Monday, January 26, 2009

Resort Dining at the Boathouse -- Phuket, Thailand


Resort Dining At The Boathouse In Phuket, Thailand

Resort Dining At The Boathouse In Phuket, Thailand

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Resort restaurants often fall into a number of different categories: novelty themes, stuffy haute cuisine or super casual beachside outlets being some of these. The Boathouse Wine & Grill in Phuket, Thailand is none of the above, al­though some of the elements of these types of restaurants are pre­sent.

The most striking feature of the Boathouse Wine & Grill is its loca­tion — right on the sand at lovely Kata Beach. It’s attached, of course, to The Boathouse, a 36-room hotel that offers guests a small, intimate retreat from the normal mega-hotel but including the usual amenities.

The other distinguishing feature of the restaurant is its award-win­ning wine list. The U.S.magazine Wine Spectator has presented it an Award of Excellence for having one of the best restaurant wine lists in the world. That’s pretty heady stuff for a small establishment like The Boathouse, but it’s certainly well­deserved as becomes evident when you peruse the list itself.

Let’s not forget the food, howev­er, as there is more to The Boathouse than a great view and some good vino. The eclectic mix of Thai and Western dishes pro­vides the right mix of casual and sophisticated dining without being too relaxed or too uptight. It fits in beautifully with the open-air dining area and the constant, gentle sound of the surf 30 meters away.

Each section of the menu except for the one labeled Meat contains an almost even mix of Thai and Western dishes. Appetizers, for ex­ample feature warm smoked salmon crepes and duck carpaccio alongside Kung Sarong (prawns with vermicelli) and Poo Grob (deep-fried crispy minced crab and prawns). You can alternate, as we did, from East to West as you make your way through the courses.

Soups include the traditional Tom Yum Kung and Tom Kha Gai Maprow Orn (chicken soup with coconut milk, ginger and lemon­grass) as well as gazpacho and vichyssoise, covering two ends of a broad spectrum. Seafood does the same, going from a poached salmon topped with a basil cream sauce to Phla Kaow Tod Bai Krapow (deep-fried garoupa with basil and chili garlic sauce). Whatever your tastes are, it would be dif­ficult not to find something on this menu that would satisfy you.

A good variety of Phuket lobster dishes, steak and lamb, poultry, noodles and pasta and even a vege­tarian section round out this menu, providing a great range of choices. We’re sure we could return here many times and always find some­thing new to try.

The wine cellar offers a great deal of choice also with approxi­mately 230 different bottles to pick from. If that size list seems a bit in­timidating to you, then the expert staff can help with a selection. A complete tour of the cellar, main­tained at a perfect 57 degrees Fahrenheit, revealed as well the knowledge that went behind putting together this collection of fine wines.

The list of French reds alone, is as large as many restaurant’s com­plete list. French whites are also strongly represented with Aus­tralian, Italian and California promi­nently featured as well. To round out the international nature of the list, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa and Spain are given some space too.

As with the whites, reds cover a very wide gamut of styles and countries. As well as the large French contingent, Italy and espe­cially Australia are well represented with California, Chile, South Africa and Spain included in lesser num­bers.

Eight different champagnes, led by Deutz, Moet and Taittinger highlight the list of sparkling en­tries with California and Australia on the list as well. All in all, it’s an enormous selection, not just in numbers but also in styles and vari­eties covered. We’re certain that Oenephiles would dine here just for the opportunity to try many of these wines. It’s definitely the most comprehensive we’ve seen yet in Thailand.

Even without the great food and wine here, the natural beauty of Kata Beach and the great sunsets would probably be enough to at­tract diners, When you add up all of the elements The Boathouse has to offer, however, you end with a lot more than just another resort restaurant; you get a complete din­ing experience that benefits from a superb location and provides guests with a memorable time.


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