Samui Wining & Dining
Recipe for Success

Sareeraya’s talented chef unveils an exciting new menu.

Recipe for SuccessChaweng has a reputation as Samui’s party town, and if you walk down its beach road at night, you’ll see plenty of bright lights, crowds, traffic, bars and restaurants. Some people say the main street looks just like it’s stepped out of a big city. Whatever, Chaweng’s definitely not the small village it used to be just a few decades back. It’s a thriving hub; holidaymakers return to it again and again, residents flock here at the weekend, and it’s definitely a place for living it up.

But it’s a lot more than just a party town. Many people never realise it has its quieter parts, especially at the northern end. Here the crowds are little bit different and you won’t suspect some of the town’s finest and coolest dining spots are to be found there.

One of these is Sareeraya Villas & Suites. The resort doesn’t announce itself with a fanfare of adverts; all you really see of it as you walk by is a discreet wall and entrance. But if you investigate a little further, you’ll find yourself

stepping into a world of calm. The street outside is already much quieter than you’ll usually find in Chaweng, and as you head through the resort all sense of hubbub just drops away. The beach and sea are right in front of you – Chaweng Bay at its most tranquil – and everything here’s deliciously quiet and laid-back.

You'll want to know about the food here. Repeat guests, and those who are lucky enough to live on the island, already know about eating at Sareeraya – the resort has a reputation for excellent presentation, mouth-watering tastes and a great dining ambience. It’s a place people return to time and time again. If you’re new to Chaweng, Sareeraya isn’t far away: just head up the beach road and it’s a couple of minutes’ walk beyond the landmark clock tower at the Iyara shopping centre. You can park your car at Sareeraya (the resort has a large car park just opposite the main entrance). However the most romantic way to approach is definitely by walking north along the beach itself!

The restaurant here is simply known as Chef’s Table. It’s right by the beach, and is open to the cooling sea breezes. The decor, like the resort itself, is contemporary and extremely stylish, without ever being the least bit pretentious. Staff are courteous and friendly, and will give you a warm welcome and do everything to make your evening a brilliant one.

Despite their great reputation for food, the resort isn’t content to sit back and endlessly repeat what they're good at. So, as of this month, they’ve put together some brand new treats – an entire new menu – as well as engaging a highly talented chef.

Khun Thitipong Worakham, more usually known simply as Khun M, comes from a background of cooking; half a dozen members of his family are chefs, and he started cooking when he was just ten years old, helping them out, and experimenting by making all sorts of dishes himself.Recipe for Success Born and raised in Bangkok, he found work at the prestigious Shangri-la Hotel, where he stayed for ten years, mastering both Thai and Italian cooking. He was a team leader at the hotel’s award winning Angelini Restaurant, one of the top Italian eateries in the city, frequented by Bangkok’s elite.

He’s now in his third year at Sareeraya and has been promoted to executive chef – he has plenty of ideas and the know-how to make extremely tasty dishes that combine freshness, creativity and presentation.

“He’s an artist,” says General Manager Holman Fong. “I’m really enthusiastic about what he’s doing. There are many new touches and guests are very happy with the results. And this being a small restaurant, there’s time for the chef to speak to the guests. He likes to know what would please them. If our guests spend more than five minutes browsing the menu, Khun M will come out to chat to them - it’s usually the case they would like something that’s not on the menu, or would like to make some kind of change. And that, naturally, is fine with him...”

Asked about the new menu, Chef M says, “We have both Thai and Western food on the menu. The Western is more Italian-oriented, and for the Thai side I’m concentrating on making it a little more contemporary, so you’ll find the same favourites but done in a more modern way.”

At times, it’s a case of East meets West, with dishes like Linguini Phad Thai, which is exactly what it purports to be, a Thai base but with pasta. It certainly works as a creative dish, as does the Green Curry with Fettuccini.

Chef M isn’t content with just satisfying the majority of diners – he goes several steps further and is happy to accept requests from guests who have food allergies, and who may want, say, a gluten-free selection of dishes. It goes without saying that there are vegetarian dishes on both the lunch and dinner menus.

He’s also used to catering for banquets, wedding receptions and the highly-popular romantic dinners, which are set up on the beach or in a beautifully decorated gazebo. Cooking classes are something he loves to do and if you call the hotel, you can arrange to learn to make some authentic Thai dishes. When he’s not working, Khun M, who’s currently single, likes to relax, but being a professional, Recipe for Successmaking food is never far from his mind and he takes delight in reading cookery books and looking for new recipes. He’s definitely a creative kind of person, and his kitchen is his lab. He can hone a recipe, chop it and change it – and the results are likely to end up as some new highly tasty dish for his guests to enjoy.

For the new menu, you can try the amazing Black Burger. The first thing you’ll notice about it is that the word ‘black’ is no understatement: the bun it comes on is inky black. If you regularly burn your toast, you’re bound to sink your teeth into it with some trepidation. But it’s mouth-wateringly tasty and fresh – Sareeraya has its own bakery – and the colouring comes from squid ink. The burger is slightly tangy with some Cajun spices, and the meat is extremely tender. It comes served with a generous portion of coleslaw and French fries, which are equally delicious.

Khun M has also added a spicy smoked salmon dish to the menu. Beds of rocket leaves and salmon in mango sauce are alternated and then topped with wasabi icing. The dish is beautiful and delicate – and of course highly tasty. It’s also healthy. Sareeraya has many options if you want to dine healthily and guilt-free. But there’s never any compromise on taste.

If you want to combine health with great tastes, another dish you’ll love is Khun M’s modern take on sweet and sour seafood. A square white plate holds scallops, a king prawn and some white snapper. The traditional sauce has been made more contemporary with a few additions, including a touch of red chilli reduction, and dragon fruit has been substituted for the more usual pineapple. Grilled onion, bok choy and cucumber complete the ensemble. Everything’s light, fresh and locally produced.

So, if you’re ready to head out of central Chaweng and experience some of Samui’s greatest dishes, then head for Sareeraya, where Chef M will provide you with some amazingly good food in a stylish and tranquil setting

          

Dimitri Waring


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