Samui Wining & Dining
Golf? No Thanks, I’d Rather Dine

There’s a lot more to Santiburi Samui Country Club than just its golf course.

There’s a lot more to Santiburi Samui Country Club than just its golf course.The golf course at Santiburi, on Samui’s north coast, is reckoned by some to be one of the hardest in the world. Some people love a challenge and fly over to Samui just to pit their wits against it. Others are less sure about taking on the course that some Asian pros refer to as ‘The Beast’. Whatever the individual golfer thinks, there’s one thing that unites all of them: they all agree that the setting is amazing.

There are waterfalls and creeks on the grounds themselves, it’s endlessly scenic. Where there’s a beast, there’s also beauty to be found too – like the fairy story. When golf pros stand at sea level looking up at the hills and the jungle escarpment that is the said beast’s lair, then they really aren’t thinking about how beautiful it looks; they’re aware that they're taking on a mighty challenge.

But what of people who are more used to mini-golf, crazy golf or rather absolutely no golf at all? Surprisingly they too are heading for the hills and the course itself, and with no thought of hiring a club, or even trying to take on the course. Is there something else out there on the jungly slopes?

The answer is a resounding yes. It turns out to be the restaurant, which is synonymous with great food at very reasonable prices. And not just that, it enjoys some of the best views on Samui. It’s easy, by the way, to find Santiburi Samui Country Club. As you head through Maenam towards Nathon, turn left where you see the sign and then follow the directions. The approach road sweeps up into the hills and is expertly tended, and takes you up through the idyllic golf course and its gardens. The higher you go, the more the view opens out and finally you can see this amazing panorama of the north coast. The drive is so scenic, that some people will drive up to the clubhouse, circle round, and go back down again – it’s that beautiful.

Those in the know, however, stop at the clubhouse, where the restaurant is located. It must be one of the most spacious on Samui, and as you walk in you’ll be greeted by that same panoramic view, a sea of greenery,with Koh Pha-Ngan in the distance. Even those that work in the restaurant don’t seem to tire of it, and in their spare moments you'll maybe see them at the balustrade admiring the view.

Incidentally, the restaurant doesn’t have any specific dress code; you can come here in very informal clothing. This leads me to the next point; the atmosphere is very laid-back and casual. The service though is entirely professional, and some great food awaits you. The restaurant opens at 6:00 am, when it serves a choice of breakfasts, including the hearty Santiburi Breakfast, which consists of eggs, bacon, pork sausage, grilled tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, toast and tea, coffee or Ovaltine, along with fruit juice or fruit salad.

You can also have an American, Continental or Asian breakfast. The portions are on the ample side – as you can imagine, many a hungry golfer breakfasts here after a taxing game. They want to be fed, and not feel hungry after they’ve put down their knife and fork. The food’s all delicious and offers unusually good value for money. Closing time for the restaurant is 8:00 pm. It’s open seven days a week.

On the menu you'll find Thai appetizers, soups and salads. For main courses, there are plenty of rice and noodle dishes, as well as a special selection with dishes such as green curry with chicken, eggplant, kaffir lime leaves and sweet basil sauce or fried beef with oyster sauce.

Try their delicious phad Thai, called here ‘Pud Thai Goong Sod’. It has a delicate taste to it, and this seafood version comes topped with a duo of prawns, expertly speared by spring onion. Many restaurants make phad Thai and usually the results are good, but it’s difficult to make it taste this great.

If you’d like to eat Western food, it’s certainly very much on the menu, too. You'll find several sorts of sandwiches, all of which come with a portion of French fries, as well as burgers, breaded chicken, homemade lasagne, bolognaise and the ever-popular fish and chips. The restaurant also offers German pork leg with mashed potatoes or French fries, and grilled German sausages with sauerkraut.

They have Bonito homemade ice cream – try the Green Tea ice for something different – as well as a range of Moevenpick Swiss ice-creams. Amongst the latter you'll find it hard to resist the espresso croquant or the caramelita.

The restaurant also stocks a selection of wines, all at reasonable prices. From France, there’s the excellent Bordeaux Charles Dulac, while from Chile, you can opt for a Santa Alicia Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon or a Trileka Merlot. From California the Backhouse Chardonnay is a great choice, as is the Swartland Chardonnay from South Africa. Naturally, you can also have wines by the glass, both red and white.

There are plenty of reasons to head up to the golf course at Santiburi, and not all of them have anything to do with the game itself. You can come here to have a great meal while enjoying one of the most exceptional views on the island – just make sure you bring your camera as you’re bound to want to take a few pictures!



Dimitri Waring


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