January is upon us, which means it’s the start of a new year, which therefore means it’s time to get out of Bangkok and do some travelling. Exploring within Thailand is always a great travel option, as there’s such a variety of landscapes and attractions to explore. If you’re having trouble deciding in which direction to head, maybe these four recently opened, out-of-town, dining spots – all F&B venues that are located within luxurious top tier quality hotels – will be enough to tempt you to book a trip to either neighbouring Hua Hin, beautiful Chiang Mai in the north, or the pristine beaches of Koh Samui in the south and Phuket.
Located at the spectacular Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, Char by Four Seasons is a new restaurant that focuses on farm-to-table ingredients and premium cuts of meat, including rare grass-fed Thai Wagyu. With more than 60 percent of the ingredients – including figs, tomatoes and herbs – sourced from local farms within minutes of the resort, Char stays true to the Four Seasons’ overall promise of responsible, sustainable practices. From the flatware to the steak knives, everything has been made in Thailand. Executive Chef Liam Nealon has spent the last six months crafting the dining experience, while Sous Chef Marco Avesani brings to the menu his typical Italian flair. Of course, as the name Char suggests, grilled meats are a big part of the dining experience and the beautifully decorated fire pit, designed by acclaimed architect and landscape designers Bill Bensley and Jirachai Rengthong, is the restaurant’s pièce de résistance. As for cocktails, Beverage Ambassador Philip Bischoff delivers the exotic flavours of Northern Thailand. From smoked rosemary to cherry bark, and even char-grilled pineapples, there’s a tropical twist to every sip.
The recent opening of Long Dtai – Thai for “heading south” – means one more reason to head south and visit beautiful Koh Samui. Located within the private island confines of the glamorous Cape Fahn Hotel, this dinner-only, 60-seat, upscale but casual restaurant sits on the crest of the island, offering diners spectacular views overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. The superstar talent behind the stoves is none other than Michelin-starred chef David Thompson (formerly of Nahm), who promises to showcase the rich culinary traditions of Southern Thailand – and not hold back on the spices! With an emphasis on local, humanely caught seafood, and organic produce including indigenous herbs and vegetables, the daily changing menu is based not on traditional recipes but on what’s freshest and tastiest that day. Don’t miss trying the Southern curry minced pork with green peppercorn, the boiled tamarind with fresh shrimp, and the grilled mussels Southern style.
The InterContinental Hua Hin Resort has just unveiled their new and improved Pirom restaurant, with an updated dining concept that highlights Thailand’s distinctive culinary as well as cultural heritage. The Chef de Cuisine is Jasvir San-Ghera, better known as Chef Mama Duu, a kitchen talent who has made appearances as a judge on Iron Chef Thailand and on cooking shows like Thailand’s Khun Toi Kitchen, China’s Chef Nic, and Australia’s Luxury Escapes. Pirom’s new concept puts special focus on Thailand’s four culinary regions – North, South, Central and Northeast – and among the many highlights on chef Mama Duu’s menu are traditional favourites such as mieng khum and khao mok kai, and Thai cuisine specialties including ped rom kwan rad sauce ma kham, and panna cotta nam tan ta-node. The décor and design elements, such as exquisite ceramic tableware, complement the restaurant’s stylish yet relaxed setting; making Pirom perfect for special occasion get togethers. Open daily from noon to 3:30pm for lunch, and from 6:30pm to 10:30pm for dinner.
At the lovely Anantara Layan Phuket Resort, situated on Phuket’s serene northwest coast, a new grill restaurant has opened and its name is Age. The name refers in part to the climate-controlled dry ageing process that gives texture and aroma to select cuts of meat, but also to both the cheese and the delicately cured seafood and cold cuts hung in the charcuterie room. Executive Chef Wade James takes guests on a culinary journey that includes the most exquisite meats, the finest locally caught seafood, handcrafted cocktails, and the very best wines from around the world – a total of sixty premium vintage and new world wines curated by Age’s award-winning sommelier. The boldness of the cuisine is matched only by the striking interior, which is dominated by dark woods, rusted steel and raw leather, creating an industrial look more akin to a warehouse restaurant on New York’s Lower East Side. But views of the spectacular Phuket sunset sinking into the Andaman Sea are always there to remind you that you’re still in Thailand.