Samui Wining & Dining
Building On Success

So successful is Prana Beach Resorts & Spa that it’s expanding across the road.


44Prana Beach Resorts & Spa is in Bangrak. And it has made the headlines for all the right reasons over the last year or so. Currently, there’re just 13 rooms and suites but work has already begun on a huge development programme that will add 60 more rooms, another restaurant, a roof-top spa, a new wine bar, a large swimming pool and conference and banqueting facilities.


It commands a wonderful position overlooking the whole bay around the northeastern part of the island and across to Big Buddha. And over the last 18 months their exclusively vegetarian restaurant, Amala, has garnered excellent reviews. General Manager, Wendy Phay, is delighted with their progress. “On an island that’s famous for its seafood and a whole host of international cuisines we faced a daunting challenge. Not only to overcome preconceptions of what modern vegetarian food is all about but also to convince locals and visitors that we can provide a first class dining experience. And that we are every bit as good other noted restaurants on the island. We focus on gourmet vegetarian cuisine that is tantalizing to the taste-buds and promotes inner wellness. It’s vegetarian with a twist and our kitchen team continues to prove the doubters wrong time and time again.”


Their menu fuses local produce with international styles and cooking techniques. And it handily highlights dishes that are suitable for vegans, ones aimed at lacto-vegetarians (no eggs) and creations that are signature dishes of Amala. There’re more than 50 choices on the menu and even choosing a soup could take some time, as there are so many, including a classic French onion soup and a spicy Thai one.


Appetizers also tip their hat to world cuisines, with an especially innovative steamed local asparagus with tahini and miso dressing. Even the half a dozen salads all sound great, and their signature Prana Salad with its avocado, quail eggs, roast garlic and peppers, foccacio croutons, shaved Parmesan, truffle oil and balsamic leads the show.


There’re also sandwiches, wraps and snacks, pasta and noodle dishes and other main courses influenced by the distinct flavours and aromas of Thailand, Malaysia, India, China, the USA (southern states) and the greater Asian-Pacific region. Desserts aren’t overlooked and you can look forward to delights such as baked tiramisu and orange and almond torte served with Chantilly cream, lemon sorbet and dragon fruit salsa.


Many of the creations incorporate salad leaves and herbs from their own hydroponic garden. And over the last year the team at Prana has been involved with Samui’s Green Island Project. They work with kids of all ages at a school in Nathon and have taught them how to recycle efficiently and how to make and maintain their own hydroponic garden. Wendy and the team are also working on further ideas that involve and benefit communities here and on the mainland. And while the new resort construction across the road is still in its early stages there’re clearly opportunities to work with Thai craftsmen and artisans on unique design concepts for the interiors.


“Our aim is for a rustic, modern Thai-style of architecture that is environmentally sound. We’ll use solar panels, have unobtrusive but effective ways of collecting rain water for use in the gardens and have an expanded hydroponic system. Further down the line, we’ll obviously be recruiting a significant amount of staff and part of their on-going training and development plan will include participation in our green projects.”


Back in the restaurant, the beverage team hasn’t sat by as the chefs’ toil away. Khun Kran manages the front-of-house team and in conjunction with one of the country’s leading wine suppliers they are working on a new wine list for the menu. In May they’re having a wine tasting event that will pair old and new world wines with the restaurant menu. It will be quite a challenge given all of the influences on the menu and the fact that they are all vegetarian dishes.


Khun Kran is also an accomplished mixologist and as well as fabulous cocktails he also shakes up great juices and smoothies. “I like to get away from the usual suspects that are on every cocktail list and sugar syrup is certainly out. I’ll often make use of seasonal fruits, vegetables and tropical herbs. One creation uses coconut milk, bananas, fresh milk and maple syrup; it’s like a liquid pancake. Another has fresh lychees, mangoes and beetroot and is a very healthy booster for your body. Our ‘Prana Hot Yoga’ cocktail has gin, ginger, fresh lime and kaffir-lime leaves and is very refreshing.” You can try them out during their daily happy hours, from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm, when you can buy-one-and-get-one-free, and that also applies to beers, wines and spirits. That works out at around 60 baht per beer and 100 baht for a cocktail. And you can relax on their deck and take in the views.


Prana Beach Resorts & Spa continues to go from strength to strength and until you visit there yourself, you really won’t be able to appreciate just how good it really is.


Johnny Paterson


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