Samui Wining & Dining
SOAR WITH THE EAGLES!
9Gems Lounge Restaurant offers a sophisticated private dining experience, with views to match the setting.


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Why gobble with turkeys when you could soar with the eagles? This is a saying that comes to mind when visiting 9Gems Lounge Restaurant. It’s most certainly not an establishment that caters to the masses, and that’s not their goal. Rather, co-owner Khun Sathit Muangprom has created a loungecum- restaurant that could happily entertain movie stars, and here’s why.

      But where to start? Well, the interior and design would be the most obvious choice, as there’s nothing quite like it on Samui. There are areas that are opulent, and areas where the appeal is in the simplicity of the minimalistic design. Khun Sathit has a flair for style. He’s flamboyant and comfortable with his own unique look - which is mirrored in the restaurant’s interior. He appreciates that just because a piece is functional, doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful too, so no expense has been spared in the furnishings and fittings of 9Gems. You’ll see Philippe Starck chairs, chandeliers, oversized silver candlesticks and other collectibles all sourced as if for his own home – which 9Gems is too. Khun Sathit not only did the interior himself, but also the architectural design, only taking his ideas to an architect to be put to scale.

9Gems is designed to international standards, and would quite easily slot into an exclusive Hollywood neighbourhood, not only with its look but also with its food and drink offerings, as well as the clientele that it entertains. Khun Sathit has his own apartment on the second floor of 9Gems. “It’s like having a private dinner party at home each night,” he says. And this is how guests will experience 9Gems too, as he personally looks after each table, making them feel welcome and at home. He’s very particular about service, and personally does training sessions with all staff – many of whom are family members.

          Khun Sathit was born and raised on Samui. However, after school he left to explore the world and studied hotel and tourism management in Zurich, which is where he met his life partner, and business partner in 9Gems, Peter Krebs. He’s passed his cooking, bread-making and patisserie skills on to his niece who now works in the 9Gems kitchen, allowing Khun Sathit to do what he loves best - mingle with the guests in his home-cum-restaurant. Although Samui born and bred, he’s got a cosmopolitan soul and learnt a lot from his travels. Khun Sathit spends a lot of time training his staff to meet international standards when it comes to service, but still keep their charm that the locals are known for. His family still lives in Hua Thanon on the island. Sathit says his mother has given him the wings to fly, but having her close by keeps him grounded.

          The lounge opens at 4:00 pm, and it’s a good idea to arrive before sunset to witness Samui’s changing colours. 9Gems offers phenomenal views in all directions and gives an interesting perspective of the island. But not only do Samui’s colours change as the sun sets, but the chill areas come to life, appearing as if transported to the Scandinavia and the magical Northern Lights. No expense has been spared when it comes to the lighting of the restaurant and outdoor areas, and as you look, the lights are constantly changing, be they those in the infinity pool, hidden under balustrades, highlighting steps or focused on the trees.

          There are several areas for guests to enjoy. Tables are set out alongside the pool, as well as chill beds to literally recline under the stars and enjoy the expansive cocktail list. Go up a flight of stairs, and the already breathtaking view gets even better. Here again, there’s a champagne deck with tables and reclining areas. But those that want something truly special can book the private dining table on the very top floor, accessed by way of a spiral staircase. Here you feel as though you can touch the stars as you sit way above the Samui skyline and look down on the folk below. If you feel like splashing out on a special occasion, this is the place to do it.

          There’s no rush when dining at 9Gems. Khun Sathit believes in one sitting – it’s a dinner party after all, so guests are encouraged to linger longer over another drink and truly enjoy the experience, rather than being hurried away to make way for other guests. For those that don’t want to drive home after an evening of indulgence, they can rent the two-bedroom villa and make a night of it. The rooms are beautifully furnished as if an extension of Khun Sathit’s own apartment upstairs, and there’s the added bonus of a personal butler to make you feel even more like a superstar for the night.

          The cellar selection is vast at 9Gems, as is the choice of cocktails, ranging from basic to exotic concoctions. The food menu is fusion, with a distinct Mediterranean feel, and, as well as the dinner menu, there’s a lighter tapas menu. The gnocchi is particularly good, as is the risotto, and the macaroons have their own following and fan group. The venue can be hired for private functions, making an ideal intimate location for a special event. Individual areas can also be hired out for smaller parties, such as the lounge, or the rooftop. Khun Sathit limits the numbers for bookings, seldom taking more than 30 guests at once, which keeps the venue exclusive and private.

          So if you’re looking for a hip and happening place to splash some cash, while listening to London underground lounge and chill-out music, and sip on the best bubbly, then 9Gems is the place to go. Remember to wear your trendiest garb and prepare to rub shoulders with the rich and famous!

 

 Rosanne Turner


 


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