Samui Wining & Dining

Dine on the Mediterranean delights of The Cliff Bar & Gr ill: fine food and drink presented by a stellar team.

Dine on the Mediterranean delights of The Cliff Bar & Gr ill: fine food and drink presented by a stellar team.Drive up through the winding hills between Chaweng and Lamai and you’ll come to The Cliff Bar & Grill, one of the most well-known spots on the island for foreign residents. Step through into the restaurant and you’ll want to admire the picturesque view from The Cliff’s outdoor deck. With the entire restaurant open to the beautiful bay outside, you can see why so many people are drawn to this amazing location.


But the real drawcard – the one that has made The Cliff one of Samui’s enduringly great restaurants – isn’t the view at all. It’s the food. From farm and sea to the kitchen and finally the dining table, The Cliff has a highly professional approach to food, with freshness and quality always at the forefront. Vegetables are organically grown and include produce from The Cliff’s own gardens. When it comes to meat, only premium-grade is used. Beef, for example, is directly flown in from Australia. It’s aged for an impressive three weeks and is always chilled, not frozen – to give you all the more freshness and, of course, way more flavour. 


The kitchen team is headed by Chef Sergio Martelli, who’s worked at some of the world’s top restaurants. He’s from Ancona in Italy and has worked at the Cliff since the restaurant’s earliest days. He produces creative dishes that centre on the Mediterranean, but also cover places as far afield as South America.Dine on the Mediterranean delights of The Cliff Bar & Gr ill: fine food and drink presented by a stellar team. He uses exactly the right combinations of herbs, spices and olive oils, most of which have been sourced from Portugal, Spain and the Mediterranean. Eat at The Cliff and you’ll even be offered three different types of salt to go with your food – everything in the restaurant shows total dedication. 


Recently, Sergio’s been joined by Lance Williamson, who is the executive sous-chef here. He hails from South Africa, where he started learning to cook as a child before he went on to culinary school. At the age of 21, his passion, dedication, creativity and talent won him South Africa’s prestigious ‘Young Chef of the Year’ award. Soon after that he got started with a savvy combination of world travel and cooking, experiencing different cuisines and cultures from the USA, to Australia and New Zealand and West Africa – where he opened up half a dozen hotel restaurants in Nigeria. At The Cliff, you’ll find him compiling menus for functions – they do quite a few weddings here, along with all sorts of gatherings – and fine-tuning the menu to make it even more presentable and delicious. Offering plenty of inspiration, he’s helping to make this restaurant better still. All the team here are welcoming and friendly and this only adds to the relaxed vibe of the place. 


Go for lunch or dinner, and you’ll have a select choice of highly tempting dishes. There are seafood platters and fresh line fish – catch of the day – grilled to perfection with Italian lemon and herb sauce. They’re served with Spanish rice or French fries with salad. Meats are equally delicious. Try the house speciality, Portuguese piri-piri chicken,Dine on the Mediterranean delights of The Cliff Bar & Gr ill: fine food and drink presented by a stellar team. which is marinated then grilled over charcoal. Highly recommended is the Australian rib eye steak (330 g), or the delicious New Zealand lamb chops – you get three of them, each weighing 100 grams. Steaks and chops come with tasty sauces and accompaniments. Check out the full menu, which is on the website. 


With so much yumminess to experience at The Cliff, and distracted by the views, you may well not notice something until it’s time to leave: the wall by the main door is covered with awards for both food and wine. You may stop to ponder them or not. They’re from distinguished, professional industry leaders such as Thai Tatler and Wine Spectator – the former praised it as being one of the best places to eat in Thailand, while the latter gave it an award of excellence for having one of the most outstanding restaurant wine lists in the world. Not exactly faint praise. And The Cliff wins awards like this every year. 


The Cliff is open daily from midday until last food orders at 9:45 pm. A range of cocktails await you in The Cliff’s own very popular cocktail bar, which is open till a lot later. It’s always recommended to make a reservation at The Cliff, but the terrace overlooking gorgeous Thong Takian Bay is the spot to ask for when booking. 


Dynamic and always moving forward – never a place to lay back and rest on its culinary laurels – The Cliff is a favourite place for those long and languid afternoons and evenings.


 Dimitri Waring


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