Samui Wining & Dining
A Wine Lover’s Paradise

Classy wines abound at Chaweng’s quintessential Wine Oasis.

 Classy wines abound at Chaweng’s quintessential Wine Oasis.If there is one noteworthy restaurant on Samui that should not be missed by discerning diners who profoundly love their wine, it’s Wine Oasis. It’s situated in the vibrant area of central Chaweng Beach Road, a place I have heard described as Samui’s beating heart. Which is a description I like, because it certainly is pulsating with nightlife. And in the midst of the bright lights, baffling sights, beating sounds and beautiful people, there is an oasis to be found - a wine oasis.

The enticing wine list in this enchanting restaurant is, in my humble opinion, the finest selection of wines, at the best prices, I have ever seen on Samui. (Or any other destination in the Kingdom, for that matter. And please believe me, with my hotel background, I’ve seen a few wine lists.) There are, obviously, some great wines listed at many of the island’s 5-star hotels and resorts, along with the 5-star prices you would expect. And indeed, there are some reasonably priced (dubious quality) wines available in most restaurants

and bars. But uniquely, Wine Oasis has carefully chosen exceptionally fine wines, which are available at prices to make you smile, and glow with gastric anticipation. And not only is the wine list extremely tempting to any wine enthusiast, but also, all the other crucial components needed to complete an exemplary dining experience, are deliciously in place. Namely, the friendly service, mouth-watering food, seductive ambience, and expert wine service techniques (even down to the use of Riedel glassware, the very best wine glasses available).

 

A relaxed garden setting creates the cool ambience - with great attention to detail, soft lighting, and the grape vines growing above your head are a nice touch. The convivial service team seems to have a near telepathic level of waiting skills. And best of all for the wine lover, the wines are treated with great respect. All the wine service fundamentals that you would expect from well-trained staff are a given. Which makes for a very relaxing evening, most conducive to sipping good wines and enjoying the company of your fellow diners.

Wine Oasis is the brainchild of Napasoon Chayuntaradilk. Khun Laem, as he is better known, has explored the great wineries of the world, a marvellous perk of his profession as a Captain with Thai Airways. But spend an evening at Wine Oasis, which Khun Laem and his lovely wife own and run, and you will soon discover that this talented man’s true passion is wine. Khun Laem’s extensive knowledge and informed insight into the wine world are impressive. He gained his Advanced Certificate from London's prestigious Wine & Spirits Education Trust. And most gratifyingly, his import company brings the wines he loves to Thailand - and beautifully chosen examples too, from most of the major wine producing regions of the world.

Discerning wine lovers on Samui will eagerly embrace this restaurant once they realize just how good the wines here are. Whether followers of more traditional old world classics from places like Bordeaux and Tuscany, or up-and-coming-new-world-wine fans, who appreciate the ascending winemaking prowess in countries like Australia and Chile, the wine list reads like an exuberant wine buff’s bucket list! Stand out choices for me, are the Italian red wines, the Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand, shining examples from the wonderful Barossa Valley, modern white wine blends from California and South Australia, classic Champagne and fine dry Prosseco.

Being a wine connoisseur, Khun Laem fully understands that the food should being worthy of the wonderful wines diners find themselves gleefully quaffing. And the Asian fusion cuisine (and intricate tapas) delivers on its promise in the imaginative contemporary menu. From deliciously fresh and light appetizers, like the smoked duck fillet and orange salad, green papaya salad with seafood, and Oasis salmon tartare, to the yummy tom yam lobster ravioli soup, Italian cold cuts and exquisitely presented Thai shrimp cakes.

Main dishes include temptations such as lamb cutlet massaman (a winning combination of east meets west), a comprehensive selection of red-wine-friendly Italian pasta favourites, and the scrumptious sea bass with paneng sauce (which is tropical dining personified). The manly red meat choices, like the grilled rib eye steak with ratatouille and baked potato, Australian beef tenderloin with garlic mash potatoes, sautéed bok choy and mushroom sauce, and the pink roasted lamb cutlet with roast potatoes cashew nut crunch and rosemary jus, are all persuasively singing out for a big brawny red wines to accompany them in a duodenal dance. (And plenty of such wines are available.)

Wine Oasis is the kind of restaurant that, once there, you will want to stretch out your evening for as long as possible. And unsurprisingly, they offer an imaginative and innovative dessert menu, with a big nod to traditional Thai sweet flavours. Waiting for salivating foodies, are melt-in-your-mouth sweet items: mango with sticky rice and coconut sauce, pumpkin egg custard, banana in coconut milk, and the decadent, warm chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream, which bursts open with chocolate lava after the first spoonful. Wine Oasis’s culinary delights never cease to surprise. On my last visit, served together with a selection of soft cheeses and some tasty savoury snacks (perfect for wine accompaniment), there were some gorgeously tempting fresh figs. A fruit I love, and until now, I never found in Koh Samui. “Where did you find the figs?” I nearly asked. But then the penny dropped. Khun Laem is a Captain with Thai Airways – they came from the Middle East, of course!

          

Peter James


 


Copyright 2017 Samui Wining & Dining. All rights reserved Siam Map Company Ltd.