|The 9th Floor Restaurant and Bar|
Heavenly Food Served
Words by Kirsten Durward
Photos by The Yum List (Monica Tindall)
The 9th Floor is another restaurant we keep hearing from the lips of local residents and hotel concierges. We decide to pay GM Thomas Brack a visit while in Patong, happy that for once we are walking distance from our residence at BYD Lofts. If you follow in our footsteps you may wonder, where is The Yum List taking me tonight? Don’t be put off by the environment. Yes, you’re in the right place! Cross the dodgy looking car park with residents washing their vehicles. Get in the grotty yellow lift and go up, up, up to a very different world.
|Pay No Attention to the Entrance - Old Building and Canary Yellow Lifts|
Ah! We take in the splendid view over the rooftops of Patong town to the Andaman Sea and the silvery sky beyond. It is so, so lovely to be high up and enjoy the cool evening breeze while sipping on a sparkling aperitif. World champion cocktail maker, Peter Roth, designed several of the concoctions on the menu. We try his Kronenhalle Royale (THB390++). A delightful blend of Gran Marnier, Crème de cassis and Angostura bitters with Prosecco makes a perfect pre dinner drink. Cheers!
Thomas draws his food concept from his own extensive travel experience, ‘I’ve eaten in thousands of places I know what people like. We make standard food but just that little bit special. If you use quality ingredients, focus on presentation, cook it very well, it makes people happy. Oh they like it. We’re always consistent; this is the reason why we have many regular guests. 60% of our clientele are return guests. We have Executive Chef Khun Wara to thank for that." Well that, in a nutshell is as great a compliment as any restaurant could receive.
|The 9th Floor Lounge Entrance|
|The 9th Floor Dining Tables and Bar|
One of the most requested dishes is a Crab Salad (THB360++), so we happily begin there. The crab is freshly sourced from a local fisherman. Served timbale style, the flaked crabmeat is mingled with a crème fraiche mayonnaise that is imbued with hints of coriander, and teeny tiny pieces of fresh tomato. I’m always amazed that tomato can be chopped so finely. We love the sharp crisp apple salad, which gives a lovely crunch and texture to the dish and understand why it’s so popular.
|Crab and Apple Salad|
A refreshing change from ubiquitous gazpacho is a Chilled Avocado Soup (THB240++). Lightly whipped with cream it’s incredibly airy. The cheeky garnish of spiced tomato salsa brings notes of coriander to this silky textured and perfectly seasoned soup. My favourite dish of the night, and I’d happily eat it again.
|Chilled Avocado Soup|
The bread lovers amongst you, be warned that the colourful bread basket accompanies soups and salads only but can be ordered separately as well. All breads are freshly made in house. We try tomato, dark grain and olive bread. Monica loves the crustiness, and though they’re all good, my favourite is the flavourful olive.
|Freshly Baked House Bread|
In the low season The 9th Floor offers a bi-weekly specials menu. Don’t go looking for this in the high season, for Thomas tells us that with two sittings and over 300 plates served, they have to keep to the regular menu. But don't worry, because that's a very extensive menu. We’re already impressed that such a small kitchen turns out that many dishes an evening. In the main, the kitchen and serving staff are long term and Thomas is obviously proud of the training they receive which includes annual work with a professional wine maker. ‘It’s good if they know what they are talking about,’ he says.
|The 9th Floor Restaurant and Bar Waitresses|
From tonight’s special menu, we’re persuaded to try Seared Scallops and Crispy Pork Belly with Orange Caramel Sauce (THB490++). Like many of our Malaysian Chinese friends, we love Pork Belly. And this is a very good serving of it. The three great textures really stand out, yet hold together. My teeth snap through the crispy crackling, hit the juicy, fatty centre and then onto the firm pink meat. The juicy scallops are lightly seared and the sticky sauce pulls the two together well.
|Pork Belly and Scallops|
Tournedos Rossini with Goose Foie Gras and Shimeji Mushroom (THB890++) also features on the specials menu. A generous portion of seared foie gras accompanies the steak, with a tiny smattering of a sweet red berry sauce. Potato rosti is another treat that sits below, the tasty juices of the steak soaking into the softly crisp potato.
|Steak and Foie Gras|
A fish I’ve not tried before is a cold-water specimen, Snow Fish (THB790++), one that Thomas tells us is a personal favourite served almost raw with wasabi and soy. Our cooked fillet comes with plenty of Lyonnaise potatoes. We love the dense smooth flakes of this white fish, less fatty than salmon, but more flavourful than snapper. Seared and served simply with fresh tomatoes garlic lemon juice olive oil and balsamic, this fish is a new favourite.
With more than 300 well priced labels in the wine collection, there is sure to be something to suit both your pocket and your tastes at The 9th floor. For our meal, Thomas has opened a Spanish Clos D’Agon (THB 3900++), one of his personal favourites. This deep garnet tinged wine is a somewhat unusual blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Syrah. Phew. I’m just glad I’m not drinking all of them separately. To taste it’s not overtly dry, quite full bodied with gentle tannins, wild cherry and other red fruit notes. Good for meatier dishes.
|Spanish Red Wine|
|Clos D'Agon Red Wine|
The 9th Floor diners prefer three course meals we’re told, so it’s incumbent on us to taste dessert. First up is Fresh Fruit Salad (THB320++) marinated in Grand Marnier, served with a creamy vanilla ice. A crunchy latticed basket is stuffed with colourful alcohol doused fruit.
|Fruit Basket and Vanilla Ice Cream|
Red Wine Pear (THB290++) is a very traditional northern European dish and one I haven’t seen in ages. This one has a wonderful firm texture but it’s the taste that takes me back to winter wonderlands. The spiced red wine flavour with a little dominance of star anise, is heartwarming. It comes with a sweet strawberry sauce and a smooth chocolate ice cream slice, but neither are needed.
|Poached Pear and Chocolate Ice Cream|
The ice-cream accompaniment with these dishes feature Phuket’s favoured local Italian ice cream maker but The 9th Floor also offers a range from Movenpick. These come as a simple scoop or with an alcoholic dressing. The Mango and Passion Fruit Sorbet (THB140++) we taste is refreshing and flavourful.
|Passion Fruit and Mango Sorbet|
I’m impressed by the decent range of premium liquor on the drinks menu. There's a wide range of choice to suit all tastes covers vodkas, whiskies, cognacs, grappas and eau de vies. As we are being hosted by a cultured Swiss gentleman, he offers us a special Swiss digestif, Vieille Prune (THB390++). As neither of us want to turn down the chance to taste something new, we’re happy to comply. A caramel colour with a deep aroma, this tipple has a deceptive honeyed taste on first sip, but then the boost of alcohol hits the back of my throat. Check the bottle, yes it’s 40%. A good strong after dinner drink!
|La Vieille Prune|
We have the impression that local residents are as fond of The 9th floor for it’s hidden location, as much as for it’s great views and beautifully presented food. Monica thinks there’s a hint of a speakeasy feel to the ‘secret.’ And Thomas does concur that most of his business comes word of mouth. Well, we are certainly happy to have had ‘the word’. And now, you have it too.
Reasons to visit: mellow atmosphere with vistas above the town and out to the sea; extensive quality drinks list; consistently fresh, well-cooked food with quality ingredients; attentive service.
The 9th Floor
47 Rat-U-Thid Rd
Sky Inn Condotel
Patong 83150 Phuket
+ 076 344 311
The 9th Floor is open daily for dinner only.
In high season there are two sittings - before 7:30pm or late for 9:45pm.