Let’s get right to the point: there are two sorts of buffets. The first is the kind of mass-catering you’ll find at a cheap wedding. And the other is the sort you’ll experience at Nora Beach Resort & Spa. These are the two extremes, and they’re as different as chalk and cheese. Sadly, though, there are some people who hear the word ‘buffet’ and cringe. These are the ‘buffet victims’; those people who have had bad experiences with bad buffets in the past. And the best cure here is to go along to Nora Beach and find out what a quality beach buffet is really all about.
It wasn’t so long ago that Nora Beach was generally reckoned to have the finest beach buffets on the island. In fact they still probably do in terms of the overall quality and cost; it’s just that they only hold two of these super sessions every week now. At one time this was six nights a week, and each one on a different theme. Truly, Nora had elevated these to a high art; an alternative form of quality evening dining that was ideally-suited to a warm tropical evening.
The resort itself is extensive, and situated at the very northern end of Chaweng Beach Road, where the rocky hillside begins. This means that the grounds are laid out on lots of little terraces that the villas and walled cottages sit on, with a
little twisty lane around them all for the golf buggies to navigate. This land drops as it gets closer to the beach. And then you’ll round a bend and have the sea in front of you, with Prasuthon restaurant just out of sight behind the trees on your left.
One thing that adds to the enjoyment of a quality buffet is the layout and location. Firstly Prasuthon edges onto the beach. And there’s a patch of sand which actually runs into and alongside the restaurant, with tables and easy chairs making this into an extension of the restaurant itself. Everything’s on slightly different levels – two or three steps up or down from one area to another. There are actually two dining areas here, almost touching. Both are actually octagonal in shape and completely open on all sides, and raised up a little higher than the surroundings. And the lighting is just right, pleasantly low and intimate, except for where the food’s laid out. And here the clean, bright spotlights not only highlight what’s on offer, but additionally form a pleasant contrast to the lights inside.
There’s also an art to laying out the actual buffet tables. Here there are several L-shapes nested into each other, making it an enjoyable and easy task to turn from one to another without have to walk along long dull rows. All the tables are
covered in bright white linen cloths and offset by the immaculate gleam of polished stainless steel dishes and servers, with big shiny heated servers and pots for the hot items. There’s a fresh and crisp selection at the open salad bar alongside.
And two live cooking stations nearby preparing beef, chicken and pork kebabs hot off the grill, plus pad Thai, meat and seafood. There are numerous ready-made hot items available, but also plenty of seafood, including whole fish you can slice at, plus plentiful prawns, crab and even shellfish, depending on what’s in season. And there’s also live entertainment in the form of a very talented duo who’ll greet you with popular favourites, loves songs and ballads.
Every Tuesday evening sees the ‘Around Asia’ theme buffet, which focuses mainly on Thai dishes, but with a sprinkling of items from Japan, India and Vietnam, too. Such as the Vietnamese style Spring Rolls with Chicken, or the Indian
influenced Massaman Beef Curry. With the main dishes you can pick from Deep Fried Prawns with Tamarind Sauce, Steamed Fish Fillet with Soya Chili Sauce or Stewed Pork Rib, and a selection of meats including ‘Drunken Chicken’,
And every Thursday there’s the ‘Hawaiian Night Buffet Dinner’ with similar live entertainment. And here we’ve got (as well as all the ‘sides’ such as the salad bar and cold cuts etc.) Grilled Racks of Lamb with Peach Wine Sauce, Grilled Duck with Spiced Honey Rubbing Sauce, Grilled Salmon Fillet with Strawberry Passion Fruit Sauce, Avocado Salad with Rock Lobster, Toasted Herbal Tuna with Honey Lemon Sauce, assorted sashimi and sushi (and much more!), and a live BBQ station which will make your mouth water – rock lobster, crab, prawns, beef and pork tenderloin, beef sirloin and roasted honey farm ham. This is a feast!
I’m putting the prices right at the bottom here because I want them to stand out. The Around Asia buffet dinner is priced at just 850 baht. And the Hawaiian Night comes in at only 950 baht. As I said to start with, at Nora Beach they’ve got it all
sorted out. The quality is excellent and the price is perfect – they’ve had years of experience at this. And they’ve ended up turning the buffet format into an art!
Rob De Wet
For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7742 9400.