Bold claims are easily made. But when a restaurant announces itself as being ‘The Quintessential Beach Dining Experience’, it really must be absolutely sure that it’s going to deliver on that promise dayafter-day, month-upon-month, year-after-year or it’s in trouble. Well at this fabulous restaurant, not only does it justify its own glowing description, but it does so with total ease. Sands really is what it claims to be – and some!
And that all becomes crystal clear when you learn that Sands is the idyllic beachside International cuisine restaurant of Banyan Tree Samui, one of the world’s ﬁnest resorts, that has its very own private beach in the Laem Nan area of Lamai. (See the review for their outstanding contemporary Thai cuisine restaurant Saffron right here.)
“…And should you want to have an extra-special romantic meal for two (it’s so romantic just about everywhere here anyway!) then book their ‘Destination Dining’ package which includes having an intimate table within a private canopy surrounded by ﬂaming lanterns set up on the beach itself.”
As you’re approaching Lamai on the ring-road from Chaweng, take the turning on the left just after the landmark IT Complex. Follow this lane for a few hundred metres and you’ll arrive at Banyan Tree Samui’s entrance on your left. And it’s from here that you’ll be taken in an electric-buggy on a fun two-minute drive through the scenic tropical gardens (in what is, in effect, a huge country estate) and dropped off at the stunning Sands.
If you’re there for lunch, your ﬁrst view will be of the tall palm trees lining the pristine white sands, with turquoise-blue waters beyond – it almost feels like you’ve walked into a scene from ‘The Beach’! Huge rock-boulders line the left of the private cove, with the resort’s lobby and The Edge restaurant way over to the right on the hillside and Sands spread majestically along the beach. Tropical island scenes just don’t get any better and this would make the perfect picture postcard. And if you’re there for dinner, you still get that immersive ‘desert island’ feeling but with the warm glow given off by the various discreet lights, lanterns and lamps that supply the subtle illumination.
Although the chic open-on-four sides restaurant building itself, with the openkitchen behind, can comfortably accommodate 20 diners in great style, most guests choose to enjoy the natural surroundings to their fullest and dine on the expansive open-air terrace which is shaded by the leaves of a magniﬁcent old tree (that’s festooned with small lights at night). There’s more than enough room here for the seating for 30 so you won’t feel cramped. And should you wish to sit at the adjacent beach bar for a cocktail or two before or after your meal, there’re comfortable barstools for a further 15 people over there too. One of Sands’ many novel features is that the menus presented by the everhelpful staff are on iPads, meaning that you can scroll up and down and along to view the dishes in all their colourful glory (and zoom in to see the descriptions if you’ve left your glasses behind!).
There are ever-changing daily specials available but to give you an idea of the sort of fare on offer, here are some recommendations from the à la carte. A great way to start off is with a sharing (for two) appetiser, and either the Chef’s Seafood Platter which comprises shrimp spring rolls with sweet plum sauce, seared sesame tuna on seaweed salad, marinated salmon tartar on sushi rice, grilled king scallop-ginger mango coulis and yam seafood with lime-chili dressing, or the Japanese Umaraki Nori Bento Box containing a giant vegetable rice roll with seaweed wrap ﬁlled with daikon radish, omelet and avocado and accompanied with ginger gari, wasabi, kikkoman soy sauce and crispy vegetable chips are well worth considering.
“… and it almost feels like you’ve walked into a scene from ‘The Beach’!”
The word ‘delicious’ doesn’t really do justice to either of the following main courses, they really are that good. First we have the fabulous Prosciutto HamWrapped Salmon and Pistachio-Crusted Tuna with buttered root vegetable, salmon roe and a creamy lemon sauce, and secondly, there’s the succulent Veal Cutlets served with tomato-vegetable relish, caramelized lemon and a choice of green peppercorn, red wine, teriyaki, mushroom, BBQ, garlic butter or Thai spicy seafood sauce. Both are well worthy recommendations.
And next we have desserts. Do try the Chocoholic which is an oven-baked chocolate pudding, chocolate mousse and ice-cream with white chocolate chili coulis, or the Lemon-Infused Crème Brûlée Tart topped with homemade Thai basil ice-cream. You’d be hard-pushed to ﬁnd better than either – anywhere! In addition to the daily specials there are weekly specials too: Mondays – ‘Wagyu Beef Night’; Tuesdays – ‘From Sea to Table’ 4-course set meal paired with Monsoon Valley wine selections from Hua Hin, Thailand; Wednesdays – ‘Surf & Turf’; Thursdays – ‘Wok Away With You’, Japanese teriyaki cuisine; Fridays – ‘Shellﬁsh Carnival’; and every Saturday it’s ‘BBQ Night’ complete with an exciting ﬁre show (at 8:00 pm).
Plus every Thursday and Saturday there’s live music on offer to keep everyone thoroughly entertained. And should you want to have an extra-special romantic meal for two (it’s so romantic just about everywhere here anyway!) then book their ‘Destination Dining’ package which includes having an intimate table within a private canopy surrounded by ﬂaming lanterns set up on the beach itself. Did someone say, “The Quintessential Beach Dining Experience?” Sands restaurant comes highly recommended and reservations are essential.
The restaurant is open for lunch from 11:00 am and for dinner from 6:00 pm. The kitchen closes at 10:30 pm. For reservations and further information, telephone 0 7791 5333.
Laem Nan, Lamai