Samui Wining & Dining
The Aroma of Fine Dining

Chef Aziz works his wonders at The Scent Hotel’s Le Jaroen restaurant.

 

wining - dining 25Some may remember Chef Aziz from another well-known resort on the island. But his culinary career goes way back before he arrived and wowed Samui residents with his effortlessly creative style of cooking. The 30-something year old Azizskandar Awang (Aziz) has worked in some of Asia's top fine-dining restaurants, including Marriott, Hilton and Renaissance hotels in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. Luckily for Samui, he hasn’t left the island, and now creates his masterpieces from the kitchen in Le Jaroen, at The Scent Hotel – a beautiful colonial-inspired boutique hotel, situated on Bangrak Beach.

      According to Aziz, his cooking philosophy is to use the best ingredients possible, cooking them perfectly and letting the flavour of the ingredients stand on their own. His style is classical French cuisine, with a modern approach. It’s this philosophy and style that made him a winner of the 'Malaysia Young Chef Challenge Award' at the tender age of 21, in spite of being the youngest entrant at that time.

       Aziz has quite a following, not only for his inspiring food, but also for his charming personality. So what can his fans expect at Le Jaroen? Well,

perhaps the best way to find out is by trying his five-course degustation menu. With a mix of flavours and textures, it’s a great way to experience several of his creations. There’s the option of having the food only, or enhancing the experience by choosing the wine-pairing option.

      Right, so the meal – or should we call it an adventure – starts with an ‘amuse bouche de jour’, just to whet your appetite, and this may change according to the day. This, as well as delicious home-baked rosemary-scented bread, is not part of the five courses, but most certainly get you in the mood for more.

         The first course starts with a ‘foie gras au torchon’ – poached Rouchie foie gras au torchon, with caramelised peaches, warm brioche, aged balsamic vinegar and mesclun leaves. Not only does it sound good, but it looks good too – art on a plate. If you’ve chosen to enjoy the wine pairing, you’ll savour your first glass now, with a ‘Pinot Grit Les Elements AOC Domaine Bott-Geyl Alsace, 2009, France’.

         Next on the menu is a ‘Roasted Hokkaido Scallop’ – De Bellay goat’s cheese agnolotti, with caramelised apple, tomato confit, a white wine and dill sauce and Avruga caviar. A tender pasta pocket holds the mouth-watering goat’s cheese, and the sweetness of perfectly caramelised apple complements the richness of the scallop. The wine of choice for this course is a ‘Sauvignon Blanc, Salomon & Andrew, Marlborough, 2010, New Zealand’.

         Staying with seafood, you’ll move on to ‘Atlantic Salmon’ – served with slow-braised red cabbage, wilted baby spinach, a refined mustard sauce and topped with salmon roe. The fish is done to perfection, firm and flaky and the vegetables are an interesting and tasty choice. A glass of ‘Muscadet Sevre et Maine AOC, Domaine de la Chauvinière, Loire, 2010, France’, is the perfect addition to this course.

         To prepare your taste buds for the main course, enjoy a palate cleanser of apple and mint sorbet. It’s refreshing, with just a little bit of a kick with the addition of some liqueur.

         Beef tenderloin forms the main course of this degustation menu. Savour a tender piece of roasted Australian beef, served with a ‘sauce trompette de la mort, pommes gratin and baby carrots’. A more robust wine is required for this course, in the way of a ‘Cru Mont Plaisir Bordeaux Superieur AOC, Gonet-Medeville, 2010, France’.

         A ‘Lemon Mille Feuille’ forms the grand finale of this gastronomic adventure. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and tart flavours, with layers of crispy biscuit base, fresh seasonal fruit, tangy citrus cream, crème anglais and smooth dark chocolate. For those with a sweet tooth, it’s heaven on a plate.

         This well-balanced degustation menu is offered at 1,850 baht ++ for food only, or for the wine-pairing option, it’s 2,590 baht ++ per person.

         While Le Jaroen offers a fine-dining, it’s also a relaxed dining experience with its beautiful beachfront setting. Perhaps arrive early for some cocktails, to take advantage of the breath-taking sunsets. And if you’d prefer to enjoy the daytime views from here, try the special lunch menu created by Chef Aziz, including great salad, sandwich and pasta options. Pop in to find out about regular afternoon specials too, such as the ‘sangria and tapas’ promotion, perfect for an afternoon snack attack

         The Scent, is an ideal place to escape the crowds on a busy day. Opening the oversized wooden doors from the main road is like stepping into a lost world of days gone by. The hotel is dotted with artefacts of Indo-Chinese colonial culture, and the effect is calming and restful. The hotel is quaint, cosy and personal and offers guests and diners a relaxed and elegant setting in which to unwind. It’s reminiscent of days when the simple things mattered. Like pleasant company, exceptional food and a view to match.

         

Rosanne Turner


 


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