Glancing back at 2013

by Mick & Di,

The Food Lovers

thefoodloverspattayatoday@msn.com

Glancing back at our reviews in 2013 we were amazed to discover how many restaurants we reviewed were signature establishments in hotels rather than standalone bistros or restaurants. Gone are the days of yore when Basil Fawlty and his trusty waiter Manual and chef  Terry bumbled through their service patronising and even insulting their guests, hilarious as it was, times have changed and changed dramatically too. Certainly here in Pattaya five-star hotel dining has never been better. Hotels now strive as much for independent recognition as they do to offer hotel guests a showpiece culinary outlet. Even the accepted practice of “plus, plus” is dwindling and gourmet meals and wine dinners are offered at competitive prices. Here are a few of the hotel restaurants in which we had the pleasure to dine during 2013.

Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort on Wong Amat beach, North Pattaya, is host to a coterie of restaurants offering the gamut of all day dining to the excellence of their Italian signature restaurant, Acqua. Chef Alberto has carved out a special niche for Acqua. He choreographs the restaurant with professionalism and style and his signature dishes dazzle with contemporary chefery. The abundance of impeccably-sourced luxury ingredients contributes to place this stylish restaurant firmly in Pattaya’s upper culinary circle. A 3-course meal for one without drinks would cost in the region of B.1,200.

Tel: 038 301 234 or visit www.centarahotelsresorts.com.

Centara Grand Phratamnak Resort in Soi 5, Phratamnak Hill is the latest and glitziest member of the group to open in Pattaya. Situated on the penthouse floor (9th) with stunning views, extraordinary décor complete with moon jelly fish aquariums, it presents progressive Italian cuisine with chef Luca Pulese’s contemporary twist. The food is truly amazing showcasing the traditions of classical Italian cuisine but with cutting edge cooking. This is a stunning addition to Pattaya’s entire restaurant landscape. A 3-course meal here (without drinks) would cost in the region of B.1,200. There is also a pizza menu.

Tel: (038) 306 337 or visit www.centarahotelsresorts.com.

The Hilton Pattaya is another dazzling venue. The astonishing Horizon Restaurant and Lounge floats atop the architectural phenomenon that is Hilton Pattaya. This is a top table dining destination on so many levels. Situated on the 34th floor with jaw dropping views over the bay of Pattaya it is one extraordinary venue with an haute cuisine to rival any. While chefs in their Flare restaurant have dug deep into their traditional roots to produce a menu of “resurgence” Thai cuisine reintroducing the flavours and ingredients of yesteryear. Thaitastic flavours with astounding presentations. Daily changing gourmet buffet lunches and dinners are offered in The Edge restaurant with exceedingly reasonable prices starting at B.420 net for weekday brunches with the full scale gourmet Sunday brunch receiving many accolades.

Tel: (03) 825 3000 or visit www.pattaya.hilton.com.

Mantra Restaurant & Bar, although a standalone restaurant, is under the auspices of the Amari Orchid Pattaya. Its originality lies in the fact that it comprises of seven regional specific kitchens offering Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Mediterranean (including pizzas), the grill and lava stone area plus the huge fish tanks. The ambiance is chic trendy and dynamic. It can be relaxed and cool in the main dining area, private and intimate snuggled into one of the romantic coves on the upper balcony, or an evening of candlelit enjoyment on the al fresco terrace. Sunday brunch comes highly recommended. It is a popular stylish venue offering a wealth of cuisines, to suit all pockets, served in a beautifully chic architectural phenomenon. A three-course meal for one (without drinks) would cost in the region of B.800.

Tel: (038) 429 591 or visit www.mantra-pattaya.com.

The Royal Cliff’s award-winning restaurants offer gourmet cuisine from around the world:  Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Italian, Thai and new world European, but the jewel in the crown must be their Royal Grill Room & Wine Cellar. From the moment you enter and are shown to your table (ladies receiving an orchid corsage) you just intuitively know how wonderful the evening is going to be. From its stylish interior bedecked in the richness of teakwood and the soaring arched windows, the cool wine cellar, the sound of the resident pianist tinkling the ivories, it just oozes with luxury, extravagance and pleasure. The daily set 3- and 4-course menu is a charmer and at only B.750++ and B.850 ++ respectively is also a real bargain.

Tel: (038) 250 421 or visit www.royalcliff.com. Closed Tuesdays.

Pullman Pattaya Hotel G has a different culinary event most nights of the week in their Beach Club Restaurant but one of our favourites is their Tuesday night Bistro menu. This 3-course set menu is B.690 net with bottles of French wine from B.450 or by the glass B.100. This weekly changing gourmet menu offers luxurious and extravagant choices. From the appetisers, Mick chose the Parma ham and Brie cheese while I opted for the pan seared foie gras with maple syrup and summer greens. Both were top notch items worthy of any fine dining restaurant. The foie gras in particular with its silky richness was absolutely sublime. Seafood and porcini chowder soup was another option or seared beef tenderloin served with Provencal vegetables. Check their website for more culinary events. Pullman Pattaya Hotel G is on Wong Amat Beach, (off Sois 16 or 18) Naklua Road.

Tel:  (038) 411 940-8 or visit www.pullmanpattayahotelG.com.

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