Samui Wining & Dining
Beach Bliss

Dining on the beach, with Samui Buri’s romantic dinner for two.

 

22Why are you here? Yes, I know, you’re probably taking a holiday break. But, I mean, why here? Why Thailand, rather than Bali or somewhere on the coast of the Med? Well, unless you’re one for winter sports then, obviously, the marvellous climate’s got a lot to do with it. And also the beaches. And then there’s the food. Back home you’ll never know what you’ll get – everyone seems to be trying to please the public by feeding them all sorts of de-tuned dishes, down-spiced and re-flavoured. But here it’s the real thing; the real taste of Thailand.

    But then, the entire way of life is different here: everything’s outdoors and it’s tricky to find a restaurant that’s enclosed within four walls. Everyone seems to spend their time outside. And if you combine this with our island setting – the whispering seas and golden sand – then you’ll realise why there are few things more popular than dining right on the beach.

   It’s a sought-after thing and there must be dozens of such excellent eateries around our coasts, particularly in the region of Chaweng: a short stroll along the beach there will have you spoiled for choice. But elsewhere it’s not the same. You need to know where to look. Resorts and restaurants are more scattered and some are undoubtedly better than others. Which brings us to something of a well-kept secret. It’s tucked away on the island’s north coast, in Maenam. It’s an impressive resort, sumptuous and imposing, with dramatic golden roofs which dominate the landscape. It’s managed by the well-known Resotel Group (they now have four exclusive properties on Samui), is 4-star-bordering-on-5, and is known as Samui Buri Beach Resort.

      It might be tucked away but it’s actually extremely easy to find. Heading west, through Maenam and in the direction of Nathon, turn to the right (at the very end of Maenam Beach) under the ‘temple arch’ towards the Lomprayah Ferry, just on the sharp left-hand bend in the ring-road. Take the first right, and follow the signposts until you spot the imposing roof-line standing high above the trees. It’s only a short distance from the main road and just about impossible to miss.

       The beachside restaurant, ‘Seetawaree’, (which, translated, means ‘gracious smile’), is nestled into one corner and is an essay in ‘East-meets-West’, effortlessly blending the most-opulent aspects of both cultures. There’s an open-sided deck attached to the lavishly-equipped kitchen block, extending onto a short raised terrace that runs along the beach. And at one side of this is an open lounge area fitted with big chummy daybeds and gigantic cushions. It’s simply idyllic, looking out over the nearby island of Koh Pha-Ngan and with the hazy islands of the Angthong Marine Park shimmering lilac in the far distance. It’s one of the best spots anywhere to catch the sunset as all the clouds glow through their evening finery. And it’s nothing short of superb to sit here and sip a cocktail, as you relax before your special dinner on the beach. Seetawaree normally doesn’t set any dining tables directly on the beach (although, if requested, will arrange for a private barbecue for a family or group of friends). But they are pleased to offer a table for two, discreetly set off-centre and to one side, complete with a menu of Thai or Western fare, and your own private butler for the evening. It’s really quite special, set within a large bamboo frame with net drapes (you can open or close them as you wish) and with big, glowing prism-lights around the edge, and the sea lapping gently against the sand just a few metres away.

      The resort’s cheerful and experienced Executive Chef, Khun Suraporn Munyuen, will appear to greet you and present the choice of menus. You can opt for four courses of ‘Thai Fusion’, beginning with a choice of starters, followed by tom kha kai soup, then a main dish of mixed salmon and scallops, topped with asparagus and with green curry sauce, crab-meat, and pineapple fried-rice with seafood and cashew nuts. Plus a choice of desserts to round things off.

      Or, if you feel like something more Western, then you’ll begin with a choice of salads (grilled eggplant or Caesar salad, or tomato mozzarella) followed by pumpkin and crab-meat soup. The main dish is a mixed grill of sirloin steak and tenderloin of pork, combined with chicken breast and veal sausage, and served with a baked potato in gravy sauce and a side salad. Then there’s a delicious crème brûlée with vanilla ice-cream to finish. You can both go for the same menu, or one of you can opt for the Thai while the other selects the Western choice, it’s up to you. And, to round it all off, you’ll also receive a complimentary bottle of wine to enjoy with your meal.

      Khun Nisachol Sriwarin, the resort’s friendly Public Relations Manager, points out that guests from outside the resort are always warmly welcome. “We invite guests to come and share our facilities,” she explained, “perhaps for the afternoon, when they are welcome to swim in the pool or in the sea and laze on the beach. And then, if you’re coming to experience our romantic meal on the beach, you simply have to sample our signature cocktail, too, as the sun begins to set!” It’s worth mentioning that this cocktail, the ‘Sweet Seetawaree’, won’t be easy to drink. Why? Because it’s so attractive that you won’t want to spoil it! Half a dozen perfectly-layered strata descending down from brown through green into the glowing stripes of bright green, purple and red at the base. It packs a punch, too, its hues coming from the liberal amounts of Galliano, grenadine, blue Curacao, dark rum, lime and syrup that are painstakingly layered in its construction.

      And, if you needed any further incentives to call in for the afternoon, consider the price. All cocktails (including the Sweet Seetawaree) are just 190 baht and the exclusive and romantic dinner on the beach comes to only 4,550 baht per couple, including that personal butler and bottle of wine. Sheer bliss on the beach – at Samui Buri!

 

Rob De Wet


 


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