PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
"If ya gran was Thai, she'd cook like us." The humorous motto at Samui Thai should win you from the star, even before the food does. Proprietor Heath Gustafsson can be thanked for making us laugh at the thought of wok wielding grandmas. He is also responsible for the contemporary colours of the dining room and a rather funky bar with backlights that draw well-deserved attention to its marble facade. Table settings are made special with silky jade green coverings and teal serviettes are shaped with a proud plumage, similar to the bird of paradise flowers in the vase on the bar.
Chef, Jiab Somchock, holds court in the kitchen, where her deft hands produce traditional dishes full of simple flavours. The boutique-sized menu is suited to the 30-seat dining room. The menu divides appetisers from soups, salad, noodles and rice dishes while stir-fries and curries are constructed around beef, chicken, duck and seafood. Grathong thong is a delightful appetiser, composed of delicate pastry shells filled with the novel combination of cashew nuts, roasted coconut, red onion, lemon and palm sauce. Larb chicken salad is a mix of minced morsels with palate zapping Thai herbs, lemon juice and powdered chilli. Phad nuea goong gai is a stir-fried trio of beef, prawns and chicken lashed with oyster sauce and red duck curry brings roasted, boneless pieces of the bird plumped with cherry tomatoes, pineapple, basil and coconut milk. For dessert, sweeten things up with cream caramel, given a Thai twist with a dash of coconut cream.