Samui Wining & Dining
Naturally Nora

A look why Breach Resort is still an excellent place to dine.

16-(1)In Thai folklore, there is the legend of Prasuthon and Manorah, and of the seven Kinaree birds. Over the years, another legendary element has emerged from this – the Thai dance genre known as ‘Nora’. This is a style that is unique and takes years of work to attain an acceptable standard. Again, over the course of time, several different disciplines of the Nora dance have emerged, each one more specialised than before. And so, when an accomplished and enterprising team of Thai entrepreneurs and hoteliers decided to create a group of Samui resorts, what better to inspire them than this well-loved legend. And what better discipline to approach it all with than the rigorous excellence of the Nora dance.

The Nora Group’s first project appeared back in the early 2000s, in the form of Nora Beach Resort & Spa (to give it its full title) This was an impressive resort, initially 4-star in rating, with beautifully landscaped grounds, and the sumptuous accommodation arranged amid the greenery on a sloping hillside in the northern part of Chaweng Beach. A few years later, the group built another two hotels in Chaweng. And then, not so long ago, they added their sumptuous 5-star flagship, Nora Buri Resort & Spa. This was outstanding and today is one of the most elegant resorts in Chaweng.

But the original Nora Beach remains one of Samui’s most-respected resorts. It’s much bigger than it appears at first sight – have a go at sauntering down to the beach and see what I mean! Fortunately, a nod and a few words to one of the reception staff will immediately provide you with a buggy to whir you down in no time at all. This way you’ll get to see much more of the architecture and landscaping, and the way it’s all combined together. You’ll be dropped off on a slope just a few metres above the pool, with the restaurant almost next to this and a little to your left.

16-(2)Right from the start the restaurant here became something of a local legend. Or, really, I should say ‘restaurants’ plural, as to begin with there were two, side by side. The layout was something special, too. The two restaurants shared the same design and were next to each other, overlooking the sand, and with a chunk of beach between them and the pool. But what made everything so impressive was the layout. Both buildings were octagonal, made of rich seasoned wood, and were open-sided with the high Thai-style roofs supported by pillars all around. However, they were set at different levels, with short decks between and steps up and down and into them, effectively breaking up the large floor space into lots of cosy, smaller areas.

Today the layout remains unchanged. But, with the advent of Nora Buri, the restaurant here was re-named. Or, to be more precise, was ‘un-named’! All of this lavish dining area is now known as ‘Prasuthon’, with its previous twin (Manora) now having migrated up the road to Nora Buri. The menu here is an agreeable balance of Thai and international dishes, but with some unexpected fusion twists on a number of the items. As you would expect, there is a comfortable selection of starters, out of which look out for the fresh fruit and tuna salad that’s served with a mild curry mayonnaise.

There’s the usual selection of soups, but the ‘mains’ section gives cause for pause; it’s hard to select just one item! One of the favourites here has to be the duck – it’s beautifully roasted, complete with crispy bits, and comes with an enticing tamarind sauce. Alternatively, the Indian baked chicken breast, deliciously rich and creamy, comes a close second. And then there are ‘pasta’ and ‘pizza’ sections running parallel, and once again the fusion twists make it hard to decide between, say, linguine in oyster sauce with shrimp, garlic and sweet basil, or the Japanese or Indian styled pizzas.

16-(3)At this point, it really has to be said that all the prices here are astonishingly reasonable. Most of the items are in the 250 – 350 baht price range, and the most expensive dishes only run to 450 baht. But, having said this, you’re now faced with another difficult choice. Eating out on Samui is a must, and it’s one of the reasons why you’re here. But do you drop in here one evening to enjoy the beachside ambiance and the super food and service – or do you come here to enjoy all of this, but in the form of an all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet, plus the live-performances and displays of a Polynesian evening as well?

Every Thursday evening there is just such an event here at Nora Beach. You’ll find that most of the menu items are present in one form or another, through from a variety of different cuts of beef, to pork, chicken and seafood, with pastas and several kinds of Japanese offerings, and the creamy massaman curry from Malaysia, plus much, much more, all with an open salad bar and live cooking stations preparing fresh seafood and meat exactly to your liking. A short pause for calculations here: working from the menu, a three-course meal will probably cost you around 700 baht or so. But for only 950 baht, you can eat all you want over a three-hour period, plus enjoy the entertainment too. And the prices here all include tax and VAT – there are no hidden extras; what you pay is what you see.

And, if you are so inclined, if you play your cards right you’ll enjoy a combination of happy hours, spread between the adjacent Blue Bar, Pool Bar and Prasuthon, that run more or less through from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm (but with a break from 5:00 to 6:00 pm!) And this includes all spirits and liqueurs, plus Corona beer, all at half price. Every resort, including your own (no doubt) will run at least one buffet evening. But this one is too good to miss. It’s only a short way to travel from Chaweng, it’s exceptional value, and it’s naturally enough, totally Nora!


Rob De Wet


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