Nora Beach Resort & Spa is situated at the more-northern reach of Chaweng Beach Road, not so far from where all the development seems to stop, and the road goes increasingly uphill towards the turn-off for the airport. Unlike the rest of Chaweng, this is where the coastline starts to get hilly, and so the whole resort is layered very neatly down the hillside. You’ll need to ask at reception for a buggy to take you down to the beach and restaurant.
But that also means you’ll get to see the very attractive layout, and the way it’s all combined together. Just before you get to see the sea, you’ll be dropped off on a slope just a few metres above the pool, with the restaurant just over to the left. And this is when you’ll be introduced to Prasuthon.
Prasuthon is the name of the signature restaurant here. In true Thai style – and completely unlike the typical restaurants found in Europe – the restaurant here is made up of several areas, some of them roofed over and others open to the stars. In fact Prasuthon consists of huge octagonal spaces, open-sided, made of rich dark wood, and with high Thai-style roofs supported by pillars all around. The whole restaurant is on several different levels, together with a part of the beach itself, with short decks between and steps up and down, cleverly breaking up the floor spaces into lots of cosy, smaller areas. It’s really lovely, and very romantic.
The excellent cuisine here is in the well-established International and Thai format. Nora Beach has the added benefit of their Executive Chef, Khun Sit (Khun Sitthichai Saephu), who previously ran several 5-star kitchens before he began working here, in 2004. His Thai menu is extensive, and contains all the expected platters of starters and soups, curries, stir fries, noodle dishes and mains, but with a strong leaning towards seafood. And in addition to the individual dishes you’ll find the ‘Set Menus’. There are several options here, each of them consisting of four courses plus a starter. The international side of things, thanks to the expertise of Chef Sit, is first-class, covering a range of pizzas, many pasta choices, and even several subtly-creative blends of East and West, such as the ‘Linguine in Oyster Sauce with Shrimp, Garlic and Sweet Basil’.
But with the popularity of seafood, it’s hardly surprising then that the most popular offering (and Prasuthon’s signature dish) ‘King of the Sea’, is a huge plate for two of mixed seafood that comes with salad, baby corn, mange-tout, and a mango sauce with chili balsamic. It stars a fillet of sea bass, together with prawns and scallops (and more, depending on what’s in season).
However, one of the best-known faces of Prasuthon and Nora Beach are the beach buffets they hold twice a week. Every Tuesday there’s ‘Thai Night’. And here there’s a sumptuous spread at the edge of the sand, with spotlight tables covered in snow-white cloths and an entire range of hot and cold dishes set out for your enjoyment. Plus there’s a Thai ‘Pong Lang’ dance troupe with a live Thai orchestra supplying the music.
But it’s the Thursday ‘Hawaiian Night’ which tends to draw a following. This is when ‘East meets West’, with not only a huge range of meat, fish and seafood on offer, but also live cooking stations where your choices are cooked exactly to your liking; just pick out what you want and it’ll be delivered freshly-cooked to your table. Plus there’s also the big attraction of the exciting fire dancers – a photo opportunity not to be missed!
The best thing to do is to turn up at happy hour (from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm) when most drinks are 2-for-1. Enjoy the sunset. Relax for a while. Then turn your attention to the buffet and entertainment for the rest of the evening. But the best thing of all? The price.
Not only is this one of the best beach buffets on the island, but it is extremely affordable. You’ll need to make a booking; people travel to come here. But this is the real thing, a genuine diamond on the beach – Prasuthon, at Nora Beach Resort & Spa!
Rob De Wet
For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7742 9400.