Samui Wining & Dining
For a truly exceptional dining experience, it’s hard to beat Tree Tops at Chaweng’s Anantara Lawana!

For a truly exceptional dining experience, it’s hard to beat Tree Tops at Chaweng’s Anantara Lawana!This is Thailand, it’s warm and tropical. People dine outside under the stars. But Tree Tops restaurant, at Anantara Lawana Koh Samui Resort in north Chaweng, is unique. It’s actually a series of eight little tree houses, way up in the branches, each of them able to seat up to six people, and all of them linked by a sturdy wooden path. In fact, Tree Tops runs along an elevated aerial pathway, in and around the branches of the trees, each at a different level, and linked by the rising and falling walkways.


And this, if you think about it, means that you can enter the ‘restaurant’ from either end. Over to your right are the kitchens and the steps up to the first ‘dining room’ in the trees. But, at the other end, the walkway drops down into a small and charming circular space, with a group of intimate tables, and a round thatched bar – the Tree Tops Bar. This is a welcoming area with a super ambiance, and it’s exactly the place you need to come for an hour in the afternoon, to experience the majesty of it all, and to scout it out for a later and unforgettable evening dining experience.


The Executive Chef here is Azizskandar Awang, who’s a warm and modest man, despite the fact that he’s won international awards and run the kitchens in 5-star resorts for names such as Marriott and Hilton, in Malaysia and Thailand. His dinner menu needs a full story on its own (which you can read online!) as it’s one of the finest you’ll find anywhere. For a truly exceptional dining experience, it’s hard to beat Tree Tops at Chaweng’s Anantara Lawana!And there’s now a whole new and exciting evening menu that’s just come into play.


This menu is impressive and chef Aziz is truly a master of his craft. The starters are simply super – each one is not only a sublime harmony of textures and interplay of flavours, but each is beautifully presented, too. The ‘French Quail’, for example, is a little symphony of a quail leg stuffed with forbidden rice, roasted quail breast, grilled yellow corn and finished with Jerez Sauce. And this is also one of the gourmet dishes you’ll find on the Tapas Menu at the Tree Tops Bar, by the way.


There is a tantalising Main Course section, and this is engaging in the simple sense that it’s almost impossible to select just one of the featured feasts. There’s imported Scottish salmon, Australian grain-fed beef, scallops from Japan and Canadian lobster. But what’s significant are not the ingredients themselves, but what chef Aziz does with them. Take the Canadian lobster: it comes with pasta alla chitarra in lobster bisque sauce, together with avruga caviar, green asparagus and bottarga, and is simply out of this world!


But what makes this superlative menu stand out from the crowd are the two exclusive ‘Candlelight Degustations’. These are five-course compilations with carefully matched wines for each, served in the ethereal and romantic setting of one of the lovely little tree houses.For a truly exceptional dining experience, it’s hard to beat Tree Tops at Chaweng’s Anantara Lawana! (A tip here is that house number seven has the best sea view, but will positively need booking in advance!)


The two degustations follow a consistent presentation, but with the difference being that the ‘Premium Candlelight Degustation’ is the offering with the mostexclusive imported ingredients and premium wines, as the title suggests – such as, for example, the delicate Hokkaido Scallop (with orange and celery salad, compressed green apple and Mandarin caramel) or the Australian Wagu tenderloin (with roasted garlic puree, parsnip, crispy artichoke, baby spinach and beef reduction). You’ll also have your own personal ‘butler’, plus a sommelier on hand to assist you – and there’s the further indulgence of a ‘salt guru’ and also a knife menu of five different blades, according to what you are eating


And, as mentioned, it’s Chef Aziz who’s also put together the menu of litebites and tapas that you can sample at the Tree Tops Bar. The best time to appear here is just before sunset, as the sky above cycles through oranges and gold into the pastel hues of salmon and azure. Sit and sip at one of the super range of cocktails and dip into a couple of plates of exquisitelycrafted gourmet tapas. And make sure your phone has a nice clean lens on its camera – although a wide-angle lens is really needed to do justice to the drama and scale of the attached Tree Tops restaurant, not to mention its unique intimacy.


It’s exceptional. It’s Anantara Lawana Koh Samui Resort. It’s hard to beat. So now all you have to do is come here for a while and ‘top out’ for yourself!


Rob De Wet


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