Samui Wining & Dining
You Can’t Keep a Good One Down

Why Nora Beach Resort has been leading the way with beach buffets ever since they opened!

 

Page-17It’s simple economics. Run a fabulous all-you-can-eat beach BBQ at a sensible price and people will come. The more people you get, the better your barbecue will become. But the opposite is true – less people equals less profit equals less goodies and at higher prices. But not at Nora Beach. They’ve refined the equation. At one time they used to run totally fab BBQs six nights a week. But, instead of juggling prices or toning down the range, now they run a sumptuous supper twice a week instead..

      This makes a lot of sense. This way they maintain their reputation, play the numbers, and still offer a great spread. And, believe me, BBQ buffets at ‘Nora Beach Resort & Spa’ (to give it the full title) are a fabled feast and a sight to behold. The ‘Nora Group’ is a purely local phenomenon on Samui and consists of four hotels and resorts that span the spectrum from budget to 5-star. Nora Beach was the first of the group’s resorts.

      It’s a large and comfortable traditionally styled resort, located in the northern part of Chaweng Beach Road, and laid-out in descending terraces as befits the geography of this area.

      This means that the usual mode of access to the beach is via one of the numerous buggies that regularly ply their way back and forth. Rounding the last twist in the path, you’ll find their signature restaurant, Prasuthon. And you’ll gasp at the Aladdin’s cave that’s suddenly revealed. The lights are low and golden and sparkle off every shining dish, tray, and pot that’s spaced around the low terraces below. Here the gems aren’t crocks of gold, but tureens of tuna, heated covers of curries, lobsters, fish, seafood and polished pots of every sort of meat, fish, poultry imaginable, along with salad tables that are laden with dish after dish of greens, nuts, dips, slaws, sauces, vegetables, breads, potatoes (baked, sautéed, fried), rice, herbs and spices.

     There are, however, several objections to a Sultan’s Spread such as this. One, is that not everybody can, or wants to, eat for three hours non-stop. Another is that with a family that has children of various ages, the overall charge is prohibitive. I’ve said already that Nora Beach has all of this worked out. So over to Food & Beverage Manager, Khun Jetsadaporn Maneesang, more happily known by his nickname of Khun Frost.

      “We’ve been running these beach BBQ buffets for a long time,” he told me, “and we understand what people want. A big selection of different hot, fresh dishes. A range of accompanying salads, nibbles and sauces. Meat or fish cooked on the spot to their liking. And, above all, the choice to come in and not have the buffet. I know this sounds strange – come here and don’t have the highlight of the night! But maybe a teenager wants burger and fries instead. Someone wants to eat a small veggie selection. Small children eat next to nothing anyway. And so this is what we offer. You can opt to have the BBQ buffet but also select from the à la carte menu too. Children under six eat free anyway, and it’s half-price for those between six and twelve years of age. I think we’re the best. The quality of the food is fabulous and there’s a huge range to pick from. And, best of all, it’s all really sensibly priced.”

       But, having shrunk their presence down to just two evenings a week, what’s on offer now? What’s Nora throwing into the wind that might make you want to drift up there at night? As I said there are two evenings of note. The first is every Tuesday. This is entitled ‘Fresh Market Thai’. And it’s just as it sounds. Lots of Thai dishes, but with the difference being that you can watch the chefs sizzling your pad Thai, noodles, tom yam or coconut soup live on the spot to order – then they’ll bring it to your table when it’s ready. Khun Frost describes it as ‘modern Thai’ and extols the several funky non-traditional sauces and preparations available. A highlight here is that if you come at 6:00 pm there’s a free cocktail party plus canapés prior to the main event. And then there’s Saturdays.

         This night the theme is ‘East meet West’ and there’s not only a much wider spread, from four different cuts of beef to pork, chicken and seafood, with pastas and several kinds of Japanese offerings (watch out for the amazing flaming tepppanyaki dishes), but there’s the mild and creamy massaman curry from Malaysia, roti breads, pizza, Texan BBQ spare ribs and tenderloin, too. Plus there’s also entertainment in the form of a glamorous ladyboy cabaret show. Oh – and there’s one more thing.

         Nora Beach Resort & Spa is located at the top northern end of Chaweng Beach Road. It’s one of the last resorts up there on the strip. But not only are they one of the forerunners when it comes to the BBQ beach buffet, but they’ve got everything else all worked out too. Such as, for example, you might not know where to find them. So they run a mini-van shuttle service between the resort and McDonald’s in Chaweng, opposite Tropical Murphy’s pub. Phone them to find out when and to book your spot on the beach at one of these superlative evenings. Every resort has their ups and downs, but the best are impossible to keep down for long!

         

Rob De Wet


 


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