Samui Wining & Dining
On Display

Prepare to be wowed at Drink Gallery.

 

5A flash of red catches the eye as you walk down Chaweng Beach Road. Through tall panes of glass set in the dark, steel beams of a contemporary structure, an oversized painting of an Asian girl with piercing eyes and cherry-red lips draws you to look closer. And most do look closer, as the interior of Drink Gallery is quirky and inviting.

      Drink Gallery describes itself as ‘Eclectic by nature, artistic by character and thoroughly unique in style’. Now while most of us have learnt to take advertising blurbs with a pinch of salt, in this case, their self-portrayal rings true. On entering through the glass door, you’re greeted with a cool welcome – from the air-conditioning that is. The welcome from the staff on the other hand, is most warm, as is the atmosphere, which is so often lacking in modern structures. Although the walls are exposed concrete, floors are screed and the frontage is floor to ceiling glass, the look is softened by way of cut-glass chandeliers, an interesting collection of furniture and the commissioned focal art piece above the bar.

      With a name like Drink Gallery, owner, Kasemtham Sornsong, and concept designer, Tirawan Songsawat, boldly put the venue’s drinks on display. Wishy-washy drinks and half-hearted concoctions won’t make the cut here. Which is why mixologist Dhasan Prabhananda has created Drink Gallery’s extensive list of cocktails. He regularly visits from Bangkok to tweak, refine and reinvent the drinks menu. With a smidgen of this, a pinch of that, a dash of a secret ingredient and twist of lime, he comes up with delicious combinations meant to please both the palate and the eye. As well as old favourites, the menu presents 20 signature cocktails to try, so there’s always the excuse of ‘just one more for the road’. And if there are several in your party, why not share ‘The Master’ – Drink Gallery’s refined version of the bucket drink. The Master comes in two variants, namely Scarlet Note, their take on sangria, and the Jar Head, comprising Stoli vodka, mint, lime, Granny Smith apples and New Zealand kiwi fruit served either in a mason jar or as a supersized Master version. Designated drivers can try the ‘mocktail’ Spotted Canary - fresh passion fruit, ripe mango, vanilla, bananas and yoghurt.

      But Drink Gallery is not only about drinking; there’s an interesting choice of light but homely dishes too. Designed and prepared by Chef Prasert Champun, the menu is a reflection of the owners’ West-meets-East approach, taking on the best aspects of both cultures and styles of cooking. There’s a great selection of salads packed full of ingredients and served with homemade dressings, such as the avocado cob salad. A signature appetizer is the Samui Rangoon – little puffs with a crabmeat and cream cheese stuffing and a sour lemongrass dipping sauce.

       Of course, when you’re in Thailand it makes sense to get in as much of the tasty local food as possible, and Drink Gallery have added their eclectic flare to the classics. Recently, nine Thai dishes have been added to the otherwise mainly Western menu. Vegetarians should try the deep-fried oyster mushrooms and sweet potatoes. Green curry lovers will enjoy this version, with king mackerel and young coconut heart. And for something more traditional, there’s tom yum goong or tom kha gai. Drink Gallery’s massaman is made with lamb and new potatoes, and for pork lovers, the mixed mushrooms with stewed pork will please. Classic chicken with cashew nuts takes a different twist, and is served as a piece of crispy chicken, with stir-fried mixed vegetables.

       As part of The Library resort, Drink Galley follows in its design footsteps, with an interior inspired by art. Furniture is not merely functional, but is visually appealing too. An oversized white dresser fills one wall, and individual armchairs are angled to take full advantage of the street view, perfect for people-watching. Larger groups can occupy the 14-seater teak table in the centre of room. But as Marketing Manager, Francis Gan, explains, “Just because you’re in a large group, doesn’t mean you should lose your individuality, so each chair at the table is different,” which is rather a quirky touch.

      A stainless steel wine fridge displays some of the 280 wines on offer, and a wine-by-the-glass dispenser not only looks attractive displayed on the bar, but allows for a greater selection of wine sold by the glass. So you’re not limited to boring ‘happy box’ wine, and you don’t have to share a bottle if some in your party prefer a different tipple.

      With Drink Gallery opening at 11:00 am for brunch (there’s a delicious selection of dishes to choose from) it may be a little early to tap from the wine dispenser, so perhaps a brew from the state-of-the-art coffee machine is more fitting. And if you pass by on a Wednesday, Friday or Saturday evening, be sure to pop in and listen to the vibes played by the DJ. But with a focus on socialising at Drink Gallery, music is never so loud that you can’t still have a chat to your friends. For those that prefer an open-air feel, there are a few tables on the deck area overlooking the street, and service wraps up at 1:00 am.

      If you appreciate whimsical design and are after a sophisticated spot to gather over an interesting cocktail and hearty food, then head down Chaweng Beach Road to Drink Gallery, the venue that doesn’t need to be flashy to be trendy.

      

Rosanne Turner


 


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