Most folk will get it wrong. Say the words ‘beach club’ and see what they think. It’s a fair bet they’ll conjure up images of cool young fashionistas, bikini girls, a DJ or two, and pool parties late into the night. And, yes, indeed, there are some clubs on the beach like this. But there’s another kind of beach club too. This sort is slower, kinder, less-intense and more laid-back. There’s no thumping music. The pool’s filled with people who want to get cool, not look it. The restaurant has far more than burritos. And at night there’s a lot of smiling people sitting quietly because the kids are in bed. This is a family ‘beach club’. And it’s what you’ll find at Buri Rasa Village in Chaweng.
Buri Rasa is one of those places which are just as nice whether it’s day or night. The resort is dotted with huge trees, and the two-story villas are shady and cool beneath their dense overhang. The clean white walls and the trelliswork of Thai-style timbering are covered in lush tropical foliage and it’s cool and quiet as you wander along the sun-dappled paths between the villas. It’s peaceful and the feel-good factor here is high.
Continue to wander along the twisting patch and you’ll emerge right next to the ‘restaurant’ – the whole area here being known as ‘The Beach Club’: the restaurant, the cool little bar next to it, the poolside, the elevated terrace along the beach
and even down on the sand itself, where at night the tables appear for some real on-the-beach dining. The actual restaurant itself is in true Thai style and in reality is a roofed-in space that’s open at the sides. There’s a placid atmosphere
here – the décor is understated and the wooden furniture is sturdy.
Right from the start, this restaurant made a name for itself in that the nature of the cuisine, and its quality, was of prime importance. Back in the good old days, many years ago, this kind of thing wasn’t really important – you had guests, they
had to eat, so you fed them. But the more perceptive resorts went a different way. They not only set up some of the best eating anywhere, but welcomed outside visitors, too. As a result the restaurant at Buri Rasa was originally established by a top international chef, Umberto Piccolini. And over the years to follow, the cuisine was expanded and refined by a subsequent succession of equally renowned 5-star kitchen kings. The result is that today, there’s a culinary heritage in place that’s very hard to beat.
Leon Mascarenhas is the resort manager. And, if you get talking to him, he makes a lot of sense. “We’re catering for couples and families, which means a selection of ‘light-bites’ and salad dishes for the heat of the daytime, plus nibble-sized dishes for smaller appetites. And of course the quality of the food needs to be tip-top. We’ve created a good balance of cost and quality, with our meat being imported from Australia and the seafood being only the freshest we can find. And so the evening dinner menu is very popular, particularly the exceptionally good Seafood Baskets which so many people come here to enjoy.”
This resort was amongst the first to set a whole new trend. Whereas it was expected that top restaurants would charge top prices, gradually the thinking changed. It was a much better idea to bring prices down. That made for lots of happy in-house guests. And it also attracted lots more custom from outside as well. Today it’s still the same – dining at Buri Rasa is exceptional value for money.
The à la carte menu is outstanding in its own right. There’s a wide selection of both Thai and international offerings, with a variety of starters, soups, meat and seafood dishes, pizzas and pastas. There are several enticing set menus, plus a superb gourmet selection of desserts which are by themselves reason enough to come here. But there are several extra attractions which just can’t be ignored.
One is that, right on the beach, there are just five private tented ‘salas’. Each of these is a small and intimate gauzy chiffon canopy, open towards the sea, with your table inside. It’s an exclusive beach dining setting and much sought-after, so making a reservation here is a must.
And then there’s the star of the show – the Seafood Baskets. Putting it simply, there are three options. Each of these, Set A, B and C, gets bigger and more lavish. And each one comes with a bottle of very good wine included in the price. Set A (the top set) is a veritable banquet. On your table you’ll see lobster, prawns, oysters, squid, mussels, blue crab (with yellow curry), tuna and sea bass (filled with lime and lemongrass), together with fried rice with garlic butter and mixed salad. Plus, of course, your bottle of Bird’s Block Cuvee white or red.
The other two sets vary only slightly in the quantity and selection; Set B for example doesn’t have the sea bass included. But here’s the kicker – there’s only 350 baht per person difference between Set C (which is big) and Set A (which is
gigantic). And the huge feast of Set A is just 3,900 baht for two people!
But to top it all off, every Tuesday there’s a simply splendid BBQ seafood buffet on the beach. This is one of the best around, with a huge variety of hot and cold platters and live cooking stations. All the tables are out on the sand (plus some on the terrace too), making the atmosphere one of the best you’ll find anywhere. And there’s also some great entertainment, too, sometimes a fire show, other times a duo of acrobats – it varies from month to month. The price of this is just 950 baht per person, although you’re welcome to opt for something from the à la carte menu instead, if one of your party has a small appetite.
Coming to dine at Buri Rasa means a delightful setting, a super selection, a wide choice and exceptional value – it really is beachside bliss!
Rob De Wet
For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7723 0222.