Samui Wining & Dining
Samui’s Own Wild West

Nora Buri brings a touch of fun to Monday nights, with their Cowboy Steak Night.


17The Filipino band, sporting cowboy hats, boots and checked shirts, enthusiastically sings their rendition of ‘Achy Breaky Heart’, as the crowd cheers them on. At the same time, delicious aromas of meat on the grill waft from the buffet, where the chefs are preparing beef, lamb, chicken and pork to order – cowboy style.

      Where is this? Well, Nora Buri Resort & Spa’s ‘The Barge’ restaurant takes on a Wild West theme on Monday evenings, adding a fun element to this fine-dining restaurant for both hotel residents and outside guests.

      The Barge is an impressive building, with its imposing angular roof looking like, as the name suggests, a barge ready to plough into the ocean. The restaurant is spread over three floors – on the first floor you’ll find the fine-dining restaurant and beachside dining, sprawled across the terrace overlooking the ocean, flowing onto the beach and around the pool. And this is where the themed evenings are held (if it rains, there’s a ‘plan B’). The second floor is reserved for special events and private functions and the top floor, the Rice Barge, serves authentic Thai cuisine.

In-house guests won’t be bored at Nora Buri, with three different themed evenings each week. Aside from Monday’s Cowboy Steak Night (more on that shortly), there’s also a seafood barbecue on Wednesday evenings, with the full spectrum of both local and imported seafood on offer, and Thursdays celebrate a Thai-themed buffet.

      Chatting to General Manager, Khun Chanupong, and Director of Food and Beverage, Khun Chalermkiat, they revealed that it’s important to the Nora group of hotels that they showcase local culture to the guests. The four Nora hotels are owned by a Samui family, and the top managers are all Thai – proud of their heritage and culture, and keen to share it with guests.

      Nora means ‘beautiful dancer’ in Thai according to Khun Chanupong, and it refers to a Southern style of dancing. All themed evenings include an impressive show, with not only the hotel’s in-house band, but also traditional Thai dancing as well as a cabaret show by ‘beauty boys’ – we dare you to try and guess which performers are lady boys (Thailand’s third gender), they’re so beautiful and gracious it’s nearly impossible to tell!

      On Cowboy Steak Night, the music is upbeat, and the vibe festive. The show is also more light-hearted with a tongue-in-cheek approach, as the lady boys lip-synch to disco and country & western classics. And specially for the Korean guests, there’s a great cover of ‘Gangnam Style’! It’s hard not to get the shoulders lifting and feet tapping with the rest of the crowd, and even the staff!

       As great as the atmosphere is on Cowboy Steak Night, it’s not just about a themed setting, and the food is worthy of mention too. Now cowboys generally aren’t big on salads, but this salad bar will tempt even the most wayward cowboy to eat their greens. Make up your own salad from an assortment of ingredients and dressings, and top it off with smoked salmon, chicken breast slivers, olives and cheeses. Or try the chef’s asparagus and egg salad, chicken curry and mayo salad, Caesar salad and potato salad, all accompanied by a selection of breads and crackers. But be sure to only line your stomach, as there’s a cowboys’ feast to follow…

      Heading to the grill, guests will find chefs manning the barbecue to cook meat to their liking. Choose from marinated chicken, kebabs, beef steaks, roast lamb and pork fillets, and there’s plenty to accompany that on the buffet too. Here you’ll find side dishes such as spiced rice, sautéed potatoes, grilled corn-on-the-cob and sautéed mixed vegetables in butter.

         Other specialities include king prawns prepared thermidor-style, pork loin with a mushroom sauce, and grilled fish fillet with a lemon and caper sauce. As if that’s not enough, move on to roast chicken in a barbecue sauce, a beef lasagne as well as braised beef goulash. And if there’s space, enjoy the soup of the day, or visit the pasta station.

         And somehow, no matter how full, there’s always space for dessert. Again the spread is fit for a ravenous cowboy, with ice-cream, cream brûlée, vanilla-cream filled puffs and plenty more to tempt a sweet tooth.

         Dinner starts at 7:00 pm, and stops when you are too full to manage any more! Don’t rush, stop and enjoy the entertainment between servings and let the food settle before heading back to the buffet to reload. As with all Nora Buri’s themed evenings, the cost is 1,190 baht per person net, not bad when you consider the spread, the setting and the entertainment.

         The Barge’s location is spectacular – a small cove cocooned by boulders and secluded, as the only access is via the resort meaning guests and diners can enjoy privacy. The beach forms a stage, and the ocean with a small island in the bay is the perfect backdrop for the entertainment. And anyone looking for a romantic interlude to celebrate a special occasion can have a private table set up on the beach – they’ll only ever do one of these on a night, so you’re guaranteed to feel special. Choose from several set menus and dig your toes in the sand while watching the moon over the bay, enjoying a glass of wine and a delicious meal by candlelight.

         So if you’re after a different night out on Samui as well as a bit of fun, give The Barge a try on a Monday evening. Bring your cowboy appetite and a sense of humour for the entertainment. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show, and as the cowboys say, “Grub’s up!”


Rosanne Turner


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