in a bamboo tray. The meal is for a minimum of two people, so it’s a sociable form of dining. Sareeraya sets up special candlelit kantoke tables on the beach where guests sit on comfy cushions surrounded by tikki torches and authentic umbrellas from Chiang Mai To personalise the main course dishes they are served, diners can choose between two different kantokes. The one we opted for started with a selection of delicate Thai starters accompanied by sweet and spicy dipping sauces. There were crispy spring rolls and moneybags as well as minced pork bites and chicken satay.

       Also on our tray were the main courses, small bowls of green chicken curry, tom yum goong and crispy whole sea bass in tamarind sauce. The green chicken curry was deliciously creamy and the prawns in the tom yum goong were of a good size and perfectly cooked. Taking chunks out of the moist sea bass was a pleasure as the meat just slid away from the bone, while the tamarind sauce had just the right amount of zing to lift the flavour of the fish. There was also a serving of wok fried vegetables. For desert we had an attractively presented mango with sticky rice dish, and a plate of fresh fruit. Red and white rice was formed into small cylindrical towers and served alongside sliced mango pieces. We were also given a pot of coconut condensed milk to drizzle on top. Who knew that a mango with sticky rice could look so elegant?

      Alongside Chef’s Table is Her Bar, the watering hole where swimmers can sip on a cocktail or two at the swim-up bar, while others, fully clad and on the dry side, can enjoy a glass of wine before dinner. Another popular aspect of Her Bar is margarita hour, when margaritas are two for one from 10:00 pm till midnight.

      Pius and Hans really know what they’re doing. Be it for food, drink or both, a visit to Sareeraya is bound to be a polished and enjoyable one.

 

 

Christina Wylie



 


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