Samui Wining & Dining
Signature Dish

Executive Chef, Konrad Inghelram, has been inspired by the remarkable view at Conrad Koh Samui.

 

wining - dining 11Even the most avid foodie would be impressed with the selection of restaurants at Conrad Koh Samui. The resort, which is part of the prestigious Hilton Hotels group, is located in a tranquil part of the island, right at the south-western tip – offering some of the best sunset views imaginable. Now while the resort may not be in a main tourist hub, once guests check in, there’s little want or reason to leave, as everything they desire is right here, from a world-class spa for pampering, to in-house bars and restaurants offering culinary delights by Executive Chef, Konrad Inghelram.

     Our featured signature dish is from the Mediterranean-inspired Zest restaurant – but before we get to that, let’s look at what other venues are on offer at Conrad. The Cellar offers an intimate dining setting in the heart of the resort’s working cellar, with only one table, seating eight guests. For a truly memorable evening, try the ‘Immerse Yourself in Truffles’ menu, available with a wine-pairing option.

    Jahn – which translates to ‘moon’ in Thai – is the flagship restaurant of the resort, serving the finest Thai and pan-Asian cuisine with amazing views over the bay (this is an evening-only venue). Just outside of Jahn is the

open-air Aura Lounge, the perfect place to enjoy sun-downers, with open pit-fires, chic furniture and a stunning view.

      The Azure Bar & Grill offers more casual dining and is located alongside the resort’s main infinity pool. Of course, for those lucky enough to be staying at Conrad, there’s also the option of in-room dining, as well as destination dining for special occasions, such as packed picnics or intimate beach dining for couples wanting a romantic interlude.

       But let’s get back to Zest and the signature dish for the restaurant. Zest is positioned to make the most of the views. And spectacular views they are, all the way across to the Five Islands, with local fishing boats passing and postcard-perfect sunsets that almost distract from the delicious food.

      Chef Konrad reminisces about his time in London, when the first beams of sunlight arrived after extreme winters, and summers that seemed to never start! Everyone changed their eating habits with the onset of summer and started eating greens and seafood platters. Gone were the heavy stews, pies and roasts, and lighter spirits brought on lighter summer meals. And he goes on further to explain, “On Samui, we have the luxury of having splendid weather most of the year, and so we can enjoy this healthier and lighter style of food more often. An ideal alfresco good-weather dish for day or evening is a seafood platter, and here we have the option of a ‘cold seafood tower for two’, in a small or large version. Of course, perfect with this is a chilled bottle of Rosé or Sancerre wine, or a refreshing local Singha beer.”

         Right, so what can you expect on your seafood tower to share? Well, there’s little difference between the small and large versions, other than you get more of the delicious seafood on the bigger option, so it all depends on how hungry you are. Taking centre stage on the tower is a Canadian lobster, the king of seafood, and some perfectly chilled Australian wild rock oysters.

         Adding some colour and representing the local seafood, is a blue swimmer crab. And keeping it company are prawns and calamari from the Gulf of Thailand. For shellfish lovers, clams and New Zealand green-shell mussels complete this chilled seafood tower. Bread for the table as well as fresh lemons, shallot vinaigrette, home-made garlic mayonnaise and spicy Tabasco sauce enhance the flavour of the seafood. Forget the cutlery and get stuck in here.

         Fresh ingredients are important to Chef Konrad, and when it comes to the herbs, fruits and vegetables used in his kitchen, you can’t get fresher. He’s recently started his own ‘farm’ in the garden below Zest. It’s in its infancy at the moment, yet the fast-growing herbs are already being used in the kitchen. Pips and seeds that are discarded from the breakfast fruit have been tenderly cultivated by Konrad, and he has saplings of jackfruit, orange, and dragon fruit trees growing. He’s passionate about his hobby, and gets quite animated when showing off his crops. His passion for the raw ingredients extends into the kitchen, and he believes in using top quality ingredients and preparing them well – and the proof is in the pudding, so to speak – in this case, the chilled seafood tower.

         The smaller tower (yet still substantial) is offered at 2,500 baht ++ and the larger is very reasonable at 3,800 baht ++ for two people. If you’re worried about having to drive after a few glasses of wine, there’s no need. The resort offers a free transfer service to and from anywhere on the island. Which is a good thing, as you’ll be far happier enjoying those pre-dinner cocktails and delicious wines knowing you don’t have to negotiate a long drive home afterwards.

         Fresh seafood perfectly prepared, topped off with a bottle of crisp wine and enjoyed in the fresh air while gazing across at spectacular views … what more could you ask for? Island life is tough!

         

Rosanne Turner


 


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