Samui Wining & Dining
Super Sibling
Nowadays, Bo Phut Resort & Spa is every bit as good as its elder sister,
Santiburi Resort and Country Club.

 

88Being the younger sibling of a highly successful older brother or sister is not easy. Just how do you follow in the footsteps of someone who’s perceptibly done everything right? Others constantly acclaim their achievements. You live in their shadow and the inevitable comparisons will be made with your performance. Yes it’s hard but, just as with top sports stars, like the Williams sisters in tennis, and the Neville brothers in English football, the elder can pave the way for the younger to flourish. And this was certainly the case with Bo Phut Resort & Spa, and its groundbreaking elder sibling, Santiburi Resort and Country Club.

 

Santiburi Resort was one of the first 5-star hotels on Samui and was the brainchild of Khun Santi Bhirom Bhakdi, also the owner of Thailand’s famous Singha Beer. And in the mid-1990s, the hotel set the bar high for luxury accommodation and fine dining on the island. In 2005, following the successful opening of its highly regarded and world-class golf course, the Santiburi Group opened the smaller sister hotel, Bo Phut Resort & Spa. It’s located a little further along the beach on the Maenam/ Bophut border. With a separate management team, their task was to find their own style and niche. And that’s exactly what they did. Especially in the food and beverage department.

 

Headed up by F&B Manager, Khun Toy, and Swiss Chef de Cuisine, Dominic Fuchs, the department’s two restaurants offer its diners a very focused, attentive and creative dining experience. The first eatery, housed in a very classical Thai wooden building beside a lotus pond, is ‘Sala Thai’. Open for dinner only, this signature Thai restaurant serves authentic Thai cuisine in a truly romantic atmosphere. Traditional entertainment, often in the form of the mellow, harp-like Thai musical instrument – the khim, adds to the soothing ambience. As does the elegant and courteous staff members, dressed in traditional Thai uniforms. There’s an air-conditioned area, ideal for the hot season, and seating is also available outside next to the quintessential lotus pond. The Sala Thai menu offers a wide choice of Thai culinary classics. Both the set dinner menus for two people are great options, with selections of six and seven different dishes, respectively, each including jasmine steamed rice and a dessert. The à la carte menu composes of tempting Thai salads, soups, noodle and rice dishes, and meat and seafood main courses. Beautiful decorative Thai chinaware is used, and candle powered hotplates keep dishes warm. Cleary, an evening here is to be savoured. And vibrant Thai dishes are best ingested slowly, whilst enjoying the authentic and magical Thai experience the restaurant oozes.

 

The second restaurant at Bo Phut Resort & Spa is L’Ocean and, as its name suggests, is idyllically located by the sea. As this is the resort’s main restaurant, it’s used for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as being the bar and beachside terrace dining area. Spacious and airy, with many different sections, this restaurant is exactly what most holidaymakers want. It’s relaxed, comfortable and informal, but professional and picturesque at the same time.

 

With the idyllic tropical ambience in place, the other two essential sides of the perfect dining triangle, the food and the service, are taken well care of by the personnel involved in each. Chef Dominic is the son and prodigy of Andy Muller, himself a well known chef on Samui acclaimed for his Chez Andy restaurant on Chaweng Beach Road. And although Dominic is an accomplished chef in his own right (he’s a graduate of the respected Lausanne hotel school in Switzerland), it must help a little having a respected father with invaluable local knowledge in the industry (and, no doubt, insider tips on where to find the best food and beverage suppliers!). Chef Dominic describes his cooking style as French-inspired. And his dishes have that modern light touch, which moved away from those heavier French classics a couple of decades ago. And this style is, naturally, absolutely suited for Samui’s hot climate.

 

The appetizing lunch menu is nicely varied, with an emphasis on salads, sandwiches, pizzas, pastas and lighter main courses, perfect for informal dining any time of day. The extensive dinner menu is more sophisticated. Often a blend of French and Italian styles, with dishes such as the Seared Duck Foie Gras, Carpaccio of Tuna Nicoise, Light Lobster Bisque and Gnocchi all Gorgonzola all showing the Franco Italian inspirations. But the menu has many other influences, too, with both the Kobe Beef Lasagna and the Japanese Tuna Sashimi with Mango and Seaweed giving a nod the land of the rising sun. And the Grilled Black Angus Beef Fillet with Pommes Lorettes and the Australian Lamb Rack with Walnut Brioche and Ratatouille both marry Aussie favourites with French classics. Whereas, the Californian-sounding Surf & Turf Beef Fillet and Black Tiger Prawns, actually incorporates flavours from around the world, with its Hollandaise and red wine reduction, young shallots, asparagus and bok choy and root vegetables accompaniment. And with his insistence on using only the gorgeous Mövenpick ice-cream, Dominic shows his loyalty to his home country. And his forté is tailor-making menus for special occasions. He proudly tells of how romantic dinners for two on the beach have led to many a successful marriage proposal!

 

Food and Beverage Manager, Khun Toy, is also a very experienced and hard working professional. She started as a ‘bus girl’ at the Santiburi Resort when it first opened and over the years has progressed through the ranks of waitress, captain, supervisor and before finally becoming the F&B manager at Bo Phut Resort & Spa (which she’s been since its opening). A charming and confident lady, she knows very well what her Western guests prefer. The breakfast buffet contains all the little details and choices people love in the mornings. And theme nights include seafood extravaganzas and barbecues on the beach. Her service team is efficient and polite, but have that disarmingly Thai style friendly way, which makes most people instantly relax, and feel at ease ordering with them.

 

Khun Toy’s Bar Supervisor, Khun Lit, is another key team member. With experience of working in Germany, he specialises in cocktails. And when asked to recommend a cocktail, he proudly suggests both the ‘One Night in Bangkok’, a variation on Pina Colada, but with apricot brandy, served in a pineapple, and also the chocoholic’s dream, ‘Chocolate Heaven’, vodka, Kahlua, Baileys and chocolate ice-cream all fighting for attention inside a chilled coconut.

 

With these culinary delights, and the luxurious accommodation, it’s clear that Santiburi’s younger sibling is now fully grown up. In fact, Bo Phut Resort & Spa is now just as good as Santiburi – and that’s saying something!

 

Peter Jame.

 


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