It wasn’t so long ago that when you stayed on Samui, most resorts would put on exactly the same fare night after night. You couldn’t blame them: things had to be kept simple, because supplies weren’t so easy to obtain; a single night boat provided everything. Nowadays, all that has changed, and Samui offers its guests everything when it comes to dining. Once a rarity, buffets, with their wide-ranging treats, have now become quite commonplace, and tend to liven up anyone’s hotel stay. Better still, they’re all open to non-guests. Everyone is welcome, in other words.
But not all buffets are created equal. A few seem to have a primary focus on nigh impossible to find foodstuffs while a few others go to the opposite extreme, offering a rag-bag of offerings from the local market that are negligently thrown together. Samui tends to do buffets well, so these are the exceptions. In between, however, there are scores of different variations on the buffet theme, making it really hard to pick which one to go to.
At Buri Rasa Village, you’ll find a buffet that’s run by one of the island’s longest-standing chefs, Don Lawson, who also helps lead the island’s Culinary Circle, and seems to be the go-to guy for just about anything to do with food and drink. He has
a serious pedigree when it comes to making great food, and was snapped up by the Rasa Hospitality Group, which runs Buri Rasa; he’s now the culinary manager, overseeing everything in the group’s six properties. This means that he’s
often travelling, and has to be able to come up with ideas that his teams can implement. As you can imagine, he makes sure that those teams are expert in all that they do. For the buffet, he sat down with the executive chef, Khun Somkid Pokkuntod, and put together ideas for what to have. Khun Somkid had plenty of ideas, according to Don, and they worked together with Khun Suchart Thongyoi, the food and beverage manager, to perfect all the food for the buffet. It involved a lot more than just the choice of food; equally important was how it was to be made and presented.
Which brings us to the next point. If you’ve ever been to a buffet, you’ll know that most of them rely a lot on chafing dishes. For some guests it’s fun to lift all those different lids and take a peek on what’s inside. For others, those same lids are just irritating, especially if there are a dozen of more of them! But the most obvious thing about chafing dishes is that though they work well for some foodstuffs, they’re a disaster for others. All that gentle warmth for hours on end, and things can get as rubbery as a child’s toy duck.
Don therefore only relies on chafing dishes for a few items, so when you get to the buffet you won’t see any long line of shiny steel containers. Instead, he’s put a much better system in place. You can help yourself to salads and the like, but
for other items, just tell the staff what you would like and the chef will cook it right there for you on the spot. This of course guarantees freshness and taste. But it also means that you have a say in exactly how you’d like your food prepared. What
could be better?
Buffet highlights at Buri Rasa range from Thai through international delights. You’ll find for example, tiger king prawns, marinated sea bass with Thai herbs in banana leaf, Boston style pork ribs and pomelo salad with spring onion, young white
coconut, roasted cashew nuts and spicy citrus dressing. Also on the spicy side, you’ll find tom kha pla muek, an aromatic coconut milk soup with local squid and fresh lime leaf, galangal shoots and coriander leaf. Then there’s pasta salad, rib-eye steaks, noodles and rice dishes. And this being a buffet, there are plenty of accompaniments. Afterwards you can expect
some great desserts; spoil yourself with vanilla crème brulée or the double chocolate mousse – you’ll see all the desserts displayed in their own special section.
Since the resort is a small one that’s highly personable (it’s not for nothing that it styles itself as a ‘village’) the buffet night isn’t packed out to the rafters. No long lines of diners queuing up in despair, so there’s time for the chef to make everything without any rush. It’s a good system and diners are happy with it. You’ll also find a Mongolian cooking station, where the chef whips up some highly-tasty stir-fried dishes. Though there’s not a yurt in sight, the cooking traditions of Mongolia are faithfully evoked in the chef’s use of the wok – expect some fiery blasts worthy of a country that once ruled a sixth of the world. You can watch the chef at work, or just wait a couple of moments for your plate to be ready. It’ll be hot and fresh.
The buffet is set right by the sea and is a comfortable experience, one that encourages you to linger. The night air is soft, and sitting here with a loved one can be a very romantic experience. Tables are well-spaced so it’s more intimate than most buffets can ever hope to be. The evening is made more memorable yet by live music. Nothing raucous, just something that fits in with the ambience, and is quite likely to involve an acoustic guitar and singing. It doesn’t disrupt the overall peacefulness of the area; Buri Rasa is just far enough south of the centre of Chaweng to be surprisingly tranquil – you won’t find your evening is disturbed by music pumping out from just down the beach.
The buffet starts at 7:00 pm and takes place every Monday night. Book ahead to avoid disappointment, and come early to watch the sunset. There are some great cocktails to be had here, as well as long drinks. Incidentally, guests who are staying in the resort are cordially invited to take part in the resort’s weekly cocktail party, a convivial get together, which is held just a few steps away from the buffet. This starts at 6:00 pm.
If you miss out on the Monday, don’t worry, as you can join the Thai barbecue night, each Thursday. Either way, you’ll be in the capable hands of Don Lawson, Chef Somkid and his team, who will do their utmost to ensure that you and your loved ones have a great evening.
For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7723 0222.