Samui Wining & Dining
Rocky's Rocks!

Get ready for romance on the rocks.


10-11You've seen his picture all over the island. On billboards. In newspapers. In magazines. The guy with the cappuccino complexion, a crisp white chef's jacket, and a fat fish flung over his shoulder. He is not a model hired to make Rocky's ‘The Dining Room’ advertising look good, but is in fact the real executive chef himself. A guy that's good looking and can cook? Every woman's dream.

    30-year old Azizskandar Awang - better known as Aziz - has worked in some of Asia's top fine-dining restaurants, at Marriott, Hilton and Renaissance hotels in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. Luckily for Samui, he now creates from the kitchen at Rocky's Resort, for their restaurants The Dining Room and The Bistro.

      According to Aziz, his cooking philosophy is to use the best ingredients possible, cooking them perfectly and letting the flavour of the ingredients stand on their own. His style is classical French cuisine, with a modern approach. It is this philosophy and style that made him winner of the 'Malaysia Young Chef Challenge Award' at the tender age of 21, despite being the youngest entrant that year.

      Samui has become renowned as a romantic destination. Be it for a wedding, honeymoon or no other reason than sharing a tropical paradise with a loved one, and a beachside dining experience under the stars is a must while on the island. And Rocky's 'Private Candle-lit Romantic Dinner on the Beach' is hard to beat. Prior to the love-birds' arrival, the staff convert a patch of soft beach sand into a private dining room under the stars. A table is set with white cloth, wine glasses and candles galore. Alternatively, the beach massage sala can be converted into their own secluded space for the night.

       On arrival, pre-dinner cocktails and canapés are enjoyed around the bar or on the beach. This is followed by a glass of sparkling wine before dinner is presented, crafted with flair by Chef Aziz. The package also includes a bottle of house wine; rosé, white, red or sparkling, and a choice of two menus.

       The Classical Royal Thai Set Menu starts with a symphony of classic Thai appetizers, followed by a tom yum goong soup, with tamarind. Main course is a choice of stir-fried Samui seabass, yellow curried tiger prawns, blue crab in poong gari sauce, crispy duck leg with black bean sauce or Australian beef in a phaneng curry. The mains are accompanied by steamed local fresh vegetables and jasmine rice. To finish is a choice of desserts; sticky rice with mango, house-made coconut ice-cream or a flourless decadent chocolate cake.

      Romantics preferring to sample the chef's more diverse talents, will be pleased with the selection offered in the 'Special Chef Tasting Menu'. Starting with an amuse bouche de jour, it is followed by a duo of Hokkaido scallop and seafood ravioli, anise-infused lobster bisque sauce, roasted endives and glazed fennel. The sautéed French foie gras is served with caramelized peaches, warmed brioche, mesclun leaf, pine kernels and a balsamic reduction. A passion fruit and mango sorbet clears the palate, before the choice of mains. Meat-lovers will enjoy the herb-crusted Australian rack of lamb with accompaniments or, for fish lovers, the Mediterranean-inspired Spanish sea bream. Dessert comes in the form of The Dining Room's assiette of Varlhona chocolate.

      This choice of exceptional menus, along with the sparkling wine, cocktails and bottle of wine and private location is a reasonable 6900 baht ++ per couple. Not that one can put a price on love.

      Romance aside, Rocky's is a great place to experience fine-dining on the island. The fact that it is the only restaurant on the island to have received the acclaimed Mielé award, says something in itself. Add to this that Rocky's is rated number one in its category on TripAdvisor, and you are sure to be in for a treat.

      Located on the beachfront, The Dining Room offers seating in the open-air restaurant, or on the rocks overlooking the bay, with sail-boats and local fisher-folk at work. An interesting feature is the area on the rocks that has been cordoned off, where a foot-shaped indentation is regarded by locals as Buddha's footprint.

      The French-style cooking at the The Dining Room presents dishes such as hazelnut and black truffle crust fillet of line-caught sea bass, cauliflower purée, oyster mushroom beignet and wilted romaine heart, or poached Moulard duck foie gras 'au torchon', pickled cherries, brioche, micro greens and cherry balsamic. Carnivores will drool at the thought of 150 days grain-fed Australian beef rossini, sautéed foie gras, pain perdu, baby spinach and black truffle sauce or the peppercorn-crusted Australian Green Mountain veal tenderloin, potato dauphinoise, roasted baby beetroot, and wilted baby spinach. Vegetarians haven't been forgotten, and Rocky's has compiled a special menu for veggie lovers, with interesting creations by Aziz.

      Rocky's more casual dining restaurant, The Bistro, serves a contemporary Mediterranean and Thai menu, prepared in the outdoor show kitchen with its state of the art Italian stove and grill. The feel is casual yet elegant, with seating inside or alongside the pool. Highlights of the menu include char-grilled salmon, Cajun tiger prawns, Australian lamb cutlet, as well as all your Thai favourites.

Local residents will be pleased to discover that Rocky's has introduced a residents' VIP card. As if living on Samui is not reward enough, holders are now offered not only a welcome drink and petite fours on arrival, but also 15% discount on their meal. This discount can be used at either of Rocky's restaurants, so head on over, and prepare to be wowed by Aziz and his culinary talents.



Rosanne Turner


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