Some dinners are so good that they linger for a long while in our minds, but very few are destined to become lifetime memories. That takes some doing. And yet there are restaurant teams on Samui that specialize in just this – making a meal one of the best in the diners’ lives. At Anantara Lawana Koh Samui, the staff are adept at putting on spectacular events to the delight of their guests. There’s a charm inherent in an evening which has been prepared right down to the last detail, where staff have created a special space that wows diners as soon as they see it. Romance is part of the equation, as is excellent food and the setting itself.
Anantara Lawana is a place where romance and fine dining complement each other. Couples come here for many reasons, and according to the Director of Food & Beverage, Yolande Hu, “It’s often the setting for a proposal. But equally it could be a honeymoon treat, a wedding anniversary or it might just be something great to do while on holiday.” Yolande goes on to say that the dinner can also be put on for families, or for groups of friends. “It’s a very versatile sort of happening,” she says. “We dovetail it to our diners’ needs entirely. And not just that, the entire evening is personalized: the couple will be looked after both by a personal chef and personal butler.”
The resort is set in a beautiful and unspoiled part of north Chaweng, just a kilometre or so north of town. The entire area is very tranquil, and the light spectacular. The day ends gently with late-afternoon gold gradually turning a deep red as night falls. Lights come on along the bay, and there’s a hush that fills the air. Depending on the kind of experience you’d like, candles, torches or lanterns may grace the spot where you’re eating. You can opt for very low, intimate lighting, or
something brighter – your personal butler will be happy to advise you.
Upon arrival, start perhaps with one of the excellent cocktails, then when you’re ready, you’ll be escorted to your dining area by your personal butler. Depending on what you’ve chosen, it might be in a small wood sala that’s on the edge
of the beach, or in a white gazebo right on the sands. Whatever, the setting is amazing. You’ll be able to gaze out to the tiny island of Koh Matlang and enjoy the idyllic and undisturbed feel of the beach, which is one of the most secluded in the area.
The menus for the romantic dinner range from traditional Thai to international cuisine. There are three different menus. Firstly the traditional Taste of Thai (which also has a vegetarian version, if you prefer), then there’s Italian (also with vegetarian option) and International. There are five or six courses for each of the menus, so you’ll definitely need to set aside a good couple of hours for the experience, probably more. Dishes include grilled Phuket lobster finished with fine herbs and aged Parmesan, a flame-grilled rack of lamb, red reef snapper fillet and the delicious 150-day grain-fed Black Angus tenderloin. On the Thai side, you can feast on delicacies such as Tom Kha Gai, coconut milk soup and an excellent green curry with chicken, beef or prawns along with Thai eggplants and water chestnuts. Then there’s wok-fried pork,
crispy garlic and crushed pepper sauce – these are all favourite dishes throughout the nation. For desserts try a typically Thai mango and sticky rice, or if you’ve chosen the international menu, flambé rum lady’s fingers with bananas with
orange and cinnamon-scented cream.
Anantara Lawana naturally has a very extensive wine list. Since 2012, Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards have listed the resort for its excellent selection, appropriate for pairings with dinners, and its sheer appeal to a range of wine lovers.
So you want to partake in this experience? Nothing could be easier. All you have to do is to phone or email 24 hours in advance, and the staff will do the rest. Your personal butler will soon be in touch and ask you what sort of decoration
you’d like, as well as which of the menus you’d like to order. There may be quite a few details, enough to warrant a Skype session, but the idea is that when it comes to the evening itself, everything will have been prepared to perfection.
Dining here is in the hands of a master chef, Azizskandar Awang, who hails from Malaysia where he trained to cook in classic French style. While working at the Renaissance in Kuala Lumpur, Aziz as he is more usually known, won an award as the country’s Best Young Chef, and went on to win awards in the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs competition. Since he came to Samui he’s worked at some of the island’s most prestigious resorts and restaurants. He’s now in charge of dining at Anantara Lawana, where he continues to cook in contemporary styles that are underpinned by French classics. As dedicated as he is creative, Aziz offers romantic dining that is the work of a culinary genius.
Special requests are all part of the planning, so if you have something that you would like added, don’t hesitate to ask. Says Yolande, “Couples may have specific food requests, or there may be one or other thing on the menu that they’re not so keen on. Swaps are of course possible, and both your personal chef and your butler will go to inordinate lengths to please you.”
One thing that many a resort overlooks is the choice of music, but this is not the case here at Anantara Lawana; there’s a dedicated assistant who will put together a playlist for you, based on your preferences. Or you can, of course, simply
bring your own playlist and your personal butler will set this up for you. Music is an important feature in dining and guests who’re listening to their own choices are bound to be a lot happier than ones who have to put up with songs that’ll make them grit their teeth.
If you prefer, you can also have a live band come and play for you while you eat. Again there’s an enormous range in the type of music, which could be traditional Thai or something more western. Anantara Lawana can also arrange
traditional Thai dancing, a DJ – more suitable for larger groups – or a stunning fire show.
After a dinner here, you’ll have to work hard to conjure up a more romantic dining experience. In any case it’d be hard not to want to repeat the experience you’ve had. This is definitely culinary pampering at its best.
For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7796 0333.