Samui Wining & Dining
The Sea and Your Plate

Why one of the most secretive and secluded luxury resorts has so many
people wanting to dine there – The Sea in Bang Po

 

14-15

         The Sea Samui Resort & Spa is the name of the resort. It’s a unique luxury resort that’s up on the north coast of the island. It has a three-kilometre beach that’s deserted, and some of the best swimming on the island. All their rooms and suites are kitted-out at the edge of 5-star standards, and have Euro fitted kitchens and washer-driers. And that’s the two-room apartments as well as the luxury, walled, pool villas. There’s also a lovely little spa. But, in addition to this, it has a little patch of San Francisco-quality gourmet dining that shines out like a beacon on the coast.

         It’s probably some of the best food anywhere on the island. You can find better restaurants I’m sure. But you won’t find that many outside of Chaweng, and even the best 5-star resorts will have to work hard to surpass this. The Sea is in the middle of nowhere. But this also means that it is oh-so-quiet, and the beach is picture-postcard perfect. It’s a wonderful place to stay for this reason alone. The accommodation is marvellous. But, then, it also has the food I’ve become so excited about . . .

         What’s the expression – ‘small but perfectly formed’? That’s The Sea. You can go onto their website to check out the suites and villas. That’s one aspect of it. And, of course, if you get to stay there, then you get all the wonderful foodie things right on hand. But for the rest of us, this is a hidden gem. A dining genre with a standard so elevated that it will attract many of Samui’s chefs, just so they can check it out!

         The area around The Sea is where very many of Samui’s older foreign residents have chosen to make their homes. Why? Because it has no bars, or other bright and noisy distractions! It’s peaceful and quiet, the high-density developments haven’t arrived here yet. But it does have The Sea, and the two exceptional restaurants that come with it. The food here is out of this world!

         The area around The Sea is where very many of Samui’s older foreign residents have chosen to make their homes. Why? Because it has no bars, or other bright and noisy distractions! It’s peaceful and quiet, the high-density developments haven’t arrived here yet. But it does have The Sea, and the two exceptional restaurants that come with it. The food here is out of this world!

      One of the first things I do with a menu before I study it, is to rifle quickly through the pages, getting an impression of the numbers down the right hand edges. With most quality eateries these begin with a five, six, or seven – most dishes range from 500 baht to 700 baht plus. Here, you’ll see so many twos and threes you’ll just have to go back and look again. Yes, the majority of the dishes really are between 250 and 390 baht – although the fours and fives will appear when you take a second look!

      The other innovative thing is the dual-pricing. When your orders arrive, the size of the portions at the main restaurant will be a pleasant surprise – there’s easily enough for two people to share. So a tip here is to order, like the Thais do, perhaps three dishes to arrive at the same time. But each dish has two prices to go with it. The higher is the standard dish, the lower price is for a smaller portion. No, not a kiddie’s plate, a normal, regular size (but not quite as generous as the standard) serving. Thus, more advice is to consider selecting several smaller portions of perhaps three or more dishes, and then share a mutually-agreeable main selection.

      And so to the food itself. I’ve deliberately left this until the end, as I wanted you to stay on the page – even if The Sea only offered burgers, there’s more than enough reason already to get yourself taken out there for a look. But the food is fab. The first thing you’ll notice is the frontage restaurant, ‘Charm’. This is a small Asian-fusion restaurant that’s been styled on the layout of a Tokyo noodle bar, with an open kitchen, and a display area in the middle with stools and shelves around the edges. The resort’s executive chef is Khun Kitti, and he’s running the menus of both restaurants here. His cuisine can loosely be described as Asian fusion, but this doesn’t give any idea of just how subtle the dishes are or how beautifully they’re presented. Take the ‘Maguro Tuna Carpaccio’ for example (250 baht). It’s big slices of sashimi-grade lean tuna fillet with a grainy mustard peso and a sweet soi sauce. And ‘The Sea Dragon’s Eye Maki’ (350 baht) is deep-fried sushi rolls filled with shrimp, onion, carrot and banana, and presented with a crispy lattice batter. There’s also a whole section of Indian items. And yes, they do noodles too!

      But down at the edge of the sea you’ll discover the resort’s signature fine-dining restaurant, ‘Love is in The Sea’. The menu here features more ‘main’ dishes than Charm, but chef Kitti’s inventive approach remains unmistakable. ‘Salmon with Thai Fish-sauce Dressing’ (360 baht) is crispy-fried Norwegian salmon chunks mixed with a spicy Thai ‘laab-inspired’ base of pepper, onion and garlic – but presented in little pots made from hollowed-out cucumbers! And the huge ‘New Zealand Lamb Massaman Curry’ (680 baht) is oven-baked inside a hollowed-out loaf of crispy bread, and creamily mild with dairy milk and coconut milk. Fantastic!

There’s as close to ‘silver service’ as you’ll get, with a bewildering array of cutlery sitting atop a snowy-white cloth, and the service is impeccable, with staff waiting, watching in the shadows, ready to appear as soon as your head pops up to look. Another thing - you can order from both menus. Sit on the beach at Love is in the Sea, and pick ’n’ mix between their menu and that of Charm. Happy hour on beers and cocktails runs from midday until 7:00 pm; check their Facebook site for new additions and monthly specials – yet more reasons to reserve your plate at The Sea!

         

Rob De Wet


 


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