Thursday 19 November 2009

Alice in Phuket

Taking a break from the Chiang Mai foodie scene, I took a holiday with my family from Oz to the resort island of Phuket. I was not the organiser of this trip, so I just sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the ride, which is nice for a change! ..and since I was so busy just before, I didn't get a chance to research Phuket restaurants.

There was, however, one restaurant that we discovered on our first trip last year, and we couldn't wait to go back to this time, and that was Lotus, at Bangtao Beach. As for the other restaurants, we went by the recommendation of our driver, Khun Mon, which turned out to be quite good (mostly!).

Lotus Restaurant, Bangtao Beach, Phuket

Lotus Restaurant is an independent fine dining restaurant right on Bangtao Beach serving seafood, Thai food, as well as burgers and steaks. There is something for every one, even the non-seafood lover!

The restaurant is situated just behind the Laguna Resorts complex, which consists of various resorts and hotels including the Sheraton and Dusit Thani, and I'd say most of the clientele comes from Laguna.

At this point, most of you may think, "tourist restaurant", which means may be OK food and exorbitant prices. Not so at all. I'd count it as one of my favourite restaurants in Thailand (not that I have been to THAT many, mind you, and I've only been to a handfull of restaurants in Phuket). Not only is the view from Lotus is stunning, the food, especially the seafood, is fantastic.

As we arrived quite early (5:30pm) for the sunset, we started of with drinks and entrees of various Thai staples - Deep fried prawn cakes, Beef Salad, Spring rolls, Tom Yum Koong - all of which were lovely. The prawn cakes were quite large, firm in texture, and delicious. The beef in the Beef Salad was tender and had a smokey flavour. My favourite was the Tom Yum Koong (Prawn tom yum soup) - the fragrant soup was concentrated with flavour. Mmmm.

For the mains, we chose:

Fried Tiger Prawns with Garlic and Black Pepper - the prawns were the largest I have ever seen, weighing in at a whopping 200g each! ...and oh, it was so good! The flesh was firm and sweet, and went perfectly with the fried garlic and black pepper. We kept piling the garlic on the prawns with each bite (and sometimes just eating the garlic by itself!). The prawns were served with a chilli sauce, but we didn't need it.

Raw Oyster served with lime, chilli sauce, garlic and crispy shallot. Again, the oysters were huge. I've only ever had raw oyster with lemon juice, but the combination of lime, chilli sauce, raw garlic and crispy shallot seemed to work. I quite enjoyed the combination of flavours and crunch from the crispy shallot on the oyster.

Fried Mudcrab with Curry Powder. Another huge dish, as the crab was 2.2kg! The largest mudcrab I've ever seen, and even if it wasn't the best curry crab I've had, it was still great. The crab meat was lovely and sweet, and the sauce - delicious on rice..let's just say there weren't much left!

After that, the 7 of us (and one 2- year old) were extremely full. The total price came to 6,600 baht. Great value, considering the excellent seafood and the location. I'd highly recommend this restaurant when you go to Phuket. I'll certainly go back on my next visit.

Booking is highly recommended. The restaurant also has a free shuttle service from Laguna area.

Lotus Restaurant.
Open daily from 11:00am-11:30pm
31/13 Moo 4 Cherngtalay
Thalang, Phuket, Thailand
Tel: 081 797 3110, 076-362625-6
(On-line reservation also available)

Other restaurant we enjoyed in Phuket:

Pah Yaah Thai Restaurant

This restaurant commands a great view from a cliff overlooking the ocean and the famous Patong Beach. It's in a more convenient location (closer to town) than Lotus.

There is a variety of food - Thai, seafood, as well as burgers (which looked rather sad in the display fridge - but I'm sure it'll look and taste better when made fresh to order). The Thai food is great there, and not expensive, pricing at a similar level to Lotus.

Our favourites were the Musaman Curry, the huge (and very tender) satays and steamed oysters. The Pad Kee Mao (Stir fried "drunken noodles" with mushroom) was also great.

We had Beef Salad at both Lotus and Pah Yaah, and found that the Lotus' beef were more tender and had a smoky flavour, while Pah Yaah's had the tougher beef but a tastier, more strongly flavoured (and spicier!) salad.

The total for the 7 of us (and one 2 year-old) came to about 2500 baht (no seafood).

Pan Yaah Thai Restaurant
249 Prabaramee Rd.
Patong, Phuket 83150
Tel: 076 290450-1
1.5km from Patong Novotel on Beach Rd to Kamala

NC Bakery and Food

This restaurant was recommended by our driver. On first look, the food, displayed buffet style, didn't look too appetising, however, we were also able to order a-la-carte and decided to give the restaurant a go, and we were glad we did!

NC serves local Phuket / Southern Thai food. They serve excellent "Knom Jean", a rice noodle and curry dish, served with a large basket of fresh vegies - yes, a basket! Other dishes we enjoyed were - Phuket style hokkien noodles and Pineapple fried rice (very good with lots of curry powder). The "Khao Yum" - a sort of southern style rice and vegie salad was also good, but dressing a little too sweet. The dressing is served on the side, so you can always put less of it. Their "Hor Mok", I was told, was also excellent (unfortunately I missed out on it!!).

This turned out to be our cheapest meal, costing only around 500 baht for 7 people and the 2 year old.

We enjoyed it so much we went back the next day for breakfast! Note- this is a Thai breakfast - steamed buns, Khao Yum, Knom Jean, etc. They can also make fried eggs and toast on request.

NC Bakery & Food
183/6 Phangna Rd
Talad Yai, Muang, Phuket
076 224 668

Do you have a favourite restaurant in Phuket? Please share with us the restaurants you enjoy (or the ones we should avoid!).

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