|The Pavilion, The Datai, Langkawi|
Thai Culinary Journey at The Pavilion, The Datai, Langkawi
Arriving at dusk, The Pavilion is alive with chatter from the jungle. A family of shy dusky leaf monkeys is nestled in a tree less than a metre from our table: we can almost reach out and touch them. Birds are calling, insects are chirping and the air is crisp following the afternoon tropical storm. It’s a remarkable location and we’re thankful for the chance to experience such natural beauty in such a luxurious setting.
|Surrounded by Jungle|
|Table for Two|
Award winning Thai cuisine is found in the open-walled Pavilion. Seeming to float at the same level as the rainforest canopy, this wooden stilt structure gifts views not only of verdant treetops, but too of calm Andaman Sea and further out to the Thai Tarutao islands.
Linking the not-too-distant archipelago to the current location are soft Thai tunes and gourmet Thai dishes that are just as much entertainment for the eyes as they are for the taste buds. The renowned freshness of this cuisine type and presentation in ceramic bowls and on hot plates is flaunted in every recipe.
Settling in, I order The Pavilion’s signature cocktail, the Ram Buh Thai (RM 45). White rum, egg white, lime juice and sugar syrup are blended together producing a white froth atop a sour reviving liquid. It resembles a Pisco Sour in both appearance and flavour. Thumbs up! Hubby goes with his predictable order of bubbly, a Barbier-Lemaire Prestige NV (RM 75), which keeps him happy as he sips from his flute feigning an air of sophistication.
|Ram Buh Thai Cocktail|
We’re sipping and gawking at our incredible surrounds when an Amuse Bouche arrives reminding us that this location holds more allure than solely the environs. The lemongrass salad with anchovies wakes up our palates and leaves our tongues with a light tingle.
The meal officially underway, we switch to drinking a Wittmann Riesling Trocken 2012 from Rheinhessen (RM220 bottle). This versatile drop fares aptly across a variety of flavours and handles particularly well the zesty kick often found in Thai dishes. It mirrors some of the salads and starters with acidic flavours of lemon and lime, and produces welcome refreshment from the heavier saucy dishes cleansing our palates with a clean fruity finish.
The Taste of Siam (RM75) demonstrates a cracking beginning as we get to sample a trio of starters. Adharn Thai Piseat Som Tam, brings young papaya salad in an edible cup. It’s tangy and reaches every nook of our mouths with its sharpness. It showcases the style of the restaurant, Thai cuisine from the south, which is less sweet and more spicy than recipes from the north.
|A Taste of Siam|
Gai Hor Bai Toey, deep-fried pandanus wrapped chicken, is delicious! Meat from the chicken leg is marinated with oyster sauce, soya and pandan juice then sheathed in the leaves and deep-fried. The result is a charred exterior with moist succulent meat interior. It’s great on its own but dip the flesh in the ginger, soya and sesame seed sauce and our taste buds are doing a happy dance.
Poh Pia Goong, prawn spring rolls, are encased with crispy layers of pastry and stuffed to the edges with firm to the bite prawns. Another flawless example of a classic recipe executed to perfection.
Tom Yam Goong (RM42), spicy prawn soup with abalone mushrooms, is served in a bowl held in a metal tripod. For such a small bowl it’s packed with springy superbly cooked prawns, verdant coriander and a rich red liquid. Nostrils cleared, tongues and lips prickling, smiles on our faces, we’ve accepted and devoured the challenge to the very last drop.
|Tom Yam Goong|
The mains are about to arrive and hot ceramic plates are delivered to our places. It’s a small but important touch. When sharing dishes, food can get cold quite quickly, so the heated bases hold the warmth keeping our food hot for longer.
Pla Sam Rod (RM115), crispy fried snapper with three flavoured sauce, is presented on a long rectangular platter. Flaky white fillets are coated in a thin batter and crowned with a sweet, sour and spicy sauce. The moist fish is complemented wonderfully by the fruity sauce, and even though this is a large portion, not a bite is left at the end of the meal.
|Pla Sam Rod|
Chu Che Goong Lai (RM95), deep-fried tiger prawns with kaffir lime leaf sauce are giant specimens. A decadent drizzle of coconut cream zig-zags the crest and is contrasted in colour and taste with vibrant pieces of the lime leaves. The curry is rich and flavoursome and we stretch the dish to its very last blob by soaking it up with the accompanying rice.
|Chu Che Goong Lai|
A large pottery bowl holds Phad Phak Naam Man Hoi (RM36), stir-fried seasonal vegetables with oyster sauce. Their freshness makes a terrific break to the intensity of the sauces for the prawns and fish.
|Phad Phak Naam Man Hoi|
There are over a handful of desserts on the menu but I simply can’t resist the classic of mango sticky rice, Khaw Neow Mamuang (RM28). Ripe yellow mango is sided with sticky rice rich with coconut milk and given a savoury splash with sesame seeds. It’s an excellent ending to an incredible experience.
|Khaw Neow Mamuang|
If you’re ever on the island of Langkawi, be sure to visit. Heck, plan to visit Langkawi so that you can eat here: food and setting are worth the air tickets.
Reasons to visit: stunning location; authentic southern Thai cuisine.
Jalan Teluk Datai
07000 Pulau Langkawi
Kedah Darul Aman
+6 04 9500 500
Open 6:30pm – 11pm