Thursday, 31 July 2014

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket, Thailand

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Joe's Downstairs - this entrance is hiding something stunning

Joe’s Downstairs, Kalim Beach, Patong

Words by Kirsten Durward
Photos by The Yum List (Monica Tindall)

As soon as you step foot on the stairs leading down to Joe’s your senses are assaulted. First the ears; a funky acoustic beat immediately lifts my mood. Then a smoky waft from the grill drifts to my nostrils, mmmmh. Turning the corner, I pause to take in the sweeping vista that greets me. The whitewashed wood and light structure serves as a framing point for the best view I have seen yet on Phuket. I challenge anyone to come here without snapping a photo to take home and savour.

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
The Sun is Fading - Time for a Cocktail
Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Joe's Downstairs Outdoor Patio
Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Sunset Drinks
It’s just nudging cocktail hour, so that’s where we start. A Martini (THB295) seems a great suggestion for a breezy late afternoon. The Pomegranate style makes a classic dramatic outline against the rocky shore. It’s a visually pleasing drink that is a fine clear mix of Katel One Vodka with Peach Schnapps and pomegranate juice. The Mango is a fuller bodied cocktail that features muddled fresh mango and is a little tropical treat. It’s very smooth on the tongue with great strains of the lime vodka coming through. 

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Mango Martini
Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Pomegranate Martini
For something a little different, I’m tempted by a Raspberry Mojito (THB325). And I’m so glad I did. It’s the prettiest drink I’ve seen in a while. I love that it is stuffed with fresh red berries, contrasting splendidly with the mint leaves and limes. It’s refreshing to taste and as always with a good Mojito, gets better as you suck deeper into the rum and brown sugar base. 

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Raspberry Mojito
With our cocktails we tuck into a few treats from the Tapas Menu, while our lively host Sue keeps us entertained with tales from her many years on the island. White Snapper and Leek Tempura Rolls (THB325), have a good crispy crunch and I’m always a fan of wasabi. But it’s the thick citrus soy syrup that makes this dish and will keep your hand going back for another one. 

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
White Snapper and Leek Tempura Rolls 
Monica of course is happy to see a full plate of greens. Schezwan Long Beans with a sweet sticky sauce (THB275) are topped with toasted almonds to give a little extra crunch. 

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
French Beans with Almonds
Foie Gras Shu Mei (THB495), served in a bamboo steamer is something totally different. This definitively merges two very different cultures; European and Chinese tastes blend in this original dish. The dumpling outer is very fine and slender, the stuffing very soft and tasty. The tamarind plum sauce of course enhances this moreish dish. 

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Foie Gras Shu Mei 
Our last tapas taster is slim slice of Miso Glazed Black Cod (THB385) that’s moist and fresh. We both adore the bed of sesame cabbage and linger over the fresh mango salad with coriander and a hint of chili. It’s fresh and perfectly balanced and I could eat more spoonfuls of that. 

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Miso Glazed Black Cod
Before we dig into our mains, Sue opens a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (THB2150), which, she says, will match the crab cake treat to come. At this point we are game for anything, but everyone knows how much we love our Sauvignon Blanc, so we’re happy! The Manu proves to be a fresh and fragrant wine that has our tongues buzzing from the first sip. It’s subtly imbued with passion fruit, gooseberry and lime notes. The crisp dryness is indeed perfect for our fish dishes.  

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Manu Sauvignon Blanc
Sue tells us that she loves to share the Premium Crab Cake (THB685) with guests, as it’s something special. And, despite her marketing background, she’s not overselling this one. Sue smiles widely as the crab cake is served, ‘I like to share this with people,’ she states simply and allows us to dive in, watching for a reaction. Which she gets! This crab cake is spectacular. We’ve never had one like it and I’m willing to bet, neither have you. The crispiest crumb coating breaks apart to reveal layers and layers of flaky Blue Crab, flavoured with just a tickle of spice to tantalise, the texture is amazing teamed with the creamy avocado salsa and sharp lemon vinaigrette. Definitely the best crab cake I’ve tasted in Phuket, in Thailand, and beyond. It’s worth a visit just to eat this.  

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Crab Cake
The fish of the day is lightly curry dusted sea bass filet (THB725), which sounds so good we just have to try it. It comes crispy fried, and white and flaky inside. As the knife goes in, the fish separates easily into meaty looking chunks. I simply love the taste of unadulterated fresh fish, and I’m so glad that this piece has not been sauced over. It’s perfectly seasoned and the slippery white flesh is just divine with its light dusting of curry. It’s a perfect teaming with a forkful of the fresh mint and green apple salad and nam gim emulsion. Simple, but delightful! 

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Pan Seared Sea Bass Dusted with Curry
The white wine is going down a treat, but the double order of duck and beef means that a red is called for by my taste buds. I decide to try out one of the several organic wines by the glass: an Australian Pinot Noir seems like a good bet at this point in time. The ‘Splash’ 2010 (THB435 glass) from Yarra fills the mouth wonderfully with a slight spiciness and definite references to soft red fruit. It balances nicely not too dry and lingers well with the meaty dishes. 

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Organic Red
I had my eye on the Duck 2 Ways (THB1195) pan seared breast and confit leg, sounds just yummy. And it is!  We’re falling a little bit in love with the ‘New World’ style food at Joe’s. The breast is firm and dense with a little mustardy kick to the sauce. The confit leg is falling beautifully off the bone; you don’t actually need a knife for this as it just falls apart to the touch. A blackcurrant reduction is sweet and dark, giving a beautiful densely flavoured boost to the tender meatiness of this duck dish. Pureed potato is perfectly smooth and soaks up the mingling sauces beautifully. 

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Duck 2 Ways
We’re not big steak eaters but restaurant manager Tonino, when pressed, suggests the Ultimate Steak (THB 2695) as his recommended dish. I have to say the description does sound good.

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
The Ultimate Steak
Immediately we cut in and the knife slides through like butter. Oh this is sensational! Soft, scrummy, perfectly seasoned 400 day aged Wagyu beef with a crispy caramelized chargrilling. Just what is that taste? A black truffle demi glaze? Well that explains why Monica is scraping it off her knife. ‘I think this might be the best steak I’ve tasted,’ sighs Sue, and I have to concur that it’s pretty special. The leek, potato and bacon base is dense and a little greasy, but it’s good grease, the kind you want to soak up from the grill. Dripping with satisfaction, I have to say, ‘Thank you Tonino for the suggestion!’ Be warned that this denizen of deliciousness was a daily special, but I’m sure if you mentioned it when booking, something could be arranged. The Ultimate Steak is dish of the day for both of us, which is something coming from our veggie loving Yum girl! I said it once I will say it again - simply sensational!

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Slice of Wagyu
After all of that I’m really enjoying a cold pressed towel imbued with the signature scent of lemongrass. It’s so delightful. As we take pause to enjoy the pinks and purples streaking into the sky, we remark on the beauty of this unique location. Sue comments that it is very popular for weddings and we can see why, with the white sands of tiny Kalim Beach, the dramatic rocks and the foaming sea.  

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Gorgeous Views
For once I am almost reluctant for dessert, the mains have been so filling and so tasty. But Sue twists our arms to try one, ‘just one between us’ with a digestif. To complement our chocolate pot, Monica selects Ron Zacapa 23 years (THB450) over ice. A new find on this trip, we have both loved the mellow caramel tones of this aged Guatemalan rum. I’m happy with a balloon of my beloved Armagnac, not something I find a lot of in Asia, but Phuket has been good to me. This one is a fruity Chateau De Labache XO (THB595), and its simply delightful sipping overlooking the dipping sun.

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Digestives - Rum and Armangac
I cannot believe that I am eating chocolate dessert for the 4th day in a row. I’m going to have to up the exercise programme for sure. This one is served with a creamy vanilla ice cream to the side. At first I think it is a white chocolate mousse but then realize that is just a light cream topping. The first spoonful reveals a silky light texture and an intriguing double taste that has us all musing, Caramel? Coffee? Butterscotch? We settle on butterscotch-coffee chocolate, and all agree that it’s delightful, and not too filling, thankfully!  

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Chocolate Dessert
We’ve had a wonderful afternoon at Joe’s and it’s testament to the quality of the restaurant that we’ve eaten food of this standard while the head chef is out of the country. Everyone in the kitchen must be superbly trained and en pointe. Impressive. I’m already planning how to bring my girlfriends over for the weekend. I know they are all going to love it. It’s not too extravagant to fly from Kuala Lumpur for dinner is it? 

Joe's Downstairs, Patong, Phuket,
Pretty Sunset Viewed from Joe's Downstairs
Reasons to visit: I don’t think I’ve said this before: Everything! All of it! Divine location. Amazing views. Delicious food. Blissful beef. The best Crab Cake in Thailand. Wonderful wine list. Colourful Cocktails. Superb service. Seriously. Anyone planning a trip to Phuket? Go. To. Joe’s.

Joe's Downstairs 
223/3 Prabaramee Road
Patong Beach
Phuket, Thailand
+66 76 344 354

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Mercado Central & La Vega - Santiago, Chile

By Manveen Maan

A long sliver of a country in southwestern South America, Chile’s striking, diverse geography has resulted in it being a powerhouse producer of a vast variety of fresh food and wines. Chilean wine has slowly (and rightfully) gained a reputation around the world as the preferred tipple of many a vino lover, while its booming agricultural industry sees the fruits of its labour (no pun intended) bringing in much profit.

Mercado Central
Fish vendor at Mercado Central
Unknown to most, Chile is a leading exporter of seafood and fresh fruit, with exports to Malaysia sitting at a whopping 227 billion USD, out of which about a fifth is food and wine. Chile is the Southern Hemisphere’s largest exporter of fresh and dried fruit (and the world’s No.1 exporter of table grapes, plums, blueberries, apples and peaches), while its seafood (Chile is the world’s second largest producer of salmon) and shellfish find their way into many homes across the globe. An impressive feat for such a small country.

Chile seafood
Barnacles
Naturally, no trip to Santiago would be complete without visiting the famed markets in the city, a testament to the gastronomic goodness the country has to offer. The most famous one is the Mercado Central, Santiago’s oldest market. The quintessential tourist spot, Mercado Central is housed in a building that dates back to 1872, while the market itself has been declared a National Heritage site, and features an astounding variety of the freshest seafood, some of which can only be found in Chile.

Chile seafood
Sea urchin
We arrive at the building itself, and I’m delighted by the variety of hams and cheeses on display - from chorizo and salami, to camembert and provolone, this was just in one shop! We wait for our guide, Chef Cristian Correa to arrive, fighting the sub-zero temperatures of the coldest Chilean winter in 20 years, before walking into a kaleidoscope of colours, sounds and textures within the confines of this grand old building.

Chile seafood
Giant squid
Like many of his compatriots, Correa (who runs acclaimed restaurant Mulato) purchases the raw materials for his ever-changing menus from Mercado Central (and the adjacent La Vega market that sells fruits and vegetables), as his restaurant’s menu is dependent on seasonal produce.

Chile fresh seafood
Giant crab
The bustling market is somehow chillier than the Arctic eight degrees Celsius that it is outside, but we soldier on and watch the huge pieces of fish being sliced up for eager customers. Every square foot of the market has a dozen vendors displaying shellfish, crabs, prawns, sea urchins, oysters, scallops, salmon and mussels, with each one yelling out that their prices are the best. Correa takes us to his usual vendor, who slices up chunks of salmon (with his bare hands in the freezing cold!) and shows off the inside of a sea urchin for Correa’s approval. “I only get the best, and this guy’s got it,” he laughs.

Chile shellfish
Mussels
All over the market we see an overwhelming variety of fresh seafood - anchovies, mackerel, sardines, hake, shrimp, cuttlefish, and even giant crab and squid! We spot some native species like the Patagonian whip hake and Chilean croaker, alongside bottom dwellers like barnacles, abalone, and razor clams. Sampling goodies may be a little tricky in the market itself, so the best way to enjoy all that fresh produce is to purchase some seafood and whip up a feast back home. But if all that shopping makes you hungry, don’t fret. Mercado Central has plenty of restaurants lining the inside of the market where you can eat all the amazing seafood you’ve purchased - that’s about as fresh as it gets I think!  

Chile fish
Salmon
We move on to the adjacent La Vega market, a short 10 minute walk away. As soon as we enter its premises I’m floored by the myriad of colours and textures that greet my eyes at every corner. Correa explains that La Vega (also known as Feria Mapocho) is one of the best known markets in the country, with thousands of people frequenting it everyday, to buy the freshest produce from Chile’s Central Valley.

Chile fruit and vegetable market
La Vega 
Chile has practically all climates, resulting in the ability to grow a smorgasbord of quality products, including blueberries, raspberries, figs, cherries, grapes, apples, pears, lemons, oranges, avocados, kiwifruit, peaches, nectarines, and plums. You name it, and La Vega’s probably got it all.

Chile fruit
Tangerines
A host of fresh fruit and vegetables line the huge containers of every shop, as greedy customers (such as myself) pluck juicy grapes and berries and wash it down with the array of fresh, tangy juices available at stands (I had, quite possibly, the freshest orange juice of my life here). 

Chile vegetables
Tomatoes
Spices also feature heavily, with the famed Chilean merken (smoked chilli) packing quite a punch – luckily I had a bottle of water with me!

Chile spices
Merken
If sampling all the fruit and veges on display doesn’t give you your fill, La Vega is also a great spot to dig into Chilean gastronomic goodies such as sopaipillas, cazuelas or humitas at the different restaurants that line the perimeter of the market. 

Chilean vegetables
Giant pumpkins
I developed a bit of an obsession for the sopaipillas, eating them in every form possible, even managing to find some pebre (spicy Chilean salsa) for added zing!

Chilean beans
All kinds of beans!
The quintessential definition of foodie paradise, the Mercado Central and La Vega markets are the best spots in Santiago to marvel (and sample) all the exotic (and delectable) foods on display. Bring your appetite!

Mercado Central
21 de Mayo & General MacKenna
www.mercadocentral.cl

La Vega
Nueva Rengifo & López de Bello
www.lavega.cl

For more information on Chilean products in Malaysia, visit www.prochile.com

BYD Lofts Serviced Suites and Apartments, Patong, Phuket, Thailand

BYD Lofts Serviced Suites and Apartments, Patong, Phuket
BYD Lofts Serviced Suites and Apartments

BYD Lofts Boutique Hotel and Serviced Apartments


While some tourists flock to the heavily commercialized area of Patong Beach, others run to the other extremes of the island to avoid it. The most densely touristed area on the island is the place to carouse in the innumerable bars and, frolic and flirt in the sun and sand. Home to a naughty night scene, bustling shopping district and some of the best and worst restaurants on the island, Patong Beach can be somewhat overwhelming. It’s definitely not for all travelers, but for those who want to experience it at least once (or more), BYD Lofts Boutique Hotel and Serviced Apartments is the place to stay.

BYD Lofts Serviced Suites and Apartments, Patong, Phuket
Reception
While centrally located just 200m from Patong Beach, BYD Lofts is just far enough from the thumping hospitality strip to form a tranquil haven devoid of noise and the bustling commotion found just minutes away. Not only is this boutique hotel a peaceful oasis in distinct contrast to the tourist district nearby, but too an art filled sanctum inspiring magical dreams and creativity. Bright paintings with thick fat brushstrokes of vivid primary colours add merriment to the walls. Thanks to a local artist, SUTHIRAK, the property breathes excitement and mimics the vibrancy of the area.

BYD Lofts Serviced Suites and Apartments, Patong, Phuket
Lobby
Our One Bedroom Suite Grand Deluxe Apartment with Pool Access is a generous 100 square metres. A large bedroom, separate bathroom, fully equipped kitchen, living area and sizable balcony compose the apartment. It’s contemporary in design with shiny floors, glass and lots of white. Lines are clean and straight with smooth surfaces and, functionality is a key principle. While the look is uncluttered there is sufficient adornment in paintings and interesting furniture pieces, which add colour, texture and lighting, to make the space comfortable and inviting.


BYD Lofts Serviced Suites and Apartments, Patong, Phuket
Living Area
The king size bed is dressed with high-quality 400 thread count Egyptian cotton linens. A goose down feather duvet and pillows make it even more soft and snuggly. Premium fittings, white tiles and luxury bath products characterise the bathroom and plenty of drawer and counter space is welcomed.

BYD Lofts Serviced Suites and Apartments, Patong, Phuket
Bedroom
BYD Lofts Serviced Suites and Apartments, Patong, Phuket
Bathroom
The living area benefits from a 42 inch LCD TV and, free high speed Internet is available throughout. A home theatre and surround sound system beg you to plug your iPod or iPad into the docking station to set your own ambient music. There’s a large working desk we both give initial consideration for writing, but decide the outdoor terrace or soft leather couch work much better for our relaxed styles.

BYD Lofts Serviced Suites and Apartments, Patong, Phuket
TV and Desk in Bedroom
The kitchen is decked with Tekka and Franke appliances, more than sufficiently equipped to whip up a gourmet meal. Just looking at the streamlined food preparation area makes us want to cook in and we start wondering whether or not we should cancel one or two restaurant visits to give us a chance to do so.
BYD Lofts Serviced Suites and Apartments, Patong, Phuket
Kitchen
Sturdy and tasteful outdoor furniture encourages us to sit on the terrace enjoying early morning coffee and later evening nightcaps. The glass balcony gives us a clear view of the street and potted plants are a refreshing touch of green.
BYD Lofts Serviced Suites and Apartments, Patong, Phuket
Balcony
It’s from this balcony we’re granted direct pool access. Located on the fourth floor, this rooftop pool is a compact piece of serenity from the bustling streets below. Decked with red-cushioned sun chairs and ending with an infinity edge, it makes a welcome refreshment after a day of checking out the Patong sites or an early morning dip to start the day.

BYD Lofts Serviced Suites and Apartments, Patong, Phuket
Rooftop Pool
The Bar and Bistro offers all day dining featuring both European and Thai cuisines. Expect to see salads, soups, decadent desserts and classic dishes from both sides of the world such as Chateaubriand and Sesame Fried Tuna. The Bar and Bistro is complemented with a wine shop with a quality selection of cheeses, cold cuts and, wines from around the world all available to take home.

BYD Lofts is also conveniently located within walking distance of some of the best reputed restaurants in the area. The 9th Floor, Joe's Downstairs and, Baan Rim Pa are just minutes away.

BYD Lofts Serviced Suites and Apartments, Patong, Phuket
BYD Bistro
BYD Lofts Serviced Suites and Apartments, Patong, Phuket
BYD Bar
For those wanting to experience the action of Patong beach in small (or larger) quantities, BYD Lofts Boutique Hotel and Service Apartments is a clean, contemporary property to make your base.

Reasons to visit: great location in a quiet street in Patong yet walking distance to the action; very good value; contemporary clean design.
                                                                                                         
BYD Lofts Boutique Hotel and Service Apartments
5/28 Haad Patong
Patong Beach
Kathu, Phuket
Thailand
+66 076 343 024



Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Top Five Child Friendly Cafes in Bangkok, Thailand

Kid Friendly Restaurants Bangkok
The Lovely Nina

Expat, mom and food lover, Beth Queeney Dressler, shares her top five lunch choices with a four year old in Bangkok. 


1. Cafe Tartine - The best "make your own" salads in Bangkok and a killer latte for mom and dad. Great kids menu including pasta, turkey and cheese sandwiches, ham and cheese sandwiches and excellent watermelon smoothies for the kids. Crayons and coloring sheets and cartoons playing on the TV keep the kids entertained.

2. Chu  - Need a decadent hot or iced chocolate? Go to Chu!  Great drinks (chocolate so thick and rich) and excellent food choices.

3. The Bangkok Baking Company - Located in the JW Marriott Bangkok, this cafe has one of the best breakfasts in town! Excellent kid's menu with tasty pancakes and fruit shakes (ask for the syrup on the side unless you want your little one bouncing off the walls for hours on end). The coffee and food choices for adults are great. An added bonus are the crayons and activity sheet for the kids, and flawless JW Marriott service.

4. The Taco Truck from La Monita - Visit Underwater World (the aquarium in Bangkok) and then head upstairs to Siam Paragon's food court for some tacos and quesadillas. Fab kids menu with the draw of eating at a truck in the middle of a mall!

5. The Firehouse Pub and Restaurant - Some of the best burgers in town (the Bangkok Burger Company is another one of our favs). The kids' menu includes small burgers, hot dogs, and ham and cheese sandwiches. Excellent service that includes activity sheets and crayons for the kids.


Bonus: Bangkok Burger Company -  There's an outlet in Siam Paragon next to the taco truck, so two visits to the aquarium might be necessary!


Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket, Thailand

Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Andara Pool

Andara Resort and Villas, Phuket, Thailand

Monica Tindall

Andara Resort and Villas is sequestered away on the west coat of Phuket overlooking the Andaman Sea. Perfect for a secluded getaway, the property offers a collection of villas and suites especially designed for “high-end, fun-loving customers.”

Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Andara Resort and Villas
Anyone who has visited Hong Kong should know the popular party and restaurant strip of Lan Kwai Fong. This street of diversion was developed by the group of the same name, who is also responsible for the creation of Andara Resort and Villas. Founder, Allan Zeman, saw the potential of Phuket for catering to luxury travelers after constructing his own dream home on the island. It was this inspiration that first conceived the upscale property of Andara.

Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Andara Lobby
Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Andara Welcome - this is just the beginning of some of the most attentive service we've experienced on the island.
The resort is a 30 minute drive from Phuket airport with easy access to world-class golf courses, shopping and restaurants. The exclusive villas and suites creep up the hillside gifting each accommodation with magnificent views of the ocean and postcard perfect vistas of the sunset, but entertainment and mingling with the crowd is only minutes away.

Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Kamala Beach
Accommodation

Consisting of three to six bedrooms, the Andara Pool Villas are ideal for families or groups traveling together, while the Andara Residences comprise one to four bedrooms and so too are suited for those traveling in more than a couple, or guests who insist on the luxuriousness of space.

Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Suite Balcony
Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Suite Kitchen and Dining Area
We’re booked into a two bedroom Terrace Suite. Luxury is found in all the details but is ever so prominent in space. A generous 183m2 holds two bedrooms, each with their own ensuite bathroom, modern kitchen and, a dining and living area that opens onto an outdoor terrace with stunning views of the Andaman Sea.

Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Suite Living Room
Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Andara Suite Kitchen
Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
View from Suite
Jim Thompson fabrics and custom designed silks issue a colonial taste of Asia, while a BOSE sound system, three LCD TVs with satellite channels and complimentary Wi-Fi, place the resort firmly in the 21st century. Again, it’s the trivial facts that delight. Mood lighting changes the ambience with five different settings: mood; day; night; read; and late. Lush bath products line the shower and double sinks and, light cotton robes and cushy slippers further enhance comfort. Icemaker and quality mini-bar items are appreciated, but my true love is for the coffee machine that grinds beans the moment before pressing a fine espresso.

Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Coffee Machine in Room
Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Fresh Flowers
Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Welcome Fruit
The living area is split level, with the kitchen and dining area raised and, the lounge sunken. Warm woods create a comfortable yet stylish atmosphere and the touches of vases holding freshly cut flowers and a bowl of tropical fruits further contribute to its congeniality. Timelessness in style is appropriated with sturdy solid wooden furniture and classical Thai artworks bequeathing a distinctively local setting.

Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Master Bathroom - difficult to see in this picture, but the tub is really deep!
Bedrooms are grand with streams of natural light, or turned into cool dark havens with blinds and black out curtains for a restful night’s sleep. Too conducive to a sound forty winks are the beds donned with wonderfully soft linens and numerous supple pillows. The master bedroom revels in floor to ceiling glass sliding doors, which open up to mind-clearing vistas of Kamala Beach and headlands.

Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Second Bedroom
Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Master Bedroom
Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Suite Master Bedroom
This self-contained sanctuary, with its magnificent panoramas and careful attention to detail is difficult to leave. When hunger pangs begin to twang however, look no further than Andara’s SILK restaurant.

Dining

Chef Ooy heads the team at SILK restaurant, serving up fine authentic Thai cuisine with panache and grace. There are plenty of Western offerings too, but our taste buds yearned for something local. Thai art and lofty ceilings mark the air-conditioned interior, while casual opium beds provide a poolside alfresco experience to pleasure in SILK cuisine.

Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
SILK Restaurant
Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Andara Pool Bar
Characterised by the use of extremely fresh ingredients and complicated blends of herbs and spices, Chef Ooy credits her mum with the mouthwatering recipes that make up the menu.

For starters don’t miss the Thai satay with its peanut sauce much smoother and a tad sweeter than the Malaysian version. The pomelo salad is a mouthful of freshness with a light coating of rich sauce that we hear takes two hours to prepare. Deep fried tofu in a coconut curry is an incredible treat too – be sure you order it! Chef Ooy’s personal favourite dish though is deep fried sea bass with herbs, so know that taking the chef’s recommendation is a wise choice too. Of course mango sticky rice is an all time classic ending, but the chocolate mousse is a commendable Western diversion.

SILK Restaurant
Pomelo Salad

For those who’d like to try their hand at recreating some of these delicious flavours themselves, Chef Ooy conducts Thai cooking classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday. See what we cooked up here.

Facilities

Luxury continues to breathe its opulent breath in the Andara Spa where a superb range of treatments are designed to hush the mind, soothe the body and invigorate the soul. The best of both East and West are utilized in forming the menu and, the facilities are supported by a beauty salon and steam room. Take a peek insidethis beautiful spa here.

Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Andara Spa
Kamala Beach is just a five minute shuttle ride away. Get some sun and sand or take a wander through Kamala village for a dab of retail therapy or a taste of local restaurants. Kids Club staff will keep children engaged in a host of fun activities, while the adults too enjoy some playtime. Back at the resort an alluring pool is lined with sun chairs and palms and overlooks the picturesque bay.

Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Andara Pool at Dusk
We took full advantage of the mouth-watering local cuisine and exotic island cocktails during our visit so the Andara gym saw a lot of us throughout the course of our stay. Precor aerobic and strength equipment provided all that we need and the personal touches of complimentary water, towels and fruit made the experience just that tad more enjoyable. Fully trained fitness personnel assist with the operation of equipment and, furnish a personal and professional touch that is rare to find in many properties. Tennis courts and scheduled activities such as yoga, muay Thai and, boot camp too keep the active full of vim and vigour. Our last morning saw us working out with a muay Thai instructor. It was one of the best workouts I've ever had and my only regret is that I didn't arrange a few more sessions during our stay.

Andara Resort and Villas, Kamala Beach, Phuket
Andara Gymnasium
andara gym phuket
Muay Thai Instructor

Corporate Social Responsibility

Such an attractive setting also needs care and protection to ensure the natural beauty remains for years to come. The team at Andara Resort and Villas is a key member in the founding and running of the Kamala Green Project. Recognizing that the world, including Phuket is in a waste management crisis with landfills at capacity, roadsides a dumping ground, oceans filling with plastic and overfishing of the same, the team runs a full time private sector supported initiative in collaboration with the local government for waste pickup and community education that will support a clean and green Kamala.
 
andara phuket
Beach Cleaning
Andara Resort and Villas in Phuket must be visited to be believed. Words cannot narrate with sufficient accuracy the generosity in space, sumptuousness of cuisine, caring nature of Thai service or the dazzling beauty of the location. Andara Phuket is a haven comfort, serene nature and an unbeatable dedication to luxury.

Reasons to visit: secluded luxurious retreat; grandness in space; incredible attention to superb service and in providing every comfort imaginable; easy access to airport and the liveliness of public Phuket.

Andara Resort and Villas
15 Moo 6, Kamala Beach
Kathu,
Phuket 83150
Thailand
+66 0 76 338 777