Samui Wining & Dining
Taste the Moon

Conrad Koh Samui 's Jahn restaurant offers contemporary Thai cuisine in an unrivalled setting.


 

10-11It feels as though you couldn’t get much closer to the moon. Conrad Koh Samui’s Jahn restaurant is perched atop a hill, almost clinging to the cliff, suspended high above Phang Ka Bay on Samui’s southwest coast. As the sun sets, the view is spectacular with the Five Islands in the backdrop, and long tail boats coming home for the evening. But it’s as the moon rises that you see how the restaurant acquired its name – Jahn means moon in Thai. A large yellow orb fills the floor-to-ceiling windows of this intimate 28-seater restaurant, and mirrors on the water below.

    Although the restaurant opens at 6:00 pm, it’s best to arrive a little early and take advantage of the sunset location, that is arguably the best on the island. Located just outside Jahn you’ll find the Aura Lounge, an outdoor seating area complete with fire pit and fairy lights in the trees. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy pre-dinner cocktails or a glass of bubbly while watching not only the sunset, but also the moon rise, transforming the bay below. And if you choose to go on a Monday or Thursday, all the better, as there’s happy hour, well happy two hours actually, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm, which work on a ‘buy one get one free’ basis for local beers and signature cocktails.

      Right, so moving from the Aura Lounge to your table inside Jahn, the first thing that’s noticeable is the décor which could best be described as ‘stylishly opulent’. Think plush dark velvet armchairs, midnight blue tablecloths, polished silver and white napkins, real lotus flowers on each table, and a giant lotus flower shaped chandelier above the entrance. There are candles on the table, gold brocade detail on the black pillars and sections of black tiled wall that glisten as if infused with tiny diamonds. Windows are floor to ceiling, letting in the moonlight, and it feels as though all that is holding up the structure is the fishpond surrounding the restaurant. Conrad’s Executive Chef, Konrad Inghelram, has created a remarkable menu paired with some of the finest wines by the resort’s award-winning sommelier, Khun Charuk Chochan (Khun Cha), to create the ‘Tasting of Jahn’ set menu. Jahn’s cuisine is contemporary Thai, so those looking for traditional Thai dishes may be caught off guard – in a good way. However, if you’re after Thai flavours with a modern twist, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what this tasting menu has to offer. There’s the option of enjoying the tasting menu with wines paired by Khun Cha, or on its own without the wines.

       The menu starts with an amuse bouche of Thai beef salad to get the taste buds going. Thereafter, guests are presented with ‘octopus in Thai spices’, which consists of marinated octopus, coriander, chilli, Thai shallots and kaffir lime cream. Khun Cha’s choice of wine for this course is a 2010 Salomon Undhof Wieden Gruner Veltliner, Krems from Austria.

      Next you’ll move on to ‘tom kha gai’, a favourite Thai coconut based soup, with corn-fed chicken breast, morel mushrooms, lemongrass and galangal. The wine paired with this dish is a 2009 Catena Zapata Alamos Chardonnay from Argentina.

      A lemongrass sorbet cleanses the palate before the main course, which is a choice of two dishes. The first option will appeal to meat lovers. It’s a ‘massaman of Wagyu beef’. But it’s a little different to the traditional massaman. Here, a thick chunk of fillet takes centre stage on the plate. It’s surrounded by mushrooms, cashew nuts, new potatoes, pearl onions and red onions, and accompanied by a jug of thick, creamy and flavoursome massaman sauce. Instead of white rice, this dish is served with green lemongrass rice, deliciously fresh and a perfect flavour combination. It’s paired with a 2008 Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa.

      Seafood lovers will prefer the second option, which is the ‘Gulf of Thailand red snapper’. It’s served with seared scallops, sweet corn, mango, asparagus and a tamarind glaze and goes perfectly with Khun Cha’s choice of a 2009 Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir from New Zealand.

      As if dessert is not enough, with the Jahn tasting menu there’s also pre-dessert, which is macadamia ice-cream. This just gets the sweet tooth going, before dessert arrives – and it should be accompanied by a drum roll here… as it’s that good. Be sure to save space for the ‘local ginger parfait’, served with white chocolate, passion fruit and carrot ice-cream. Perfectly complementing dessert is a 2003 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlerner Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Gold Cap from Germany.

      But don’t fill up just yet, as petit fours end the meal with an assortment of macaroons, fruit jellies, marshmallows and chocolate truffles. The tasting menu is a very reasonable 2,900 baht per person excluding service and government tax, or with wine pairing, 4,900 baht per person.

      If you’re worried about going for the pairing option and having to drive after a few glasses of wine, help is at hand. Conrad Koh Samui offers a free transfer service to and from anywhere on the island. Which is great, as you’ll be far happier enjoying those pre-dinner cocktails and delicious wines knowing you don’t have to negotiate a long drive home afterwards.

Rosanne Turner


 


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