Samui Wining & Dining
Time travellers’ delight

Krua Bophut’s retro milieu and impeccable service plays host to taste bud-friendly Thai classics.

 

24-25Who would have thought that Samui could be such vivid proof of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity? The physics states that time can be as absolute as the weather, depending on what you are doing. So do a little experiment, and validate the science for yourself: does the sun always set too soon behind the Five Islands? Do the stroboscopes always go out before the night matures in Chaweng? Indeed, the crooked irony of time versus pleasure.

    As the hour and minute hands race against each other on our tropical island, we are presented with an eternal dilemma: so little time, but so many things to do, and so many eateries to visit. Isn’t it a shame that there are only three meals per day and your stomach can only hold so much? Despite the ease of chomping one’s way up the echelon of Thai classics, from road side noodle stands to swanky restaurants, there are still hundreds of eateries serving those dishes in vastly contrasting milieu. So the big question is: which table should get priority in one’s food pilgrimage?

      First, let’s find the boxes to tick for a good Thai restaurant. The surrounds have to be charismatic, the service has to be attentive, the dishes picture perfect and of course the taste should tickle the last of the sensory nerves. Last but not least, nothing beats a table full of carefully prepared dishes with every ingredient up and down the food chain keenly waiting to be devoured.

       With the time dilemma and the aforementioned criteria in mind, we head to the conveniently located Krua Bophut at the end of Fisherman’s Village. If you’re driving, you can drop the car off in the car park directly opposite the restaurant (just before one rolls into Hansar Samui). But we highly recommend taking a leisurely stroll along the village street, that is filled with vendors flogging souvenirs, beach fashions and tribal jewellery. End the walk and reward your taste buds, and tired legs, at Krua Bophut which serves up traditional Thai dishes with a twist – more about that later.

       At Krua Bophut, the wind chimes dance a welcome jingle as you meander beneath the temple-like entrance. An impeccably attired maître d’ then elegantly wais, before guiding you to your table of choice. Let your instincts direct you to the seat with the best feng shui in the house: is it the indoor dining area with the pyramidal wooden roof and the geometric tile floor? Is it the beach area where flame torches paint silhouettes on the sand that caresses your tired feet? Is it the wooden terrace that is delicately hugged by luscious greens all around? Wherever you choose to sit, the retro Thai décor at Krua Bophut guarantees to transcend you to an otherworldly by-gone era: as you journey south through your cocktail glass, the stained Thai window panes keep you cool by obscuring the glaring midday sun while the ceiling fans lazily churn out soothing breezes. At night, the antique gas-fired lamps illuminate the dark teak interior with the classic old radio, twist toy machines and a vintage China collection lending even more period charm to the already charismatic restaurant. At Krua Bophut, time plays its trick again: this time by appearing standing still!

       There are other reasons Krua Bophut takes precedence in our foodie tour. Guests from many of Samui's five star hotels often frequent this restaurant. This comes as no surprise as Khun Sorapong Limsuval, the owner of Krua Bophut, (as well as the famous Sala Thai restaurant in Hamburg, Germany) also serves as senior vice president of the Santiburi group’s hotel operation. He has been managing five star hotels for years, and has always insisted that the food in his restaurants should taste and look as good as the surrounding architecture. And precisely because he runs a successful Thai restaurant in Europe, he understands that the Western palate can be different to that of the local Thais, and thus the spiciness at Krua Bophut is expertly tweaked for customers without sabotaging the authentic Thai flavour

       Meanwhile, Khun Jirawan Hirunruang, the food and beverage manager of Bo Phut Resort & Spa (who also looks after the service here), has a faultless attitude towards customer service therefore ensuring everyone’s experience at Krua Bophut is as sensory stimulating as it is as memorable. Everyone from the maître d’ to the last waitress is impeccably made up, without a single strand of hair out of the carefully plaited bobtail. The soigné waitress smiles as she puts down the clean and beautifully bound food and drinks menus. The booklets offer a wide variety of drinks and dishes in Thai, English and German. The drinks list offers a welcome selection of classic cocktails and beers, plus a variety of champagne, sparkling, white and red wines. The food menu categorises dishes into their respective main ingredients. With the help of the little ‘chili’, we are able to determine what dish to order according to its hotness.

       Before the food arrives, the waitress carefully adjusts each place-mat on the table until all of them are 100 percent parallel to the edge, with the cutlery and warm plate arranged with nanometre-precision. As dish after dish gently cascade down the table, wafts of freshly cooked wholesomeness sends us to gastronomic heaven. The soft crab appetiser oozes a faint hint of coconut, and the fish green curry emanates an amalgamation of herbs, chili and deep fried goodness. Every ceramic plate and bowl that hugs the food is uniquely designed for Krua Bophut, and comes straight from a traditional ceramics manufacturer in Bangkok. Each dish comes complete with delicately sculpted cucumber and carrot garnishing, one hesitates to sink their teeth into the edible artwork. But the nasal nerves succumb to the orgasmic fragrance of the food, and once the waitress puts the last scoop of the jasmine rice on our warm plates, the greedy spoons waste not a second to ferry the crisp and salivating seafood into our eager mouths. The perfect combination of hotness, sweetness and saltiness results in, what Nigella Lawson calls, an ‘exquisite agony’ – we are left anguishing over the speed at which we polish the last jus off the ceramics!

       Alas, time is eternally jealous of pleasure, and although we bid farewell to Krua Bophut for the evening, it will not be long before we return to claim our complimentary returning customer’s Bophut Signature Cocktail!

 

 Kawai Wong


 


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