Samui Wining & Dining
Oodles of Noodles

Rediscover the humble noodle at the Noodle House.

 

14Akyra Chura is a modern 'Asian-chic' resort boasting 61 stylish suites fitted out in understated luxury. You might easily drive past it, as it sits back from the road at the quieter north end of Chaweng Beach Road. But it’s conveniently located just ten minutes from the airport and a mere 500 metres from the bustling shopping and nightlife of Chaweng.

      As with most resorts here on the island, it has its own signature restaurant. Here it is called the Noodle House. Now before you turn your nose up and say, “Yeah, so what's so special about that, I can get noodles from most street vendors in Thailand,” let's get a few things straight.

      Firstly, it isn't a Thai restaurant; it's Japanese, and has a distinctly Japanese decor. It's completely open plan and has a welcoming, airy feel overlooking the pretty gardens of the resort below.

      Secondly, it isn't what you'd call ‘traditional, street food’ noodles. Here in the Noodle House, things are presented a little differently. While the noodles might be there on the plate or in the bowl, they’ll always be accompanied by gastronomic delights such as lobster, prawns or even shitake mushrooms. The noodle soups are a great example. Two that caught our eye were the

Malaysian noodles in coconut curry broth and the Japanese noodle soup with prawn tempura.

      If you don’t want to miss out on meat, there is plenty here to keep you satisfied. Skewers of prawn, tuna, Australian Angus beef sirloin, salmon flavoured with Miso sauce, or Miso glazed black cod are all available served with a choice of green noodles (made with spinach), brown noodles (made with seafood), rice noodles, egg noodles, tofu noodles or even black noodles (made from squid ink). And of course, because you’re in a Japanese restaurant, these will all be served with wasabi, grated daikon radish and teriyaki sauce. Have you been won over yet?

      But the menu doesn’t just consist of noodles; you can enjoy a selection of fresh salads too (although the noodles won’t be far away). Glass noodles with seafood, spicy grilled beef salad, yellow fin tuna and avocado salad and even a spin on the popular som tam (green papaya salad) - here it is served with grilled chicken.

      Of course a Japanese restaurant wouldn’t be the same without sushi, and there is a selection of various crab and tuna rolls as well as an assorted platter for those who want to try a bit of everything.

       And then you have teppanyaki, the famous Japanese style of cooking. Your food is prepared on a large open griddle pan right in front of you. Noodle House can accommodate up to 20 guests at the bar counter where you can sit and watch your food being flung around with flair, style and a good pinch of pizazz - an experience not to be missed.

         There are rice dishes too for those who don’t want noodles, a few vegetable dishes and some delicious desserts in both Japanese style (Japanese tofu pudding with fruit salad) and Thai style (mango and sticky rice) to finish off the evening. The person responsible for all this is Executive Chef Amporn. He has recently returned to Samui after a spell working in Saudi Arabia. There he was in charge of 38 chefs working for Princess Hassa bint Abdulaziz Al Saud and her family. Drawing on this unique experience, he is keen to try and incorporate some flair and creativity into the dishes at the Noodle House, while at the same time not distracting too much from the Japanese theme. And looking at the menu, it seems he’s managed to pull it off.

         He's adamant that he wants to show people that noodles aren't boring or "snack food". They can be part of a hearty meal, be very satisfying and easily part of a fine dining experience. He wants to introduce some colour and make the dishes striking and attractive so that people will fall in love with noodles and give them the respect that he feels they so rightly deserve.

         Chef Amporn has also worked with Ken Hom, an American-born Chinese chef, author and television presenter. Ken spends a lot of time in Thailand and besides having written numerous books about cooking, has also sold a 5-hour documentary on the history of the noodles to 23 countries. This proves two things - the noodle is probably more popular than anyone realises, and Ken shares Chef Amporn’s passion for noodles.

         So what you have here is a chef on a mission to rekindle a love for the common noodle by preparing and presenting it in an exciting, colourful and stylish way, and a restaurant perfectly kitted out to do exactly that.

         Yes, you can get noodles from street vendors but if you want the taste of noodles in a fine dining environment, then the Noodle House is for you.

         

Colleen Setchell


 


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