Samui Wining & Dining
Totally Twisted
Food is presented in a novel way at Twisted Thai –
Samui’s highly innovative ‘restaurant with a difference’.


Totally TwistedFood ‘with a twist’. It’s one of those restaurant terms that can and does cover almost anything and it’s become a popular trend in recent years. It basically means taking a standard dish and putting an individual take or ‘twist’ to it. And that can be creating something completely new from scratch in a fine dining restaurant– or serving a classic pub grub dish in a slightly different style down the local. The twist, it seems, can be anything that’s even slightly different.


Some restaurants, of course, take the idea of twisting their menu almost as a challenge. And it’s a fairly safe bet that not many restaurants go as far with this concept as Twisted Thai does. It’s the signature restaurant at the Imperial Samui Beach Resort, in Chaweng Noi, and probably one of the most inventive restaurants on Samui. As the name suggests, it serves Thai food but with a twist. Sounds simple enough. But at Twisted Thai, this is at lot more than just adding a different ingredient to a curry or presenting a spicy seafood salad in a different layout. Here, the whole concept of the food has been redesigned and changed, in every way imaginable. It’s prepared differently, cooked differently and it’s definitely presented differently. The only constants are the ingredients.


Marc Groh, the Food & Beverage Manager at Imperial Samui, says it’s all about taking every single ingredient and thinking about how it can be prepared and presented differently. The official term is ‘reconstructed’ cooking, meaning the traditional way of cooking a well-known food is reconstructed bit by bit and ingredient by ingredient. So, whilst you might order a classic Thai dish with all the ingredients included, it won’t come arrive in the normal format. The texture will be different, it will have been cooked using the newest technologies and the ingredients will have been fused together in a way you won’t have seen anywhere else.


Take the Thai classic yellow beef curry dish Panang Nuea, for example, which is the first thing on the mains menu. Ask for this anywhere else and you’ll get what you’d expect – a creamy, coconut-based curry complete with the usual spices and vegetables and fluffy jasmine rice on the side. Not so at Twisted Thai. For the Panang Nuea here, Marc explains, the beef is minced and blended with the spices, then formed into a patty and served as a burger in a sticky rice bun. There’s banana ‘ketchup’ on the side, whilst the coconut that would normally go into the curry is served as a coconut mayonnaise and a mini coconut milkshake. Sweet potato chips and kaffir lime chips are also there, presented in American style.


Another very popular classic Thai dish with a difference is Tom Kha Gai, the coconut chicken soup that will look the same in every restaurant. It blends spices, coconut milk, lemongrass and galangal. But here, it’s made of deep-fried chicken skin, which you dip with Espuma foam made up of the coconut and the other ingredients. “It doesn’t look anything like Tom Kha Gai,” Marc says. “But when the customer tries it, they get the exact taste they’d expect if they had the soup served in a traditional way, the same mix of the chicken and the coconut.”


There’s also their interpretation of Yum Talay, which anywhere else would be a regular Thai seafood salad, which is twisted into a farce, wrapped in crispy salmon skin and then pan-fried and served with seafood sauce fluid gel. Then there’s the Gloe Buad Chee, a galama banoffee that’s normally served as a jelly but appears here as a cake. And finally, if you order a starter as well as a main course at Twisted Thai, you’ll also get a complimentary starter dish of chicken or prawn satay. But this will not be bits of meat or fish delicately placed in skewers. Here, it’s an ice cream.


“We serve the prawn satay as a single scoop of ice-cream on red cucumber pickle,” Marc says. “We add prawn cracker powder to it and serve the whole thing with dry ice. It’s one of our most popular dishes with guests as it’s very visual and makes a great photograph.”


It’s easy to imagine a somewhat puzzled guest sitting at their table, wondering where their panang curry is when a beefburger and chips arrives, or why they’ve been brought ice-cream when they were expecting chicken satay. But this is never an issue, as Marc explains.


“Most of our guests have read our reviews and are very aware that this is an innovative restaurant where food will be presented differently – this is why they come.” He continues, “And our chef presents the food at the guests’ tables himself, explaining step-by-step of how the dish was developed and prepared, and the overall concept behind it. That’s always well appreciated and very popular.”


And the final twist in the Twisted Thai tale is that you get terrific value-for-money here too, with the reasonable prices keeping everyone more than happy. Sampling all the appetisers, over and over again if you want, works out at just 870 baht, whilst trying five of them as a starter selection is only 470 baht. The mains are between 425 and 600 baht and the desserts average at around 250. There’s also a set menu option offering six of the most popular dishes on the menu for 999 baht. And, as Marc points out, all the prices are all-inclusive of taxes and any other charges that are often lumped on at the end in other restaurants, so what you see on the menu at Twisted Thai really is what you pay. There’s even a romantic beach dining option, where a four-course meal in a private cabana for two plus a bottle of wine is delivered to the beachside at a cost of just 4,000 baht per couple.


Lisa Cunningham


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