Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fish On Beach

In the early morning the Phuket beaches have some flotsam and jetsam of sea creatures, before it is cleaned up.   Shows you how relatively unpolluted the Phuket waters are, to be able to support a diversity of marine life.  I've certainly never seen anything on Singapore beaches, not even many seashells.   While jogging one morning in the Laguna area, we came across 4 huge grounded jellyfish, 1 puffer fish, and this baby swordfish which E promptly carried back jogging (and earning strange stares along the way).  
N.B.  No animals or fish were harmed in the making of this post. 

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mom Tri's Kitchen, Phuket

Mom Tri's Villa Royale is a stunning boutique hotel set high on a rocky outcrop in the Kata Beach area. With only 27 suites and all with magnificent views of the Andaman Sea, this is a very special place indeed. We nearly stayed at Mom Tri's but decided to save some money and stayed at the Dusit Thani instead, which while good in its own way, didn't have that special magic factor.
Anyway, we made it to Mom Tri's Kitchen for dinner, which was reputed to serve one of the best meals (and best winelist) in Phuket. I really loved the restaurant. It was so magical, with the waves lapping on the rocks below you - and mind you, this was at night after sunset as we got a little lost while driving there so missed sunset. The food was good too although I would hesitate to call it superb - and it was also quite pricey (SGD 90 for two, sans wine, no appetizers, and sharing a dessert). We ordered a Thai Delight set comprising a green curry, fried vegetables, salmon fillet, and grilled jumbo prawn, and a Grain-fed Angus tenderloin with beef cheek set for E. The green curry was great!
Nevertheless, we both felt quite intoxicated by the ambience of the place and went for a post-dinner stroll around the place ... will definitely stay here the next time we are in Phuket.
http://www.villaroyalephuket.com/ (N.B: They have another hotel/restaurant, Mom Tri's boathouse catering more to the mass market, which is also reputed to be good).

Lazing Around in Phuket

We were in Phuket over last weekend. It was a great little get-away - we stayed in the Dusit Thani Laguna, which is part of an enclosed area of 6 resorts including Banyan Tree, far away from the maddening crowd at the over-crowded and tuk-tuk/tourist-filled Patong Beach area. The Dusit Thani is just 3 minutes walk away from a long private stretch of beach, the Bangtao beach which ensures you peace and privacy, each room has its own little balcony with a view of the sea. The beaches are great! (but more on that later). Our main "peeve" though was that the Laguna resorts were a little too far away and transport to city areas and good food was highly expensive (a taxi ride one way, costs 700 baht or SGD30 while the hotel shuttle costs 300 baht per person one way). In the end, we rented a car (Toyota Vios at about 1,300 baht nett or SGD 55 per 24 hours) and we had the best of both worlds!
Note: One major plus point is that the Canal Village shopping area in the Laguna district has two Jim Thompson factory outlet shops!  We bought E a lovely tie heavily discounted to 600 baht (SGD 24), cheaper than the taxi ride. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


What a distinctly anti-climatic experience. I was extremely excited before going, and thought that I was in for some kind of culinary epiphany, given the chef's reputation (Gunther built up his name at the revered Les Amis after all), although reviews have been mixed.
In fact it was a let-down. Granted, we took the $38 set lunch which may not be the best gauge of the place, but there was none of that wondrous magical "ah-hah" feeling that I had when going to Iggy's, Pinchos, Cassis, Au Petit Salut, Jaan etc for lunch!
Gunther's is also highly overpriced. The servings were tiny (four thin slices of beef tongue?). We had:
- Summer Salad with Tiger Prawn
- Mushroom Veloute
- Beef Tongue with Madeira Sauce
- Panna Cotta
While I was sipping the mushroom soup, I couldn't help thinking about how much better Cassis' version was. This tasted like something I could have easily cooked in my own kitchen.
Highlights? The bread was warm and yummy (I had two small loaves of mini french baguette also partly to stave off hunger pangs due to the small servings), they gave us caneles for the petit-fours, the service was friendly and professional and we did not have to wait long for our food. But it's not saying much for any restaurant if the things most worth praising are its bread and petit-fours. Give this a miss and go to the other places I've indicated instead.