Cordon Blue – The Siam Residence is all tied up in blue ribbons.

siam residence

When we see or hear the term ‘cordon bleu’, our minds immediately go directly to food, and quite probably French food, as the term is most commonly applied to cuisine, and the wording is from that language. But have you ever considered the literal translation or the origins of the term? And if you have, just how is it relevant to food?

Cordon bleu translates literally into English as blue ribbon. According to Larousse Gastronomique, cordon bleu originated back in the 16th century, when King Henri III of France established L’Ordre des Chevaliers du Saint-Esprit (Order of the Knights of the Holy Spirit). From 1578 to 1789, it was the most exclusive order in France, and each of its knighted members were awarded the Cross of the Holy Spirit, which hung from a sky-blue ribbon, known as Le Cordon Bleu. All members had to be at least 35 years old and Roman Catholic, but there were a few exceptions based on royal connections. These 100 knights were then called Les Cordon Bleus.

So, how did this term become related to food? Well, after elaborate ceremonies for these highly-respected knights, there were huge sumptuous banquets held in their honour. Over time, these feasts became legendary for their prestigious and high-quality food. By extension, the term has since been applied to cuisine prepared to a very high standard and to outstanding chefs. It is surmised that the analogy no doubt arose from the similarity between the blue ribbons worn by the knights and the generally blue ribbons or ties of a cook’s apron. For anyone who has ever attended a country fair in The United States or Europe, it is generally the ’blue ribbon’ that everyone wants to earn. Whether it was for the biggest pumpkin or the best apple pie, if you earned the blue ribbon, you were the best of the best.

Nowadays, a ‘cordon bleu’ or ‘schnitzel’ normally refers to a dish which probably originated in Switzerland around the 1940’s. Chicken, pork or veal are normally used, pounded thin and wrapped around a slice of ham and some cheese,
then breaded and pan-fried or baked.

The idyllic beachside restaurant at The Siam Residence happens to have a Thai house chef who has worked here for the last 20 years. She has never lost her passion for cooking, and every dish is made with real feeling and love for the end result, which is to please her guests. All four kitchen staff are loyal native Samuians and live close by. They have all been at The Siam Residence a long time, and have bonded to form an exceptional team, consistently cooking high-quality food, using only the freshest ingredients which they buy every day from the local market. If a type of fish or meat is unavailable, they will not substitute for a lower quality frozen alternative. You can be assured that all the mouth-watering authentic Thai and international dishes that they pride themselves on, are created using only the best and freshest ingredients. The genuine Thai dishes are created with traditional ingredients and recipes, but the chef is flexible with the level of spiciness that you prefer; anything from zero to crazy hot!

Any fish or shellfish can be chosen from the range on the menu as long as available; red or white snapper, barracuda, mackerel, squid, king prawns or lobster. Crab, rock lobster, tiger prawns and other seafood are available on pre-request only. Then choose your preferred method of cooking and side orders. You can order your seafood; barbequed with garlic butter, deep fried with garlic and pepper, fried with sweet and sour sauce or spicy chilli sauce, braised in Penang curry, stir fried with Thai yellow curry, or have it the healthy way; steamed with soy sauce and vegetables, young ginger and vegetables or lime, spring onions and Thai herbs. All dishes are served with a choice of steamed rice, French fries, fried potatoes, baked potato, or noodles. Meat dishes include; Mixed Grill, Beef Tenderloin or Tender Grilled Chicken and come with a choice of sauce; herb butter, peppercorn, mushroom or red wine, and side dishes.

There is also an assortment of pasta dishes and burgers, and in addition to the menu items, there are daily specials which are normally a fusion of Thai and western fare, such as Chicken with Lemongrass. If you fancy something that is not on the menu, no problem, just ask. If they have the ingredients they will cook it for you. Everything that comes out of the kitchen is
home-made and prepared freshly every time. And the prices are really good value, even the wine which starts at 740 baht a bottle, for the house wine.

The Siam Residence offers a calm and relaxing atmosphere for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Come early, stay late and take the opportunity to explore the beautiful bay of Lipa Noi on which the resort is situated. The white sandy beach alongside the shimmering ocean is the perfect venue for strolling, kayaking or snorkelling. Of course, you can simply relax by the pool or beach or enjoy a traditional Thai massage under the palm trees. As day turns to evening you are in the perfect spot to witness the glorious technicolour sunset, as the sun sinks into the horizon, perhaps, whilst enjoying a cocktail or aperitif! For any special occasion, staff are happy to arrange a romantic and intimate private dining area for you on the beach. This is also an excellent location for a small and select wedding, with accommodation and catering all on hand.

The Siam Residence is located on the quiet and peaceful west coast of Samui. Heading south from Nathon, turn right at the first set of traffic lights, signposted to Samui Hospital. Follow the road until you reach a 7/11 and turn left immediately after it. Follow the road for about 500 metres and the entrance is on the right-hand side before you get to the temple. Opening times are daily from 7.00 am to 10.00 pm, with breakfast served until 10.30 am.

With Austrian owners and friendly Swiss management and hospitality, everything here is spotlessly clean, tidy and well maintained. The management and guests most definitely vote for awarding the blue ribbon to the chef here. And yes, you can order Pork Cordon Bleu, stuffed with mozzarella cheese and smoked ham. Enjoy!

Karan Ladd

For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7742 0008.