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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sala it isn’t!

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Sala Phuket Spa Resort and Dining

Address:

No: 333 Moo 3 Mai Khao Beach Thalang District, Phuket, Thailand 83110

‘Sala’ in Malay means “Wrong or Incorrect” but in the case of this restaurant at the door step to Mai Khao beach in Phuket Thailand, Sala being sala was so far from the truth.

I few the Chili Padi over to Phuket as a surprise for her birthday; Thailand it’s almost a 3rd home for me, yes I really do spend a lot of time over there feeding my stomach and drowning my liver!

Thailand has always had a special place in my heart; the people are sincere and genuine and they’re always willing to greet you with a smile; not to mention that there food, be it street side or in a restaurant tastes scrumptious.  I’ve been bless to know many a chef skilled in the art of authentic Thai cuisine.

Sunset @ Cape PromthepA Magical Sunset at Promthep Cape  - There was more magic to come at dinner

One of the highlights of this trip however was being fortunate enough to the be recipient of a BHT3,00 dining voucher at the Sala Phuket Spa Resort Restaurant from my Phuket based chef friend p’Mote.

Sala is a very up market spa resort nestled on the upper north-west part of Phuket island.  Luckily for us is was just a stone throw away from where we were staying (props to Irene who managed to get us a free hotel stay at the Marriot!).

We were fortunate enough that evening to book on an evening where the hotel was having a Thai Cultural celebration which meant local Thai cuisine + local Thai entertainment.  After being greeted at the open air restaurant by the staff we were ushered to our uber luxe seats (I swear we could have fallen asleep in them) and waited were entertained by a dancing troupe decked out in traditional Thai costumes.  We ordered the Thai set meal @ BHT2,200 (ex. service charge & govt. tax) which comprised of the following tasty morsels:Phuket_Entree

Yam pla dook fu (left)– Green mango tossed with peanuts, shallots and palm sugar-lime juice dressing topped with crispy shredded cat fish

Gai hor bai toi (right)– Deep-fried chicken thigh marinated in oyster sauce and garlic wrapped in pandan leaf

Verdict: The Yam pla dook fu blew me away, the catfish was fried to perfection, not oily yet very crisp and flavorful, accompanied with the mango salad and palm sugar was just heavenly, not too hot for the Farang palette (as with all the food at Sala could have done with just a little more chili padi for me).  The Gai hor bai toi again was fired just nicely the aroma and flavor of the oyster sauce and pandan didn’t over power the chicken yet it left you wanting to put another piece in your mouth.

Soup

Tom yum hoi shell -  Sea scallops in prawn broth flavored with lemon grass, galangal and chili garlic paste

Verdict: A little disappointed with the soup I have to say, the huge scallop was nice and fresh, however the soup broth had a little too much fish sauce which made it a tad too salty for the palette.

Phuket_Main

Goong mangkorn phad med mamaung (top left) – Spiny lobster stir fried with cashew nuts, sweet peppers and dried chili

Poo nim phad prik thai dum (top right) – Crispy soft shell crab stir fried with oyster sauce and black pepper

Phed phad prik thai oon (centre) – Char grilled duck breast in spicy red curry with green peppercorns, long green beans and Thai basil

Phad phak benjarong (bottom left) – Vegetables and tofu stir fried with oyster sauce

Hor mok talay (bottom right) -  Steamed white snapper and prawn soufflé flavored with red curry,coconut milk and kaffer lime leaf

Verdict:  1/2 way through this the Chili Padi and I were getting reasonably full.  The food though lacking in spiciness was just too good not to pass up.  The highlight of the platter was the duck, while I am not usually a fan of duck in my curry this was something special.  The meat was not as tough as I was expecting and the red curry complimented the meat superbly.  The hor mok talay resembled our local Otah but on a much better scale, the fish and prawns were fresh and succulent to bite into.  I really wish I had packed my second stomach with me on this trip!

After all that I really thought I was going to explode.  The Chili Padi by this time had all but given up, but there was one last dish to arrive and that was desert.

phuket_desert 
Kao niaw mun kap mamuang – Sweetened sticky rice with mango and coconut cream

Verdict:  I always love this dish, it’s simplicity at its best mango, glutinous rice and coconut milk all make a perfect combination.  I have to say though with this variant the coconut milk was a little too runny but it was fresh.  The rice was still warm and soft and the mango was sweet and very juicy, no B grade stuff here.

All in all my dining experience at the Sala Phuket Spa Resort Restaurant was exceptional; they use real earthen wear ceramic plates which are always warm when served, you know they’re the real McCoy when you see the staff laboring to whisk away your plates at the end of every course.  The staff themselves are warm and very friendly; the mistook me for Thai so every dish that was served they told me in Thai!

Phuket_Sala Sawadee Krub from Sala Resort and Spa - Phuket

The restaurant itself is an open concept design; there are no walls so the gentle sea breeze kisses you upon every bite of your food.  I honestly wouldn’t have know about this place if it wasn’t for my chef friends introduction; it’s a place that I will definitely come back to the next time I’m in Phuket!

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