Samui Wining & Dining
Signature Dish

Italy meets Thailand at The Palate.


Page-19Most established restaurants on Samui, and indeed worldwide, have a signature dish. Something that they feel is extra special, or something that is only available at their restaurant, something that stands out among the other menu items. The Palate is no different.

      Situated in Lamai, on the road that runs parallel to the beach, this restaurant caters for both locals and tourists alike. Owned by the charismatic Khun Virach Pongchababnapa, who also owns Pavilion Samui Boutique Resort across the street, the restaurant first opened its doors towards the end of 2013, offering a selection of both Thai and European food. There are three dining areas, an air conditioned room (which is also available for private functions), a courtyard area that overlooks the show kitchen and an upstairs open air deck which overlooks the street below. The decor is bright and happy, and they have a great feature of a ‘wall’ of hanging plants on one side of the restaurant. Hanging lanterns and table lamps create a warm dining atmosphere, and the friendly yet unobtrusive staff look after you well.

      The seafood on offer is displayed at the entrance to the restaurant, so you can easily see the quality and freshness of what you’re going to be eating. There are prawn dishes, fish dishes and some very interesting crab

dishes too. They even have a good selection of vegetarian dishes, so you won’t have to go hungry if meat isn’t your thing. Baked spinach with cheese or white fettuccine tossed with sautéed zucchini, mushrooms and parmesan are just two delicious options.

     If you’d like to try something a little bit different, try the ‘tod-yun-pla-grai’ which is a dish of fish balls made from the ‘pla-grai’ fish which is only found in the Chao Praya River in Bangkok. Recommended by Khun Virach himself, it’s delicious. The selection of European dishes has a distinct Italian focus, and alongside many traditional pasta dishes, various pizzas are available too.

     But with all this delicious food, was it difficult to choose a signature dish? No, they have two brand new items on the menu which are going to blow you away. The first one is called ‘Green Salad with Onion Ice Cream’. You’ve absolutely got to try it to understand how the combination works, in this simple yet beautifully presented dish. A green salad consisting of tomatoes, cucumber and mixed lettuce leaves and rocket, provide the base. Two slices of toasted French bread are positioned on top of the salad and resting proudly on top of the bread, waiting for people to fall in love with it, is a scoop of onion ice cream with a long strip of crispy bacon. It sounds strange, but it somehow works. It is homemade ice cream mixed with onion sauce, fresh cream and milk and has a very subtle taste of onions rather than being an ‘overpowering and clearing out your sinuses’ taste.

      But it doesn’t stop there. The chef has cleverly taken two of the most popular cuisines on the island, Thai and Italian, and combined them to create an absolutely heavenly dish - Spaghetti in Tom Yum Goong. If you’re not already familiar with tom yum goong, it is a traditional hot and sour Thai soup. It is made with prawns, chillies, mushrooms, lemongrass, fish sauce, limes and kaffir lime leaves. These ingredients have been combined to make a luxuriously thick sauce which they mix with perfectly cooked spaghetti. So what you end up with is a beautifully stacked pile of spaghetti in a delicious sauce topped with a huge prawn. It looks so simple and yet the flavour is so rich. It’s so good, you’ll be thoroughly disappointed when you take your last mouthful.

      You might already be full because the portions are generous, but do yourself a favour, and always make sure you leave enough space for dessert. Sticking with the Italian theme you can indulge in a rich and creamy crème brûlée or the tiramisu (which is made with Kahlua for that extra coffee kick). But if you really want to splash out and indulge in the ultimate dessert heaven, try their hot chocolate soufflé. Once you break into it with your fork, close your eyes and sense the aroma wafting up to your brain and igniting every single chocolate memory you’ve had. Open your eyes again and watch the thick hot chocolate sauce flow slowly onto your plate and mop it up with ice cream and cream. You’ve arrived in dessert heaven.


Colleen Setchell


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