Samui Wining & Dining
All the Ingredients

Krua Bophut has what it takes to please the most discerning of diners.

 

12-13-01You don’t realise just how lucky you are! Well, It’s never been an easy task, and it just keeps getting harder! Ten years ago, it was much neater; there were fewer of them about. But, as more and more excellent eateries have appeared, so standards have risen, not just with the cuisine, but in the quality of the service, too. Plus, in the last few years, a new trend has emerged. For a long time most of the best restaurants have been in the top resorts. But now such restaurants are taking to the streets! They’re appearing all over the place, in all their individual splendour. And one just such as this is to be found in the ever-popular Fisherman’s Village. And its name is Krua Bophut.

      This is an exceptional restaurant on a number of counts. Firstly it’s in the one place on the island that almost everybody visits at least once during their stay; Fisherman’s Village in Bophut. And right away, that makes it stand out in the crowd. Firstly, because it’s one of the very few eateries there that would justify the epithet of fine-dining. Secondly, because this is, as mentioned, a hotel restaurant, away from home! The staff are attentive, highly trained and speak excellent English. The service is super and the food just fab. But then there’s the biggest surprise of all. Walk through the street

awhile and check the other prices. There are more than a few places where the prices are, shall we say, silly? And so let it be boldly stated that at Krua Bophut you’ll get a full three-course à la carte meal for around the cost of one main dish at some of the others

      But these are the aspects you can see, or quickly experience, while you’re dining there. What’s under the surface is the story of the place, and how it came about. The owner is Khun Sorapong Limsuval. He’s better-known locally for his involvement with Krua Bophut’s host, the nearby Bo Phut Resort & Spa. He’s a successful businessman who has spent many years abroad. And one of his many achievements was to establish what was to become one of Germany’s best-known Thai restaurants, ‘Sala Thai’ in Hamburg. He analysed the reasons for its popularity, and, having come to know what Europeans like in a top Thai restaurant, promptly shipped the manager and head chef from Sala Thai to Samui to set up and run Krua Bophut. That was back in 2009, and it’s been going from strength to strength ever since.

      As you’ve gathered, it’s a Thai restaurant. And, walking along outside and coming onto the patio, at first glance it looks just like you’d expect. There’s lots of dark mellowed timber and the same high and complex roof styling. But it’s not until you’ve been shown to your table and are seated that you’ll start to notice the quirks! The old wind-up phonograph. The pressed-tin toys. Faded posters from the ‘30s. Old clocks and collectables. What’s astonishing is the way these all blend so seamlessly in with a cultural style that’s a whole world away. And it all creates an enjoyable and timeless ambiance.

     But here’s another desirable facet; you can dine outside on the beach (or also on an outer terrace if you chose). The geography of Fisherman’s Village is such that 98% of the beachside buildings are raised up, terraced, quite high above the sea. It’s only at the very far end of the street, right where Krua Bophut is located, that it all flattens out and allows access to the sand. But let it be said that these tables are so popular that you’ll need to book in advance!

      So far that’s a lot of ingredients, all contributing towards a very special dining experience. But what about the most important one of all? Well, you’ll already be expecting something special, and you won’t be disappointed. The vast majority of small Thai restaurants keep around 30 different dishes: food in Thailand is quite a conservative affair! But here you’ll find more than one hundred. The reason for this is simple – you’re given a bigger choice. Instead of red snapper only in garlic and pepper sauce, you can take it with turmeric or tamarind, steamed, deep-fried or even shuttled into a stir-fry. And there’s not just ‘fish’, either. Go for snapper, sea bass or barracuda, or ask if there’s anything seasonal on the menu.

       The menu sections are comprehensive and cover appetisers, soups and salads, then a foray into beef, duck, chicken and seafood dishes. The portions are bigger than usual, and come with steamed rice included in the price, not as an extra. Khun Jirawan Hirunruang, less-formally known as Khun Toy, is the very dedicated food and beverage manager, both here and at Bo Phut Resort & Spa. And she’s quick to extol the highlights of this excellent menu. Such as the fact that all dishes are ‘chilli-coded’ to easily identify the spicy ones. Or that there’s a hugely-popular set menu, too. This is a set of six dishes that come under either ‘Menu A’ or ‘Menu B’. Set A is the spicier combination, with B being made up of dishes that are more moderate. (Note: it’s less that 700 baht for these six dishes!)

         But it’s discussing the wine menu that will put the biggest sparkle into Khun Toy’s eyes! It’s her pride and joy, and she’s quick to point out that, unlike most places, the house wines are actually of a high standard – it’s more effective to present quality wines by the glass in this way. And there’s a super selection of New World wines, with several classic offerings, too.

         You won’t find any ‘specials’ or chalkboard promotions here; everything’s already special, and already at a ‘special’ price! And you really do have to book; Krua Bophut is sought out by not only knowledgeable foodies, but also guests from all the main 5-star resorts. Sit on the beach mid-week when it’s tranquil, or hug a window seat on Fridays to watch Walking Street go by. All of which goes further to prove that it takes lots of ingredients to make a quality restaurant – and not just in the kitchen, either!

         

Rob De Wet


 


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