Samui Wining & Dining
The BBC Proudly Presents

The new-look BBC Restaurant offers a lot more than just free sunsets.

24The signs say ‘Free Sunset at BBC’ and ‘Best Sunset on Samui’. Although no single restaurant has actually had the audacity to charge for viewing one before, there can’t be many places on the island better than BBC Restaurant where you can enjoy a sunset in such comfortable surroundings whilst eating such good food. And if there was such a place that you would ever consider paying to watch a sunset from, it would be there.

You might be wondering why it’s called BBC Restaurant. Is there a link to the famous British Broadcasting Company, maybe? Well, the worldwide broadcasters do stop off and eat there when they’re filming in the area, but the acronym actually stands for ‘Big Buddha Café’. And that’s because it’s located right next to the Big Buddha temple complex in Bangrak. The causeway to the temple starts virtually from the restaurant and from parts of the deck you can see the ornate archway itself. And the restaurant’s a prime spot for seeing the landmark statue of Big Buddha, floodlit at night, which is just a couple of hundred metres away.

BBC Restaurant has become an institution in itself and after extensive refurbishment, during which time it was closed for several months, it’s back again. It’s bigger, better and has more choice of seating than before. And it’s one of those very versatile places that offers somewhere perfect to sit for everyone. If you’re on your own with a loved one, you’ll find sitting at one of the beachside tables for two highly romantic. And if you’ve come with your family or a group of friends, you’ll have many options, too, including sitting on the expansive decking at one of the large tables or even in the new upstairs air-conditioned section (just give them 24 hours’ notice for the latter).

Meanwhile, on another upper deck, close to the spreading branches of a tamarind tree, there’s a generous-sized patio; again ideal for groups, and for those magnificent views across the sea. The tree’s quite a dominant presence at the restaurant and, interestingly, when the temple complex was being built, the monks used to sit here and find shade from the sun. And, incidentally, if you’re getting married, BBC’s also an ideal place to hold your reception, not just for the setting, but also for the excellent catering.

The menu’s extensive, to say the least. And it’s also written in Thai, English and Russian – oddly, not all establishments have their menu in Thai, even though this is Thailand. Whatever your language, you’ll need to sit back and read it carefully, as there’s a wide number of choices. The fare’s both Thai and International, including favourites from both cuisines.

Something else you should know before you begin ordering is that the portions are very generous. Order Thai prawn cakes, thod mun goong, for example, and your plate will arrive with four of them, larger than you’ll have seen in most other places – at BBC Restaurant they’re saucer-sized! A side salad’s included, too, as are sweet and spicy dipping sauces. Another excellent starter is the tomato and roast pumpkin soup which comes laced with sour cream. Again, a large portion, and perhaps more so as this is not just one soup but two, on the same plate, with the cream acting as a divide between the two hemispheres. According to the Australian chef, Dane, it’s a tricky item serve just right, keeping the two soups from mixing on the plate.

Dane, as you’ll quickly guess, has worked in some very prestigious restaurants and knows exactly how to make the food appetizing. If he has time to chat, you’ll find him very affable as well as knowledgeable on both Thai and International cuisine. And the service is very efficient at BBC Restaurant, too; you won’t have to wait hours between courses. The food arrives simply presented and is brought to your table by friendly waiting staff. 

For mains, there’s a large selection of tasty snacks, salads, tried and tested favourites of both Thai and International cuisine and a special Italian food section, including some great pizza and lasagna dishes. And if you’re a fish lover, then you’ll certainly enjoy the salmon steak with basil sauce and side salad. 

Whatever you order, don’t forget desserts. BBC Restaurant has a select range of them and they’re hard to resist (even if you have just got through a massive main course!). Order the chocolate mousse and it arrives as a mini-mountain topped with whipped cream – say adios to your dieting plans for the next day or so. You may try to kid yourself that you’ll share some of it with the people you’re dining with, but you won’t – it’s that delicious. Also highly popular is the apple pie (just like mum used to make) with custard or ice-cream.

By the way, you don’t need to wait for evening before you turn up at BBC Restaurant. It’s open from 9:00 am onwards. Enjoy the breakfasts here – they include an option where you can put together exactly what you want from a list of goodies. There are plenty of lunch items and snacks, naturally, and, since BBC Restaurant is also a place to drink, you can sample their wide range of cocktails as you savour one of the marvelous tropical sunsets – free, of course!


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