Offers both urban entertainment and idyllic tranquility in one of the most beautiful locations in the area
by Mick & Di, The Food Lovers
Pattaya Marriott Resort & Spa, that iconic hotel that has graced Second Road since 1978, when it was originally known as Royal Garden Resort, has been rebranded by Thailand’s Minor Hotels, thus reclaiming its asset that was its first hotel acquisition purchased some 38 years ago. Under the new name of AVANI Pattaya Resort & Spa it still retains its traditional Thai design and hospitality while also being refreshingly modern in style. It truly is an oasis of calm centred in the heart of Pattaya’s downtown excitement.
The Garden Cafe has recently been refurbished and is now a chic, cosy haven nestled on the terrace in the beautiful tropical gardens for al fresco enjoyment. The inside is comfortably furnished with seating areas and restful décor. Open from dawn till late, the whole gamut of all-day dining is here. In fact, although the restaurant opens at 6 am, all the breakfasts, Thai-style, the AVANI signature and continental are available for all-day munching including individual ordering of pho (the famous Vietnamese soup), khao tom, Thai rice soup, yakisoba noodles, and even French onion soup.
AVANI own their own hydroponic farm in the countryside of Huay Yai so you can be certain that the vegetables are literally fresh from the garden. We visited the other week and chose to sample their dinner buffet which is served every day from 6 to 10 pm. Price-wise it costs B.850 net from 6 to 7:30 pm and from 7:30 to 10 pm is only B.650 net. We chose to start with a salad, crisp and vibrant as only hydroponic can be. We followed this with BBQ prawns, big, tender and juicy with those essential charred spots that bring out the sweetness and flavour. The buffet was packed with Thai salads, traditional curries such as chicken in coconut milk and massaman or fish red curries plus loads of mixed vegetables. Also presented are many varieties of rice dishes, a popular noodle station serving stir-fried soba noodles with a choice of chicken, prawn or vegetables plus an ocean of polar fresh seafood, BBQ fish and Chinese red pork. Then, of course there’s the dessert table laden with beautifully crafted confections and pastries.
Our main courses were served from the extensive a la carte menu. Chef had chosen two fish dishes for us, grilled butterfish with miso sauce and sea bass with masala sauce (B.390). The passion fruit masala was a delightful accompaniment to the pan-fried fish and the butterfish, lightly grilled, was complemented with subtly steamed vegetables and an interesting riceberry rice. This is a new variety of rice that has been bred in Thailand; it’s a gorgeous dark reddy brown colour and packed with nutrition. These dishes are available under the heading “Honest Food” where the ingredients speak for themselves their quality and freshness shining through. Pumpkin risotto with asparagus, truffle paste and walnuts is an interesting option plus oven-baked chicken breast served with grilled asparagus, potatoes and sun-dried tomato tapenade (B.350) also appear under this headline. Grilled items include an array of fish (Norwegian salmon), premium steaks, Australian Angus rib-eye, tenderloin and T-bone with a choice of New Zealand lamb cutlets and organic pork cutlets.
The Thai menu comes highly recommended with many atypical dishes such as Thod Mun Sam Sahai, a mousse with fried shrimp, crab and pork served with kaffir lime leaves and chilli paste with a portion of plum sauce on the side. Next time, we’re definitely going to plump for this starter. Spicy papaya salad is there, naturally, as is a larb with either chicken or pork. There’s also a trio of “local” curries such as clear soup with minced pork, tofu, spring onion and celery, spicy river prawn curry flavoured with chilli, lemongrass and lime, or Tom Kha Gai (chicken curry with galangal, lemongrass and coconut milk) and that’s just the appetizers. The heartier offerings present a deluxe Phuket lobster wok-fried with onion, celery and yellow curry powder, massaman curry served with a fusion twist of mashed potatoes and wok-fried asparagus with black mushrooms.
To round off a perfect meal why not treat yourself to a duet of chocolate enhanced with raspberry coulis, tiramisu, or sweet mango and sticky rice. Most desserts are only B.170 net and the informative menu tells you whether the dish contains nuts, is spicy or suitable for vegetarians.
AVANI Pattaya Resort & Spa is a 5-star hotel located in the heart of the city centre but with its lush tropical gardens and panoramic views over the beach, it offers both urban entertainment and idyllic tranquility in one of the most beautiful locations in the area.