Samui Wining & Dining
FUTURE MODERN & RARE RETRO
 The Page recreates unusually exquisite Thai dishes from the kingdom’s past as well as offering superb western treats.

The Page recreates unusually exquisite Thai dishes from the kingdom’s past as well as offering superb western treats.

Looking for some really traditional Thai food, cooked in the pain-staking traditional ways? It calls up settings that are equally traditional - wooden restaurants filled with ancient ornaments, and where the staff are wearing traditional costumes. The setting at The Page challenges that thinking. The Page is resolutely modern, with nothing antique about it whatsoever. Arriving here, you expect something super modern when it comes to dining, something definitely voguish. It does indeed have international dining (we’ll come to that in a moment) but it’s doing sterling service re-creating dishes from Siam’s deepest past.

          

The Page is part of the iconic resort simply known as The Library, a creative kind of place that seems to channel the near future. Walk through a green and silent garden dotted with minimalist white cube accommodation, and there in front of you, by the sea, stands The Page.

          

Both the resort and its restaurant have a feeling of intimacy, but you don’t need to be a house guest to take advantage of the food at The Page. Everyone’s welcome. Plenty of people simply walk in as The Library is so centrally located. It’s on Chaweng Beach Road, a few minutes’ walk south of Central Festival and right next to Drink Gallery.

          

Hopefully, if you’re holidaying on Samui, you have time on your hands and can slip into an unrushed pace of living. The Page is just the place to do this. Treat yourself to the very opposite of a grab-and-go dinner. Take time to celebrate dishes that require skilful preparation and can’t simply be belted out by cooks, no matter how experienced they are.P78-2

          

The menu begins with soups and curries, such as Gaeng Jeud Hua Plee Gai or Banana Blossom & Chicken Soup. Next come the ‘lon’ or relishes, small dishes with pronounced and aromatic tastes which go well with everything else on the menu. Then there are grilled and roasted dishes, such as Hor Mok Pla Insee Nua Poo or Grilled Smoked Mackerel and Crab Meat Pudding.
 And finally, fried dishes such as Goong Krob Phad Prik Khing or Crispy Shrimp Stir-fried in Red Curry. These dishes are all exquisite in taste and no doubt would feature on more menus but for the inordinate amount of time and skill required if they are to be made properly.

          

If you’re looking for something really special, The Page offers a degustation menu that is in all probability unique in Thailand. It’s called ‘Samrab Thai’ which translates as ‘Thai combination’ and it consists of no less than eight courses and eleven separate dishes. You’ll need to set aside at least three hours for this. Come with your partner, friends or your family and relish food that was always intended to be shared amongst loved ones. It’s a feast and a time to gather, to linger and enjoy good times together.

          

Whatever you choose to eat on the Thai menu, you’ll find that dishes are variously marked. Some are marked with a chilli symbol. These are on the fiery side, but just ask your waiter or waitress and they’ll make them milder for you. Then there are vegetarian options, too, also marked. Portions, whatever you’re having, are nice and big. You’re also find an asterisk by dishes to signify they’re rare. P78-5These are offerings that you won’t find elsewhere on the island, and you’ll have a long, long search to find them anywhere else too.

          

Hailing from Samui itself and its nearby mainland is a rather brilliant lunch menu, called, ‘Kin Hor’, a tradition that’s also a little lost in time as well. It refers to a custom whereby families would meet once a year, each family bringing with them their best dish. It’s a convivial repast, a chatty and friendly get-together, which The Page has brought back into the light. The chef offers some of the typical dishes families favoured. Check them out on the menu, and be prepared to be happily surprised by new tastes and mouth-watering treats.

          

This is a restaurant that gives a glimpse into the rich past of Siam – the dishes that people loved and used to eat together, after gathering herbs and vegetables from their gardens and fish from the nearest coast – and what’s so amazing is how well it all translates into such a modern setting. To hope that this kind of fare will make a come-back and become mainstream again is a bit of a long shot, but when you eat at The Page, you’ll be thinking ‘why ever not?’

          

If The Page lends itself to recreating gourmet stories out of the country’s deep history, that doesn’t mean to say it’s forgotten guests who are hankering after international fare. Parallel to the treasure trove of Thai dishes you’ll find a brilliant selection of western ones. They’re no second fiddle either. There’s a full range, not just meats but fish too. Just try delights such as the highest quality Wagyu beef, comparable to Kobe beef. It’s ranked as MBS 9+. That sounds very academic but it’s tender enough to give rise to an experiment that sounds impossible - try cutting the meat using two fingers instead of a knife.

          

This may draw some bizarre looks from fellow diners but it proves another point too; The Page is a very relaxed kind of place, not at all formal. After all, the beach is just in front, and people come from there to eat and drink and shake off the sand and the heat.

          

The Page, with its offerings of both old and modern cuisine, always takes heed of the creative and isn’t afraid to offer traditional Siamese recipes along with modern international delights. It does both well, and whatever you order here, a great time is guaranteed.

          

                   

Dimitri Waring

 


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