Urban enjoyment in the heart of Pattaya City
by Mick & Di, The Food Lovers
Way back in 1983, Thailand’s leading retail group, Central Group of Companies, formed Central Hotels and Resorts and in the same year opened its first property in the developing northern suburbs of Bangkok. The company’s meteoric growth has resulted in its establishing a network of deluxe and first-class properties nationwide. There are now 43 properties in Thailand, 33 in operation and 10 under development.
The very latest hotel to join the company’s hospitality portfolio in Pattaya is Centara Azure Hotel. This stunning city hotel lies to the east of The Avenue and to the west of the bright lights of Soi Buakhaow. For urbanite visitors and tourists the location puts them within walking distance of scores of restaurants, fitness centres, bowling and a state-of-the-art cinema.
Mick and I were invited to visit their flagship restaurant and all-day dining outlet Atlantis recently and were so impressed not only with the friendliness of all the staff but the spectacular aqua-décor of the huge column aquarium that dominates the centre of the restaurant. We sat right by this fishy entertainment and the sheer variety and number of the exotic fish kept us amused all evening.
We opened with a more than generous Black Tiger Prawn Salad (B.250). Big, fleshy BBQ prawns were stacked atop a technicolour salad of cherry tomatoes, chopped mangos and coriander and flashed with Balsamic dressing. Fresh, tasty and vibrant, it made the ideal starter. The kitchen also prepares a Classic Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella Salad with garlic confit and house-made pesto sauce that would also have fitted the bill nicely (B.210).
For a healthy delicious lunchtime snack, the menu offers some interesting wraps and sandwiches. The Indonesian Chicken Wrap (B.185) highlights grilled, marinated chicken with lettuce, peanut salsa and shavings of shallots and cucumber or the big house signature Ciabatta Club (B.250) is full to bursting with chicken, crispy bacon, fried egg, lettuce, tomato and coated with garlic mayo. Their Classic Beef Burger (B.250) or Jalapeno Popper (B.290) for that extra kick were popular choices on the night we were there, as were their beer (Singha) battered fish and chips (B.180) with potato wedges.
The Thai menu is a gratifying mix of the very best gourmet versions of the traditional dishes. For instance, the Geang Massaman showcases 24 hours braised best beef with onions and potatoes and scented with cinnamon and star anise. While the Tom Yum offers a choice of three versions using Tiger Prawns (B.320), Chicken (B.180) or Tofu (B.160). The herb-infused broth has been charged with galangal and lemongrass and treated to the added element of roasted chilli oil.
We were then served a bowl of spaghetti pesto with garlic bread (B.180) which we enjoyed, especially the house-made sauce. All pasta dishes are handmade and cut and can be ordered with their variety of sauces with spaghetti, penne or tagliatelle. This was followed by roasted Norwegian salmon served with a very well made Béarnaise sauce. Beef lovers would be well served with the Australian tenderloin coming in at 200 grams, being seasoned with Himalayan pink salt and black pepper and served for a very reasonable B.400. Other main courses include schnitzel, pepper pork tenderloin, Australian pepper steak and lots of other very competitively priced meat dishes.
For the sweetest ending we chose a chocolate truffle gelato accompanied by fresh kiwi fruit and chocolate sauce, don’t miss it.
Centara Azure is an extremely stylish modern hotel set in the heart of Pattaya City. Design features (especially the aquarium column) are stunning, the staff professional and friendly and the kitchen is dedicated to producing excellent cuisine with deluxe creative touches.