Samui Wining & Dining
It’s A Xin

Xin City is transforming the Green Mango area of Chaweng with Black Canyon playing a prominent role.


10Nothing stays the same forever. In fact, change seems to be the one constant we can rely on. And in many cases it’s for the better. Those of you who have been coming to Samui regularly over the years will no doubt see notable differences on each visit. And just recently, one of the busiest and most well known parts of Chaweng has undergone a serious face-lift.


For most people, the Soi Green Mango section of town is synonymous with wall-to-wall bars and loud, pumping music. But change is afoot and a new hotel, shopping plaza and entertainment and events area has replaced a whole section of run-down bars and their gaudy, flashing lights. Xin City Samui comprises six buildings each with three or four levels and, as well as the 35-room hotel, which has an open-air roof-top swimming pool, there’re also plenty of shops, cafés and modern pubs. And the central plaza area hosts regular festivals, Muay Thai fights and live bands. ‘Xin’ is derived from a Chinese word that means ‘new’ and the message they’re sending out isn’t just about the new development, it’s also about a whole new approach to how that part of town is presented to visitors.


As soon as the plans for construction were announced, one business jumped straight in and claimed the best spot for their restaurant. Black Canyon Coffee is a major brand not only in Thailand but also in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the United Arab Emirates, Cambodia and China. And it’s not just coffee that they’re renowned for; their cuisine is also highly regarded and their menu extensive, particularly those branches which incorporate the Caffé Nero restaurant concept. Franchises are tightly controlled and are very much in demand. And on Samui there’re just four, including the new one at Xin City. They’re all owned by entrepreneur and businesswoman, Khun Anchalee Keeratiwithayanon, and the latest restaurant not only sits proudly overlooking Chaweng Beach Road but also overlooks the central plaza of Xin City.


Creatively designed, there’re four distinct areas to the restaurant which is open from 11:00 am until midnight. On the ground floor there’s a large sports bar, the X-Bar, and above it there’re a further three sections accessed by a wide, sweeping set of steps that lead to the broad outer terrace. It has a retractable awning giving shade from the sun and occasional rain, and from here you can watch the world go by on the main road or view the entertainment in the plaza from a very advantageous position. The main part is open on two sides and sits above the sports bar. There’re plenty of comfortable seats and as there’s WiFi throughout it’s a good place to catch up on e-mails or even do some work. Behind it there’s an enclosed air-conditioned section with glass walls on two sides that lets in the natural light. It’s all table service so just take a seat and browse through the menu.


As you would expect, the list of beverages is comprehensive with cappuccino, mocha, Americano, espresso, latte, Vienna, Chinese kopi coffee, hot and iced coffees, frappes, smoothies, fresh fruit juices, iced teas and hot herbal teas. They’re all priced in the 65-75 baht range making them excellent value-for-money compared to their competitors. And Black Canyon has won a number of awards to back up their reputation for great coffee. In 2009, a barista from the Black Canyon Group won the ‘National Thai Barista Championships’, another won the ‘Thailand Barista Latte Art Championship’ and a few months later yet another came first in the ‘Grand Barista Championship of Thailand’. You can also have a beer with draught Heineken just 70 baht, a chilled bottle is 80 baht and a pitcher is 200 baht.


Order a drink of some description to begin with as to do justice to the menu you’ll need a bit of time. Even deciding on just one appetizer will mean rejecting a couple of pages of tempting treats. Choose between chicken wings, calamari, sautéed mussels, marinated pork ribs, German pork knuckle, soft shell crab, spicy seafood salad, Northern Thai spicy sausages, glass noodle salad with salmon, smoked salmon salad, Caesar salad, appetizer sized fish and chips, an American club sandwich with fries, grilled bacon and cheese and a host of soups. Starters are priced from just 110 baht and most are under 150 baht.


Over the page there’re some intriguing pasta and Thai fusion dishes (130-160 baht) such as Thai-style stir-fried fettuccini with river prawns; black pasta with prawns, asparagus and tomato; and pasta Nero with squid or seabass. Then there’s a page of ‘Individual Favourites’ (110-160 baht) which includes two prize winning dishes. Their pad Thai won first place in the 2009 ‘Thailand International Restaurant and Bar Competition’ and their tom yam goong won first prize in the 2010 competition. In this section there’s also green curry with stir-fried pork; squid ink stir-fried rice with omelette, sausage and crispy chicken; and Southern-style seafood with rice. In addition, they also have a good selection of ‘Grill’ dishes priced around the 220 baht mark. There’s salmon steak with pesto cream sauce; imported strip loin of beef; grilled German sausages; oven-baked pork loin; and grilled sea bass with apple salsa. And they have a nice selection of desserts (40-75 baht).


Black Canyon has a prominent spot in Xin City and a justifiable reputation for great coffee, innovative cuisine and excellent value-for-money. The Green Mango area is being transformed and Black Canyon is leading the way.


Johnny Paterson


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