Samui Wining & Dining
Bandara Means Chom Dao

One of the most enticing things about Bandara Resort is its super restaurant, Chom Dao.

 

7‘Chom Dao’ is the signature beachside restaurant of Bandara Resort & Spa Samui. This elegantly opulent resort fills an extensive chunk of real estate that runs between the ring-road and the sea. The grounds are lush and sumptuous, and there are huge swathes of lawn everywhere, cunningly terraced to break up the sheer size of the plot. The long stroll to the beach takes you past two big swimming pools, by tinkling streams, over wooden bridges and between layered lotus ponds. And, as you emerge in sight of the sea, there, over to the right and on the edge of the sand you’ll come across Chom Dao.

    In the West we’ve become used to assuming that a restaurant is a series of rooms inside a building. But in Thailand the climate demands something different. Here you are more likely to find yourself in a shady roofed-over space, with one side being a solid wall behind which is the kitchen. The other three sides are open, with the roof supported by columns. Chom Dao is no exception and, additionally, the dining space spreads out onto decked

terraces overlooking the sand. The main area has a terracotta floor and a Thai-style roof, with low wooden beams and bamboo textures above. And, pleasantly, all of this is shaded by a variety of huge, mature fruiting trees in addition to the inescapable coconut palms.

      If you check out the resort’s actual location, you’ll realise that it’s only just a few minute’s walk along the beach from the popular venue of Fisherman’s Village in Bophut. But there’s an odd phenomenon at work in this respect. Many people feel awkward about walking through the front entrance of a resort in order to discover what the restaurant has to offer – there’s an inbuilt feeling that somehow it’s private. But they’ll have no hesitation in walking along the beach and dropping in on impulse for a beer or a snack. And this feeling of intrusion is something that Khun Frost is keen to dispel.

       Assistant Food and Beverage Managers, Khun Frost (Khun Jetsadaporn Maneesang) and Khun Ith (Khun Jaran Sonsem), together with Executive Chef, Khun Mac (Khun Pamon Phengnoo), have been working hard to publicise the affordability and accessibility of Chom Dao. “The restaurant is open to the public from 11:00 am each day,” he explained, “and as well as our guests we have quite a few visitors from the passing trade. One thing that’s unusual here is that we have no separate lunch and evening dinner menu – the same comprehensive menu runs all day, and if you fancy a lobster thermidor at mid-day then it’s here for you. Our motto is ‘Amazing Food – Amazing Prices’, and not only do we offer the very best of cuisine at extremely realistic prices, but all the costs are ‘net’. There is no VAT to add to the bill or inbuilt service charge.”

      Khun Mac is both a capable and experienced chef, having served his time at the 5-star Six Senses Samui and also Radisson Blu Phuket Resort. He’s put together a menu that’s both varied and exotic, that provides snacks and salads as well as the more alluring aspects of fine tropical dining. His signature Thai-fusion offering, the sushi-style ‘Tuna Marinated with Herbs, Chilli and Lime, with Shallots and Cashew Nuts’ is wonderfully tangy, hovers tantalisingly on the very edge of sour and is a pleasant contrast of textures, due to the added cashew nuts. There’s no shortage of fresh seafood offerings either, one of the most-memorable being the whole sea bass that’s available with a choice of different sauces – sweet and sour, chilli and lime, garlic pepper or turmeric. This is splendidly prepared and cooked, being carefully filleted and removed from the bone before marinating and deep-frying, then re-assembled and combined with Thai vegetables and salad. Or for something even more enticing, how about the Banana Blossom with Chicken? The banana flower is huge, but with a succulent heart, and this, spiced and combined with tender pieces of chicken breast, forms one of the more unusual dishes in Khun Mac’s repertoire. There are also several truly southern Thai dishes on offer, which you’d be hard-pushed to find elsewhere.

      There’s a full and satisfying range of international offerings too, including some very palatable pizzas, a number of Tex-Mex dishes and, of course, an excellent selection of imported lamb from New Zealand and Australian beef. And just to give you an idea of the unparalleled pricing that’s in place, the average Thai curry is not much more than 200 baht, the whole sea bass is only 380 baht, and a portion of Australian Angus tenderloin with Béarnaise sauce, served with potatoes and buttered vegetables will set you back a mere 850 baht. And, not counting the whole Phuket lobster, that’s the most expensive item!

      The team at Bandara have been working hard for a long time now, improving and extending the features of their menu, which is the reason why they still boast one of the best restaurants that you’ll find on this coast. All are welcome, day or night. And it doesn’t matter whether you come in off the beach or walk in through the imposing frontage, there’s always a welcome waiting at Chom Dao!

      

Rob De Wet


 


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