It caused a sensation in 1995 for being the first. And it’s been one of the very best International restaurants on Samui ever since. But that hasn’t happened through resting on its numerous laurels collected during the last 22 years. No – Poppies restaurant is always looking for new and exciting ways of making its dining experience an extra-special one. And it’s done it yet again recently with several novel added features, as you will discover.
Poppies is one of Samui’s finest boutique resorts and being located at the quiet southern end of Chaweng Beach, spread between the Beach Road and the sea, means that it’s easy to get to but well away from all the hustle-and-bustle of the centre of town itself. And the unique dining experience at Poppies starts well before you reach the restaurant!
When you arrive, just tell the reception staff that you’re there for dinner and they’ll lead you into the stylish lobby and towards an ornately carved wooden door. Up until now, only the staff had access to this mysterious entrance, but as from the beginning of June this year, its secret will be revealed and it will be open every night at 6:00 pm for dinner guests.
Once you pass over the threshold, you won’t find yourself in another room (as expected) but you’ll soon discover that you’re at one end of a hidden underground passage. One that extends the full 50 metres from the lobby to the beachside restaurant itself. Previously used exclusively as a discreet service route for staff, it’s now lined with various restaurant reviews and beautiful paintings made of old photographs showing the origins of Poppies (which go back all the way back to Bali, 44 years ago!) with a description and story below each one. So by the time you emerge in the kitchen itself a few minutes later, you’ll know the interesting history behind the name, and be ready for the next chapter in the story – your dinner!
Choose between sitting in the elegant 40-seater open-sided teak pavilion itself with its ornate Thai-style roof, outside in the large beachside sala, or on the romantic two-tiered beach terrace where there’s room for 40 more. Tropical restaurant settings don’t come more idyllic than this – and that’s another reason for Poppies justified success over the years. But perhaps the greatest reason is the food – which really is outstanding!
And this has a lot to do with the skills of their two executive chefs. Firstly, there’s the Thai Cuisine Executive Chef, Khun Wantanee, who’s been at Poppies since day one. Then there’s the International Cuisine Executive Chef, Khun Noi, a relative ‘newcomer’ who’s only been at Poppies for 20 years! Both chefs are at the very top of their trade, producing exquisite cuisine night after night, year upon year.
“… and tropical restaurant settings don’t come more idyllic than this.”
In addition to the ‘soup of the day’ and ‘freshly-caught fish of the day’, there’s a Thai/International à la carte menu offering a wide variety of delicious and tempting dishes all created using the finest and freshest produce.
Main course dishes include the ever-popular (and for very good reasons!) Thai-style Whole Fresh White Snapper, air-dried and deep-fried (or whatever your preferred choice of preparation) with a spicy mango salad, and the super-succulent Roast Duck Breast with plum and strawberry sauce, feta cheese, rocket salad and potato croquette.
And Poppies is also renowned for its set-meals which come in three distinct formats. Firstly, there’re five famous Kantoke sets for 2, offering a selection of various dishes served on a rattan tray. The Royal Kantoke is the top-of-the-range and comprises seven meat dishes plus a dessert, with the six-dish (including dessert) vegetarian kantoke also being highly recommendable.
“Plus every Saturday it’s ‘Thai Night’, when there’s live entertainment.”
The second set-meal format is the regular mixed-selection offer, with Poppies Seafood Extravaganza being the star of the show. Not surprising as it comprises prawn bisque, char-grilled Phuket lobster, prawn, squid, scallops, mussels, blue crab and white tuna fillet with a selection or sauce plus seasonal vegetables and your choice of potato followed by the diet-busting warm chocolate lava cake with raspberry coulis and vanilla ice-cream!
And the third and final set-meal is the new ‘Pinto’ three-dish set meal for one which comes served in an authentic wooden three-tiered carry-stack (called a pinto), similar to those that are used to keep meals hot when visiting temples, etc. The dishes combine Thai and International flavours and each one is a collaboration of the talents of both chefs. Yet another novel idea that makes the dining experience that bit more interesting – and memorable!
Plus every Saturday it’s ‘Thai Night’, when there’s live entertainment in the form of a bamboo-instrument orchestra and Thai dancing (there’s also a small ‘market’ where local artisans display and trade their homemade arts & crafts). And you might like to note that Poppies is a great place to go for lunch too, as it has a completely separate luncheon menu with the emphasis on ‘lighter’ cuisine, such as exotic fresh salads, pastas and Thai favourites.
And after dinner, as you stroll through the lush tropical gardens with their carp-filled ponds and rustic bridges on your way to the lobby, you’ll find out what was above you as you were making your way along the secret passage a couple of hours earlier!
Poppies is open for lunch from 12:00 noon and for dinner from 6:00 pm.
For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7742 2419