Samui Wining & Dining
Rather Palatable!

The Palate Restaurant is a colourful addition to the Lamai dining scene.

 

14Khun Virach Pongchababnapa has a keen eye for detail. Every project he tackles turns into a resounding success and his latest venture, The Palate Restaurant, is no different, as we discovered on a recent visit.

      Nobody can argue that Samui is overflowing with choices of restaurants. So with competition rife, on many a night you’ll see some establishments struggling for customers. Yet arrive outside The Palate Restaurant, located opposite Pavilion Samui Boutique Resort, and you’ll discover the place abuzz. Smiling staff tempt passers-by with the fresh seafood display out front, the open-plan kitchen is a hive of activity with chefs cooking up a storm, and there’s a festive atmosphere coming from the dining room and deck.

      So what’s the secret at The Palate? Well, it probably starts with the quirky and appealing décor, which is colourful, yet still tasteful. The restaurant has three dining zones, namely an indoor air-conditioned dining room, a courtyard that overlooks the show kitchen, and the upper deck where diners can look down on the street scene below. The air-conditioned room is perfect for private functions, while the upper deck offers ‘natural air-conditioning’ by way of a breeze with its elevated position. Wooden

tables in the courtyard and on the deck are painted in bright colours, and are paired with orange padded wooden chairs. A ‘wall’ of hanging plants swings in the breeze on one side, and the coloured wooden panel theme continues from the tables to the walls and counters. White hanging lanterns and table lamps add a warm glow, as do the broad smiles of the serving staff.

      As great as ambience is, it’s not the only factor that makes a good restaurant. There’s also service, and of course, the food. Here, bubbly waiters gladly make recommendations, offer refills, check on the table without being obtrusive, and generally take good care of the guests. And a watchful manager is always around to oversee things too.

       The Palate prides itself on serving authentic Thai dishes, with some that you’ll find nowhere else on the island. But if you’re not in the mood for Thai, there’s a great selection of European dishes too, with a focus on Italian cuisine. The seafood, which features prominently on the menu, is as fresh as you can get, with the Hua Thanon fish market just around the corner. And if you’re in doubt, just glance at the display of wriggling crustaceans on the ice display … but not if you’re squeamish and don’t want your potential dinner to look back at you! For something different, try the ‘king river prawns’ from Suratthani on the mainland. Enjoy them served as a fusion of Thai and Italian, on a bed of fettuccine tossed in a tomato sauce.

       Another recommendation for those keen to try Thai delicacies is the ‘tod-yun-pla-grai’, which are fish balls made from the ‘pla-grai’ fish, found only in the Chao Praya River in Bangkok. Sticking with seafood, crabmeat features prominently on the menu. Try the steamed crabmeat served with a seafood sauce, curried crab, or ‘poo ja’, which is fried crabmeat and minced pork, marinated with spices and filled back into the crab shell. Khun Virach proudly states that their tom yum goong is authentic and the best you’ll ever taste.

         Vegetarians aren’t forgotten, and as with most Italian menus, there’s ample choice for veggie lovers. Particularly good is the appetiser of baked spinach with cheese, as well as the white fettuccine, tossed with sautéed zucchini, mushrooms and parmesan shavings. The pizzas are served on a thin, crispy base, and are packed with ingredients, with vegetarian options available. Vegetarians can choose from salads too, such as the rocket salad with olives and parmesan shavings, and the caprese with buffalo mozzarella and plump tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and served with balsamic vinegar. And of course, any of the Thai curries can be served as a vegetarian option.

         As full as you may be after the generous portions, somehow, there’s always space for the tempting desserts, which are creatively presented. The crème brûlée is rich and creamy, and the tiramisu is made with Kahlua to add some zing. The signature dessert, a hot chocolate soufflé oozes with gooey goodness … any chocoholic’s dream!

         The Palate Restaurant is a great place to gather with friends over good food in a relaxed setting. The waiters keep the beer flowing, and the prices are reasonable too. The restaurant is open for dinner only, from 5:00 pm until 11:00 pm, and reservations are a good idea, as although it only opened recently, The Palate is already proving to be a popular dining venue in Lamai.

         

Rosanne Turner


 


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