Samui Wining & Dining
Art in a Glass

Cocktails at The Library’s Drink Gallery not only look good, but taste delicious too.

 

11Drink Gallery, part of The Library resort on Chaweng Beach Road, has become synonymous with eclectic furnishings and creative, over-sized cocktails served in quirky receptacles. A lesser-known fact (and perhaps due to the name of the establishment) is that Drink Gallery also serves up tasty, comfort-food dishes, each with an unusual twist.

      We were lucky enough to try some of Drink Gallery’s signature cocktails, accompanied by recommended dishes that complement the drink (rather than the other way around), all in the name of research, of course. We’ve narrowed down a few favourites to make the decision easier for you, but the creative and inspiring menu has something for all tastes.

      Our sampling started with the ‘Scarlet Note’, Drink Gallery’s version of sangria. It arrived in a screw-top jar, ruby-red in colour, alcohol-drenched fruit floating at the top, and a cocktail stick of sultanas protruding from an apple slice. Unscrewing the jar released the mouth-watering aromas of shiraz wine, citrus, Angostura bitters, ruby grapefruit, raspberries, homemade sultana syrup, and for a kick – Appleton Estate V/X Rum. And yes, it tastes as good as it sounds and looks.

      To accompany the ‘Scarlet Note’, we tucked into a ‘Drink Gallery Salad’. Now this is no ordinary salad, but a meal in itself. As we usually think of cheese as pairing well with wine, this salad was ideal with the wine-based cocktail. In a deep bowl laden with an assortment of greens, a generous portion of ingredients of different flavours and textures made up the salad. Large chunks of garlic bread protruded from the bowl, and big nuggets of honey-drizzled Brie croutons added a sweet but cheesy tang. Strawberries and blueberries mirrored the berry notes in the Shiraz of the cocktail, and adding body, were blocks of ham, slices of roast chicken and slivers of marinated salmon – all topped with secret-recipe mustard dressing.

      Moving on to our next course, the cocktail in the spotlight was house favourite and bestseller, the ‘Jar Head’. Served in a mason jar, this deliciously crisp and fruity drink gets its kick from Ketel One Vodka, and the green hue and fruity flavours come from mint, lime, granny smith apples and fresh kiwi fruit. For those watching their alcohol intake, this cocktail can be ‘virginised’.

      Such a crisp and fresh cocktail can handle a rich dish – in this case the delicious and more-ish ‘Roasted Garlic Ravioli’. It might not be the best dish to have on a first date, but it will most certainly keep the mosquitoes away! A rectangular plate arrived with little pockets of garlicky loveliness, swimming in a creamy sauce and topped with sautéed mushrooms. The rich, creamy dish was perfectly balanced with the fruitiness of the ‘Jar Head’.

      Moving on to the third drink and dish, belts needed loosening, but we soldiered on in the name of good journalism. The meat-lovers’ eyes grew as wide as their smiles at the sight of the next dish – ‘Oven Roasted Lamb Chops’. Two juicy lamb cutlets rested on a bed of toasted rice aioli, with sautéed cabbage and fried shallots on the side.

       An interesting cocktail, pale yellow in colour and known as the ‘Ambrosial’ arrived in a martini glass to accompany the dish. Ketel One Vodka, snow pears, fresh, aromatic rosemary and granny smith apples are blended together and crowned with an elderflower-scented apple and citrus espuma – an egg white and lemon foam resembling cappuccino froth. The rosemary in the drink was paired perfectly with the lamb.

         So there you have it. Three examples of delicious cocktails paired with equally delicious dishes. But this is by no means a complete list, and in fact there’s a lunch, dinner, and also a bar snacks menu to choose from, showing that Drink Gallery is not only about drinking.

         Of course good food and drink tastes even better in a beautiful setting. Drink Galley follows in the footsteps of The Library, with an interior inspired by art. Furniture goes beyond functional, and each piece is aesthetically appealing too. Larger groups can occupy the 14-seater teak table in the centre of room, where no two chairs are the same, and the bold over-sized painting above the bar makes a dramatic first impression.

         With Drink Gallery opening at 11:00 am for brunch, and closing again at 1:00 am, you’re sure to find a time that’s convenient to pop in and enjoy the drinks and cuisine. If it’s too early for cocktails, try out the tempting bakery corner full of pastries and homemade breads and muffins, along with a cappuccino from the state-of-the-art coffee machine.

A live acoustic duo keeps patrons entertained in the evening from Wednesday to Saturday at the outside stage on the deck, an ideal spot for those who prefer a more open-air feel. And from Sunday through to Tuesday, a DJ does his thing from 9:00 pm until closing. But with a focus on socialising at Drink Gallery, the music is never so loud that aren’t able to chat to your friends. So with a combination of inspiring cocktails, interesting yet homely cuisine, quirky décor, subtle live entertainment and service to match, Drink Gallery is well-worth a visit when you’re next in Chaweng.

      

Rosanne Turner


 


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