2gether Pizzaria & Bar - Best Steakhouse in Town
Just a few hundred meters from the sandy shores of Karon Beach you will find the popular restaurant and guest house called 2gether. The highly visited TripAdvisor website is currently listing it as the number one choice in Karon, so it was certainly time for a visit and what a joy it was!
Christer (Chris) Larsson is the Swedish owner and his genuine concern for his guests is shown by his clear involvement in every aspect of the operations. A very experienced and accomplished chef himself and a perfectionist where his menu is concerned, Chris uses only the finest ingredients to create outstanding dishes.
He previously owned two restaurants in Sweden and divided his time between Stockholm and Phuket, before permanently relocating to Phuket and opening 2gether more than seven years ago. In that time he has built an enviable reputation for his first class cuisine and superb hospitality.
The large and airy restaurant boasts 120 seats and includes a private air-conditioned section that shows the Swedish horse racing every Saturday on a big screen-for those Nordic addicts! Window boxes of the fresh herbs used in the restaurant line the entrance and relaxed taped music creates a warm atmosphere for dining. Live music during the high season can also really liven up the evenings.
2gether has long been known for its great pizza menu and these remain a popular choice for hungry holiday makers. Thai food choices are also well covered on the varied menu of delights and the European range of dishes offer a pleasing mix of traditional Swedish and zingy European favorites.
On our recent visit we tried a selection of really delicious starters-generous enough to be main meals for some! The traditional Swedish Skagen is a yummy concoction of fresh shrimp, creamy home made mayonnaise, dill and lemon, topped with a fish roe garnish and served on a crispy bread base. The beef Carpaccio was super fresh, tender and tasty and the Piri Piri prawns were heaven on a plate.
Main courses include a wide range of fish and meat dishes and all the ingredients are closely monitored by Chris for freshness and flavor. This host is all about quality produce!
The visually stunning giant skewers really deliver their promise with succulent prime meats or prawns served with three different sauces to enhance the ultra fresh flavors. Follow all this with a sinful creamy dessert and life really cannot get much better.
Icy cold draft beers, super juices and a sensible wine list are all offered by the friendly staff and a great cocktail menu turns every meal into a festive occasion, I savored a truly killer Mojito in the traditional mint and lime combo, but you should also try the apple, melon or raspberry ones too. No premix here – everything is fresh, fresh, fresh!
The stylish accommodation is absolutely the best value for money that I’ve seen on Phuket. With six double room, six family rooms and two apartments (one with cooking facilities) it is no wonder that guests come back year after year. Breakfast is also included in the room rates and this is served until midday, to accommodate those late night revelers! This kid-friendly guest house also houses a mezzanine lounge and play area for children and everything is done to ensure guests a fun and stress-free vacation.
In the restaurant, owner Chris is always on hand to closely supervise everything and his great eye for quality and detail guarantees a truly memorable dining experience.
by Vicky Gregogy
Check out their website at www.2getherguesthouse.com for more details on this innovative boutique vacation home.
2Gether Guesthouse 247/249 Patak Road Karon beach, Phuket, 83000 Thailand.
Tel : +66 84 8400704, +66 85 2925652 ( Call in Thailand: 084 8400704, 085 2925652) Contact in Sweden: 070-7432104
Last Updated (Wednesday, 05 September 2012 05:51)
In the kitchen with Blue Elephant
ELEPHANT HUNTING IN PHUKET AND LONDON
The editor of the publication you are reading is only made of flesh and blood. I can only take so much of living on Phuket’s idyllic tropical shores, surrounded by swaying palm trees, warm azure seas and the abundant pleasures of marvelous Thai cuisine. Occasionally I have to decamp for colder, more expensive parts such as London to visit family and of course this also means eating British food. While full English breakfasts and fish and chips undoubtedly have their charms, it doesn’t take long before I am beating down the doors is search of some authentic Thai cuisine.
In quest such a thing I paid a visit to London’s famous Blue Elephant restaurant on the embankment at Imperial Wharf overlooking a majestic sweep of the River Thames. It proved to be a home-away-from-home with its beautiful teakwood carvings, tinkling gamelan music and scents of tropical flora and spices. It is modeled on the famous Vinmanmek Palace in Bangkok, instigated during the reign of King Chulalongkorn and boasts a lovely riverside terrace upon which to dine as well as a beguiling long bar with an intricate golden fascia which reminded me of Old Siam and indeed our very own Blue Elephant in Phuket Town.
The Blue Elephant Group comprises a growing list of gorgeous restaurants and cooking schools that have been pioneering and serving Royal Thai cuisine in various global capitals since 1980. The Group was founded by Nooror Somany Steppe and her Belgian husband Karl Steppe, who opened their first restaurant in Brussels in 1980. The second Blue Elephant then followed in London in 1986 and the company now has restaurants in Paris, Copenhagen, Lyon, Dubai, Kuwait, Bahrain, Malta, Beirut, Moscow, Jakarta and of course Bangkok, which opened in 2002, in a beautifully-renovated 100 year old mansion.
Phuket’s own Blue Elephant is located at 96, Krabi Road, the site of the famous Phra Pitak Chinpracha Mansion. This grand, historic Sino-Portuguese residence was built in 1903 by the Chinese tin baron Tan Ma Sieng. It is a splendid building, the architecture of which is Sino-Portuguese, while it is decorated in a traditional Chinese style. The front of the mansion opens to the south and thereby captures fresh breezes throughout the year.
“We spent two years repairing, restoring and renovating it” explained Kim Steppe, son of Nooror Somany Steppe and the Phuket Blue Elephant’s charismatic manager, “We replaced the roof and managed to find an exact match of tiles from Italy, bringing a whole ew source of life to the property that was badly needed.”
Walking around the mansion and the sumptuous gardens, one can’t help but admire its splendor and feel its dramatic history.
The Blue Elephant is dedicated to serving and teaching the cooking of Royal Thai cuisine. This cuisine evolved overhundreds of years as that prepared and served in Thailand’s royal palaces and so represents a pinnacle of ingredients, taste sensations and elegance of preparation and presentation. It is the ideal place to celebrate special occasions from weddings and anniversaries, to stylish corporate functions. Both the London and Phuket restaurants are the epitome of elegance with food to match, plus a terrific selection of wines and beverages to complement such stylish dining.
And why call this wonderful endeavor the Blue Elephant? Kim says it’s because blue is the royal color on the Thai flag and the elephant is Thailand’s national animal. He also point out that if you saw a blue elephant you would never forget it whether in the heart of Phuket Town or beside the River Thames!
Last Updated (Thursday, 09 August 2012 03:22)
Phuket Airport Steak Out!
THERE’S little doubt that a large number of hungry visitors and locals regularly rampage around the airport environs saying to themselves, “Now where can I get a really excellent steak, cooked to perfection, with all the trimmings in this neck of the Phuket woods?”
Certainly many of the visitors who do this are the tourists who choose the Dewa Phuket Resort situated on Nai Yang Beach to the immediate south of the airport as their Phuket holiday residence. Indeed, so close to the runways is the Dewa Resort that also many stop-over visitors transiting through Phuket or about to leave early the next day also stays here.
Not a small proportion of these visitors enjoy the Terrace Grill’s selection of fine imported meats, fresh seafood and abundant complement of salads, vegetables and desserts when they are in residence.
The Terrace Grill sits beguilingly upon its eponymous terrace surrounded by greenery, a stone’s throw from the susurrating waves breaking onto Nai Yang Beach and offers diners a quiet, airy indoor/outdoor space in which to enjoy the wholesome good value fare to be had here.
Our own evening there started with a sundowner drink poolside, in Madame’s case a glass of sparkling 7Cascine Spumante Brut- Pinot-Chardonnay from the Italian Veneto region, which is available by the glass, while I savored a cold glass of Cantine Lenotti Pinot Grigio, one of five whites, five red wines and a rose that are conveniently available by the glass. Bottles of vino start from just 1,450 baht and we subsequently delighted in a Little Yering Pinot Noir from Yarra Valley for that price and very fine it was too!
We enjoyed starters of the Andaman Duo, comprising a delicate serving of grilled scallop on mango chutney and seared tuna loin on tomato salsa fresh from the ocean close by and gratinated asparagus with crabmeat and Hollandaise Sauce.
The focus at Terrace Grill is very much upon the excellent selection of meats from beef, to lamb, to pork and the Chef constantly searches for the best meats available. Imported cuts range from sirloins to T-bones, to tenderloins, to rib eyes and both grass fed and grain fed varieties are on offer. Bores often mount tiresome debates about the relative merits of grass versus grain cudchewing in their bovine dinner fare, but at the end of the day it’s largely a matter of individual taste preference, much like whether you prefer Lady Chatterley to or Lady Ga Ga.
While Madame happily attacked her New Zealand lamb cutlets cooked perfectly medium rare as she had requested, I sought out the lighter fare on the menu and thoroughly enjoyed a Tasmanian salmon steak, with plenty of vegetative complements selected from the “help-yourself” salad bar, plus a baked potato.
We did manage to save a little space for the delicious dessert offerings…in Madame’s case the signature dish of dark chocolate mousse with Thai chili to her liking and I richly enjoyed the baked mango on puff pastry with ginger Grand Marnier.
The Terrace Grill ticks all the right boxes…good food, good wines, reasonable pricing and a beguiling environment. And hey, you are also assured of catching your flight in the morning!
Last Updated (Sunday, 01 July 2012 23:28)
Italian Perfection at Dusit Thani's La Trattoria
The word “perfection” is not one that should be bandied about lightly when reviewing and recommending restaurants in Phuket, but is entirely justified when describing the Laguna complex’s only Italian restaurant La Trattoria at the Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket
From the moment you enter the three interconnecting domes with their light blue and white décor leading out to the west-facing al fresco terrazzo with its classic water fountain you realize that La Trattoria is a citadel dedicated to serving the very finest Italian fare.
Executive Chef Silvano Amolini grew up in a northern Italian Lake Como-based family of chefs and hospitality professionals and learnt cooking from an early age at his mama’s knee. After training in St Moritz his illustrious career first brought him to Thailand in 1991 where he fell in love not only with his bride to be, but the region itself. He returned from 1993 -6 to work at the Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket and again from November 2009 where he now oversees all the catering as their Executive Chef.
Silvano’s philosophy is to serve simple but excellently-sourced and cooked Italian dishes with the emphasis on balancing flavors and paired with beautiful complementary wines. It is what he terms “Retro Cuisine”….a return to the basics that made Italian cuisine globally famous and eschewing the ostentation and gimmickry of so much modern “TV Chef cooking.”
It is clearly a philosophy that works in spades as Dusit’s clientele features a high percentage of returning guests from the older and well-healed section of society. This sophisticated audience travels the world and samples cuisines form all the globally famous food Mecca’s and yet they rave about La Trattoria’s fare and vote with their feet and wallets by returning year after year.
Executive Chef Silvano and La Trattoria’s Chef de Cuisine Lorenzo Stelzer are adamant that inspired cuisine starts with great ingredients and so are fanatic about obtaining the finest imported and local produce with which to work. Aussie beef, New Zealand lamb, Tasmanian salmon and local Andaman fish and crayfish all feature in their selections and the dedication and attention to detail they lavish on sourcing the best produce shows through only too clearly in the dishes they serve.
Our evening started with tomato confit tartar with quail’s egg and light parmesan sauce and beetroot reduction paired with a refreshing Prosecco. Then fresh raw tuna with lemon confit and marinated bell peppers which were a perfect exemplar of flavor balance and paired beautifully with a Soave from Veneto. Lobster ravioli was next served with a hint of foie gras and rocket and again the flavor balance reflected not only a great deal of careful thought but the freshest ingredients.
The main event was Aussie lamb loin with an olive crust, porcini mushrooms and potato and spinach timbale….the lamb mouthwateringly tender and enhanced by a well balance Chianti. Dolce was raspberry gratin with vanilla sabayon and a fine selection of cheeses kept us lingering over the grappa well into the evening.
While La Trattoria clearly serves the finest of fine dining, it also manages to happily cater to families who just want lighter at-thebeach lunches and dinners. There are ample vegetarian selections plus soups, salads, home-made pasta and risotto selections to choose from and wines by the glass.
La Trattoria is once again selected as one of the Tatler’s Best Restaurants in Thailand in 2012 and so it’s easy to think of it as the Bo Derek of restaurants in Phuket….in other words a Perfect Ten!
To mark the occasion, La Trattoria is offering ‘The Best of The Best’ promotion: a 3-course set dinner paired with selected Italian wines priced at Baht 1,290++ per person. It is recommended coming early for pre-dinner cocktails and enjoy the stunning sunset on Bang Tao beach.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 05 June 2012 10:44)
The Secret behind the Jungceylon Galleon
The Full Moon Brew Work is situated right behind the huge Jungceylon galleon and is worth discovering as it is one of Phuket’s best dining and party venues.
The huge Chinese ship that graces the entrance to Patong’s Jungceylon shopping and entertainment center actually hides an important secret that you should take the time to discover. If you walk around BEHIND the big ship you will find yourself outside the Full Moon Brew Work, which is not only Phuket’s only craft beer brewing microbrewery restaurant and bar, but a delightful location to meet your friends and enjoy terrific food in a happy welcoming environment.
Khun Sukij is the friendly and extremely knowledgeable owner and manager and he and his friendly staff will welcome you whenever you drop in for a pint, some great food and a chat. After studying brewing in Berlin and then working in small scale craft breweries, he decided to go it alone and pioneer Phuket’s first craft brewery and in particular introduce unique beers made with specific Thai ingredients such as black sticky rice and coriander.
On regular offer at the Brew Work are a pale, refreshing Thaistyle Phuket Lager made with Thai Gaba rice from the King’s Royal project which delivers a sweet and malty aroma. They also have a Dark Ale which uses black sticky rice combined with caramel and chocolate malts making it a richly flavored dark colored brew. There’s also Oriental Wheat Beer which combines wheat, oatmeal, Thai tangerine peel and coriander to create a fresh buttery textured white beer. All the beers are hand crafted and use only natural ingredients with no artificial additives.
The pub also offers a full range of Craft Cocktails which use only fresh fruit plus wild honey, palm sugar and the best selection of spirit ingredients in the whole of Phuket. The special cocktail is Thailand’s official signature drink, “Siam Sunrays” which features fresh Thai herbs blended with super premium spirit.
The response to all these innovations was so good that Khun Sukij has now introduced Bohemian Lager a Czech-inspired pale golden style lager made with a mix of German and Australian hops which bring out passion fruit notes with a smooth, clean, crisp taste.
A Wild Honey Pale Ale and Oatmeal Stout will soon be introduced and a number of “Guest Beers’” are also planned.
Like any good pub, the food selection is also sensational with a full menu available and items like the steak and ribs in wild honey, Bourbon and dark beer sauce being best sellers. The Aussie tenderloin, American burger with onion marmalade and traditional fish and chips are also hot favorites.
New on the Brew Works menu are great food and beer pairings, where beer and food complement each other, such as:
Pkuket Lager with Grilled Norwegian Salmon Steak. Here the unique characteristics of the light sweet and malty aroma of the special lager fit very well with the grilled Norwegian salmon steak with pepper puree cream sauce and served with homemade mash potato.
Dark Ale with Full Moon Brew Work’s Signature Ribs. In this pairing the intense and well rounded flavors of the chocolate and caramelized malt complement the intense flavor of the Full Moon Brew Work’s signature dish - the BBQ Ribs. They are juicy and tender and topped with Dark Ale and Tennessee Bourbon and wild honey BBQ sauce.
Oriental Wheat with Phuket Pineapple Shrimp Fried Rice. Here the light citrus flavor with spices from the Thai tangerine peels and coriander make this rice dish a hero featuring locally grown pineapple and shrimps from the Andaman Sea.
With all this fabulous innovation of both food and beer happening at the Brew Works there is only one thing to do. Get on over there and say… “CHEERS!”
-By Baz Daniel
Last Updated (Friday, 04 May 2012 03:09)