Samui Wining & Dining
One Year On

It’s just over 12 months since Krua Bophut opened in Fisherman’s Village and it’s gone from strength to strength ever since.

 

21Krua Bophut restaurant in Fisherman’s Village has been open for just over a year now. And their reputation for consistently great food and service and value-for-money has grown with each passing month. And that takes more than just good fortune in a highly competitive market place.

Many visitors consider it the best Thai restaurant on the island. And it’s certainly the most inexpensive fine-dining restaurant on Samui. Restaurant Manager, Khun Jum, puts their continued success down to several factors. “We’re in a beautiful location right on the beach with clear views across to Koh Pha-Ngan. Guests can also choose to sit inside the main restaurant, on the terrace or on the beach. Chef Nong and his team in the kitchen are highly skilled and take great care to ensure that we only serve the freshest and best quality produce. And we have lots of regular customers who live on the island.”

She’s being modest and doesn’t mention the fact that she and the front-of-house team are always immaculately attired in traditional Thai dress. Nor does she elaborate when I suggest that all the comments I’ve heard about the restaurant always include the professionalism and courteousness of the waitresses. And there’s a lot more to the main restaurant than just tables and chairs. It has a high-vaulted ceiling and resembles an old-style wooden Thai house. It’s also filled with hundreds of antiques. There’re crockery collections, ceremonial dishes, oil lamps, children’s toys, black and white family photographs and several old gramophones which are fascinating to see up-close. There’s even a very old radio which looks like the type you would see in movies from the 1930s and 1940s which still works. They’ve all been well looked after and in some cases lovingly restored and I suspect there’s a multitude of stories behind the collection.

Their menu is still the same as it was a year ago and there’s no point in changing a winning formula. With more than 100 dishes to choose from, many of the recipes date back further than anyone can remember. And whilst they remain faithful to distinct combinations of flavours and textures, there’s a modern interpretation in terms of presentation. Most of the team has a background in up-market resort restaurants and that shines through in their culinary creativity and attention to detail.

A dining couple from Wishaw, in Scotland, gave me their thoughts on the restaurant. “We’ve eaten here twice this week after reading about it in the Samui Dining Guide. The fact that we’ve come back tells you something. It’s a lovely setting, the food and service are top-notch and we are astonished at the quality of everything considering it’s only about 220 baht for a main course. It would be an awful lot more at home and it wouldn’t be as good. It’s quite a challenge deciding what to have but if I could only choose one dish then it would be the steamed white snapper with lemon and chili; it just has incredible flavours.”

I’ve been a few times with friends and we usually start out by sharing some of the soups like the tom yam goong or tom kha gai. The first is a shrimp and lemon-grass soup, quite spicy but deliciously aromatic and the second one is made with coconut cream and chicken and isn’t spicy at all. You’re not going to bloat yourself on starters by sharing and it’s how food is meant to eaten here. There are, of course, dozens of appetizers and salads to choose from with a keen emphasis on seafood. Main dishes to consider include: the chicken with cashew nuts; roast duck in red curry; deep-fried jumbo prawns in tamarind sauce; and stir-fried green or red curry with prawns. And do leave a little room for their deep-fried banana with honey and vanilla ice-cream.

They also have an extensive cocktail list if you just want to chill-out for an hour or two before dinner. And there’re some decent wines on offer that can handle Thai cuisine.

Some businesses put their success down to good planning, well-thought out marketing initiatives, the right location and sometimes a bit of luck. Krua Bophut’s owner is clearly very astute and invested heavily in the restaurant to give it the look and feel that it has. His team on the ground, and there are 26 of them in total, have ensured that the restaurant is one of the busiest and most talked about on the island. The food and service are great, the location perfect and their reputation continues to draw more and more visitors as they learn about it. Undoubtedly, there was a great deal of hard work that went into the set-up but now Krua Bophut is growing organically and who can say just where that evolution will lead.

 


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