Samui Wining & Dining
 Rare desserts from Siam rule at The Page – along with an entire menu of fabled foods.


If you’re on the lookout for Thai food of the most traditional kind, you might find yourself heading not for a restaurant that’s been in place for a century, but instead to Samui’s most avant-garde resort, The Library, and its restaurant, simply called The Page. Both are right in the heart of Chaweng, totally hidden away from sight and offering an intimate escape. Chic, and modern to the core, they’re an unexpected spot for Thai dishes that have become rarities.


The culinary team here are adept at both modern Thai food and international cuisine of all kinds, but what they’re most acclaimed for is presenting dishes that were once treasured but which have slipped off the culinary radar. Why would that happen? There are probably quite a few reasons, but parallels can be drawn with various types of Thai fruits which are no longer cultivated because they’re too hard, and other varieties are much more easily grown; that’s why certain types of durian are no longer to be found at today’s markets while others are to be found all the time. With food, the tried-and-tested can get replaced all too readily by the new. This is especially true in the case of desserts; there’s been a rush to embrace all things western when it comes to pudding.


But the culinary hey-day of Siam is still going strong at The Library; here you’ll find starters, mains and desserts that have stepped out of history. To get the tastes just right requires an inordinate amount of effort on the part of the chefs and culinary team. You’ll no doubt still find them in isolated spots up and down the country; a few restaurants will still be making them.
24-4But even if you’re a Thai foodie, they may well be unknown to you. And of course, some Thais may never have tasted some of them at all. The Page now specializes in these, along with others that are somewhat better-known. Thankfully the staff can explain anything on the menu that seems unfamiliar and give you and give you a good idea of what you’re choosing.

The desserts offered by The Page showcase the chef’s expertise admirably; each one is exquisite, and guests who have sampled them are full of praise. Since these desserts are so unusual, it’s quite likely that you may wish to come to The Page just to sample them, and you’re welcome to do this. They’re great at any time of the day, so there’s no particular time you should aim to come by. The Page is right by the sea, so during the day there are spectacular views. At night, a hush fills the air, and if you’re with your beloved,this is a romantic spot to choose.


Try Khao Mao Thod Khao Yakoo Bai Toey, a skilful combination of coconut with fritters made of young rice, a unique dish that tastes absolutely delicious and shows just how versatile rice can be in the hands of maestros. Also try Pang Jee Kouy Lae Ice Cream Krati Cha Thai, a newer take on an old theme; Rare desserts from Siam rule at The Page – along with an entire menu of fabled foods. here banana and coconut pancakes are accompanied by a duo of ice-creams. You may well be used to coconut ice-cream, but what about Thai tea? The combination is mouth-watering.


Then there’s Fak Thong Sung Kha-ya, a kind of crème brulée made of pumpkin custard. For very different tastes, opt for Man Phao Krati; roasted sweet potatoes are first grilled then accompanied with grilled corn and caramel made from young coconut. Some of these dishes are rare; you’d have to visit hundreds of restaurants to find them. If you’d like some of the more usual Thai desserts, then there’s Khao Niew Mamuang, or mango and sticky rice, along with Ponlamai Ruam or a platter of Thai fruits.


The menu offers more than simply desserts, of course. There’s a wide choice of delicacies with soups and curries, grilled and roasted dishes, then stir-fried and deep-fried dishes. Items are marked not just according to spiciness but also their rarity. If you’re really in the mood to linger – and in Siam, this was all part of a dinner – try the Thai degustation menu which consists of eight courses and 11 separate dishes. During the day enjoy the highly traditional lunch menu, Kin Hor, the name coming from a southern Thai expression denoting an old custom, whereby extended families would meet up annually, each family bringing a much-loved dish with them to share.


Not in the mood for Thai cuisine? Simply make your choices from the international side of the menu, which offers delights such as Wagyu beef of the finest quality, known as MBS 9+. It’s tender enough that you don’t even need a knife to cut it. There’s a full range of dishes, including meats and fish, and yes, some excellent international desserts, too.


Dining at The Page guarantees great food and great times, and if you opt for the Thai food rather than the international treats, you’ll be able to say not just that you’ve dined in style but in a totally original way.



 Dimitri Waring


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