Samui Wining & Dining
Saluté 2013!

Olivio plans to see in the New Year, Italian-style.

 

4An old Italian proverb goes, 'A tavola non si invecchia.' This translates to, 'At the table with good friends and family, you don't become old.' What a great sentiment, and there's no better time to enjoy a good meal with friends and family, than New Year's Eve.

    Olivio restaurant, at Baan Haad Ngam Boutique Resort & Spa in northern Chaweng, has kept Italian food lovers on Samui happy for eight years. The kitchen's reputation for hearty Italian food is well-known, and has earned it an award from the McDang Guide – a food guide better known in Thai culinary circles. And, it's one of the few Italian restaurants right on the beachfront.

      If you haven’t yet decided on how to welcome in 2013, then Olivio has planned a buffet spread that should impress the most discerning Italian mama. As we're in Thailand, there are a few local dishes thrown in too, as the Mediterranean meets the East on this menu. Mind you, there are similarities in Thai and Italian meals. What you say? There's nothing remotely the same about the two! Well of course the flavours are vastly different, but what makes them similar is the social aspect of preparing and enjoying a meal.

      Khun Sunny, Administrative Manager of the resort (and she has a smile and demeanour worthy of her name), shared some insights on what guests can expect at Olivio on New Year's Eve. Firstly, there's the entertainment. Little Bossa Nova, an acoustic jazz band hailing from Bangkok, has been booked for the night. Apparently, they are quite sought-after on the entertainment circuit and frequently play at functions in the capital's big-name hotels. In true Samui style, an impressive display of fireworks will light the night sky as 2012 turns into 2013.

       But, food is the highlight of the evening and you'll need to 'dance it off' so to speak after each course, to make room for more. Luckily, Little Bossa Nova play covers that everyone can enjoy, and will keep them in a festive spirit. On arrival, guests will be welcomed with canapés, such as deep-fried chicken wings, ham with feta cheese rolls and laab gai, a spicy Thai chicken salad.

       The buffet line starts with salads and assorted Italian cold cuts. Try Mediterranean seafood salad, or Italian sausage salad. Add to that a shrimp salad with aurora sauce, and Norwegian smoked salmon on Mesclun salad. Don't forget to swig back a fresh oyster or two with a squirt of lemon and dash of Tabasco. Throw in some sushi for a taste of Asia, then have a dance to make space for the warm dishes

Ready for round two? Load your plate with honey ham, roast beef, baked salmon and roast leg of lamb. Oh, and don't forget the pumpkin soup. Prefer a Thai broth? Try the tom yum goong (spicy shrimp soup with lemon grass) or tom kha gai (chicken in aromatic coconut soup). Pasta lovers can carb-load for the dance floor with ravioli of ricotta and spinach in tomato sauce, or the egg fettuccine with tuna, and of course the local version – phad Thai.

 

      The main act of the evening, food wise, is where Olivio’s chef, Khun Itt, shows off his talents. Although he's Thai, he was trained by Italian chefs in Bangkok, before joining Olivio. So what does he have up his chef-jacket sleeve? Well, the 'king of the ocean', Phuket lobster will be served topped with a hollandaise sauce. Sound good? Well come hungry, because dessert is equally as tempting with a selection of Italian and Thai favourites. On the Italian team we have panna cotta, crème brûlée and profiterole éclairs. Batting for the Thai team, are golden threads, golden flowers, and sweet egg yolk fudge balls in syrup. Now the resolutions should only start the next morning, but for those watching their waistlines, there's a selection of seasonal fresh fruit.

      The saying goes that what you do on New Year's Eve sets the scene for the year to come. Well in that case, Olivio's guests are in for a great 2013, food wise. The evening will set you back 4,500 baht per person for the unlimited buffet, as well as top-class entertainment. So get together a group of friends, and see in the New Year in gastronomic style. Save the diet for the next day.

      Already have plans for the 31st of December? Not to worry, Olivio has also planned a great Christmas menu, with highlights such as house-made angel-hair pasta with squid-ink, garlic, chilli and prawns, or snow fish with lobster sauce, to mention just a couple.

      Fancy a simple meal during the festive season? Chef Itt has put together a selection of Italian pastas and Thai noodle dishes for lunch, at only 130 baht per dish, leaving the wallet with a few baht for Christmas shopping. Oh, and the kids have their own menu to choose from too, with more manageable portions for little tummies. The restaurant's pizzas are well-priced by island standards, with the Margherita being only 200 baht, and the most expensive being the frutti di mare (that's seafood, for the linguisticallychallenged) at 350 baht – for a 30cm thin-crust pie. Guests lunching at Olivio are also welcome to use the beachside pool.

      Worthy of a mention is the fact that Olivio offers a free shuttle service to and from Maenam, Bophut, Bang Rak, Choeng Mon, Plai Laem, Chaweng and Chaweng Noi. Well, that makes that bottle of Italian vino seem all the more manageable now, doesn't it?


 

Rosanne Turner


 


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