Samui Wining & Dining
Excelling In Excellence

Getting the basics right at Banana Fan Sea Resort’s Baitong Restaurant is the foundation of its great reputation.

 

5Banana Fan Sea Resort in Chaweng has been a favourite of visitors to Samui for many years. It’s well located for the town, sits right on the beach, it has beautiful landscaped gardens and accommodation styles to suit most budgets. Throughout, the design is contemporary Thai, the welcome is very warm and its attention to detail especially in terms of service has garnered wonderful reviews and ensured a high level of repeat business.


One of the many aspects that draws guests back every year is the Thai and international cuisine served in Baitong restaurant. Khun On is the Head Chef and he has recently returned to take charge of the team. He’d previously spent five years at Baitong before moving away for a couple of years to gain further experience. And he’s just launched a new menu. “Many of the old favourites are still on the menu as guests expect and enjoy them but I’ve added some new creations. We cater to dozens of nationalities and to all ages so we need to have a lot of choice that satisfies everyone.


There’re more than 100 different dishes on the menu and you could happily feast on the appetizers alone. Bruschetta, baked mussels, grilled chicken satays with peanut sauce, deep-fried calamari with Chinese pickles and sweet chili sauce, shrimp cake patties with plum sauce, spring rolls and chicken wings all tempt you on the first page. It’s one of those restaurants, and menus, where you pretty much want everything. Their salads are equally good and the portions generous. The Caesar salad with romaine lettuce tossed with bacon, anchovies and Caesar salad dressing topped with toasted croutons, Parmesan cheese and grilled chicken is delicious. And any one of the fresh mozzarella and tomato, Greek, Nicoise and seafood with avocado salads are worth ordering to share. For something a little spicier I’d go with a traditional green papaya salad with seafood, the pomelo salad with Thai herbs, dried coconut and prawns or the spicy minced pork salad with Thai herbs. They do have a kick to them, though the staff will likely ask you how spicy you want it.


If you’re down there during the day either staying or chilling out on the beach they have plenty of sandwiches, burgers, side dishes, pizzas, pastas, snacks and even good old-fashioned British fish and chips. And taking a break from the midday sun in the covered part of the restaurant might bring some welcome respite from the heat. Baitong is also one of the few resort restaurants that don’t add on 10% service charge or 7% government tax, they absorb that cost themselves. And the net prices are very inexpensive; you’ll be pleasantly surprised.


In the evening your thoughts may turn to meatier fare after a hard day relaxing by the pool. And they have imported beef tenderloin, sirloin steaks and filet mignon with a whole range of sauces and accompaniments. There’s also pork chops, chicken cordon bleu, duck with orange sauce and a mixed grill. Seafood lovers are also well taken care of. Try the whole seabass with spicy lime sauce, the baked king prawns with glass noodles, black pepper, ginger, bacon and soy sauce served in a hot pot, the stir-fried crab with yellow curry, or the squid with onion and sweet chili.


As you would expect, Thai cuisine features strongly. And you’ll find pork, beef, chicken, prawns and fish prepared in a whole range of ways. You can choose sweet and sour, chili with basil leaves, mushroom and oyster sauce, ginger and vegetables and garlic and pepper. Rice, noodle and stir-fry specialities are all there as are some great Thai soups like tom yum goong (spicy prawns with lemon-grass) and tom ka gai (a creamy, coconut milk based soup with chicken). There’s also a good choice of vegetarian dishes and some excellent desserts. Their New York cheesecake with blueberry sauce and the crêpe suzette with vanilla ice-cream and orange sauce are perennial favourites.


I had a chat with Khun Khajohn Eakintumas, one of the senior managers, and asked him why he thought their repeat guest ratio was so high. “It’s all about the levels of service the team here give to each and every guest. From meeting them at the airport to ensuring a quick check-in, we want them to feel relaxed as soon as they arrive. We get lots of families here and our staff make sure they enjoy themselves as much as the parents. Guests also feel safe and secure here. We get lots of very positive comments about the restaurant and especially about our theme nights and entertainment.”


Baitong has a full weekly programme of events and the beachside restaurant is usually packed. There’re also tables and chairs around the pool and it would make sense to make a reservation to ensure you get the table you want. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays they have their à la carte menu and fresh seafood display with live music. Tuesdays are always entertaining as they have a BBQ buffet beach party night with live music and a spectacular Polynesian show. On Thursdays they have a Thai buffet night with a cultural dance show. The food, which seems to go on forever, brings classic dishes from the four regions of Thailand and the Thai dancers are professionally trained and each segment relates to a part of Thai mythology.


If you can only manage to go along on one night, then make it a Saturday. They have an international buffet that’s outstanding and entertainment courtesy of Christy’s Cabaret Show. It’s flamboyant, funny and always fun. And the ‘ladies’ certainly know how to put on a show with lots of quick costume changes and songs to sing along to. It’s entirely inoffensive and you can safely take the children along. And finally on Sundays they have a European set dinner with background music as it’s the musical duo’s night off.


Banana Fan Sea Resort has built a great reputation over many years and no doubt will continue to do so. Their food, service and attention to guests needs ensures that the word ‘excellent’ appears on many guest comment sheets – along with a sincere promise to return again.

 


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