Samui Wining & Dining
On a Theme

A great night out and a super location at Rocky’s fine-dining International BBQ buffet evening.

 

­7What does the word ‘buffet’ bring to mind? Well, whatever you might have had the misfortune to experience in a church hall after a wedding, or in a budget hotel for breakfast, you can forget it! The Samui now boasts a large concentration of excellent restaurants and so when we talk about a ‘buffet’ we mean the real thing. Quality cuisine prepared by a top chef and a team of helpers. Immaculately-set tables. Attentive staff ready to refresh drinks and clear away plates. And, more often than not, a show to entertain you, too.

All of which sounds just about perfect. And when you include the ‘tropical paradise’ factor, fully enjoyed from an open restaurant with a view across a glimmering bay, balmy breezes, and a sky full of stars, it makes it totally idyllic. Especially when you pick one of the prettiest resorts on the island, together with an award-winning international chef, to have the experience. And one such place that ticks all of the above boxes (and a whole lot more) is Rocky’s restaurant at Rocky’s Boutique Resort, in Lamai.

Rocky’s Boutique Resort has become one of the small handful of Samui legends. Not only is it a ‘work-of-art’ in its own right but its restaurant consistently draws discerning diners from all over the island. And being located on the ring-road near to the ‘Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks’ (Hin-Ta Hin-Yai) between Lamai and Hua Thanon makes the resort very easy to find.

It’s attractive enough in the daytime, but walking down the sloping path to the restaurant in the dark is a dream. Big red Chinese lanterns glowing in the trees are offset with a myriad of tiny white fairy lights; hidden lamps throw pools of light onto the path. It’s also one of the few places on Samui where, as well as the never-ending chirp of the crickets, there’s a continual chorus of birdsong, too, and there are huge mature trees towering overhead everywhere. That ‘red theme’ continues in the restaurant with three gigantic lanterns hanging from the ceiling, smaller versions lining the borders, red candles and glasses on the tables and red cushions scattered everywhere.

And the entire place is a study in contrasting textures, from the antique panelling on the ceiling to the gnarled and twisted wooden sculptures that are dotted artistically around. Although the restaurant is open on three sides, the far end is formed from a low waterfall made of rocks and framed by bushes and plants, creating a cosy and natural backdrop that’s perfect for performers to appear against.

You’ll immediately notice that the buffet tables are placed end-to-end in a long line along the open seaward edge of the restaurant. And, as well as being highly functional, they’re also as attractive as everything else here, interspersed and embellished with displays of carved fruit, cameos of dried flowers and slabs of antique timber. The tables are laid out in a logical sequence; first, there’s a big selection of exotic salads – such as baby beetroot with walnut, spinach and eggs – and there are more dressings than you can shake a fork at. Then a tempting selection of light-bites and nibbles, chicken drumsticks, satay pork and chicken, spring rolls, tacos and suchlike.

The ‘big guns’ follow with the centrepiece being a whole sea bass, baked in a salt crust, that’s big enough to just about fit on the average-sized coffee table! And a friendly chef is in attendance to slice you off bass steaks the size of saucers. A heated stainless server next to this reveals huge Cajun-style tiger prawns and, following the line, you’ll also discover calamari, sautéed pork and grilled beef tenderloin, as well as a selection of unusual vegetables all together in a ‘vegetable stir fry’ and the regular fare, such as baked potatoes and exquisitely tender corn on the cob.

And the man who’s put all this together is Executive Chef, Azizskandar Awang. He’s youthful, energetic and unassumingly modest. Aziz has won several national and international awards and has previously worked at many 5-star hotels across Asia. And he also somehow manages to endow everything he prepares and cooks with extra succulence and flavour. Even the humble chicken drumsticks are melt-in-your-mouth and cooked in a tangy barbecue sauce with just a hint of … caramel! And, being a gourmet chef, the same holds true with his fabulous selection of desserts. These vary from week to week but you can expect to find such temptations as tiramisu, chocolate gateau, blueberry cheesecake, bread and butter pudding and raspberry panna cotta amongst the selections, together with a range of homemade ice-creams to complement them.

The evening begins at 7:00 pm, with the restaurant gradually filling up during the following hour. And at 8:30 pm everything goes quiet and knives and forks pause in mid-air as the lights dim and the ‘Cabaret’ show begins. Those of you who are accustomed to Western-style cabarets will be in for a pleasant surprise as this expression in Thailand means ‘ladyboy-cabaret’. And for the next 45 minutes you’ll be able to admire and wonder at the intriguing performers with their fantastic costumes and showy routines. Don’t forget to bring your camera!

Just about every resort on Samui seems to hold at least one buffet evening a week for their guests, almost as a matter of course. But there are very few establishments that have elevated this to an art-form. Rocky’s is already firmly in the top ten of Samui’s restaurant hit parade and the buffet format is a serious alternative to their excellent à la carte menu (which is also available on buffet evenings, should you prefer).

They hold two buffets a week – this one every Sunday and their ‘Four Regions Thai Buffet’ on Tuesdays. They’re both excellent and offer excellent value for money, too, with the International buffet costing just 850 baht each and the Thai evening coming in at 950 baht. And for all of the above reasons, a buffet evening at Rocky’s comes highly recommended.

 


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