We’re all looking for perfection in our lives. Especially when we’re on holiday. And that could mean trying to find the perfect beach (as in Alex Garland’s famous novel, ‘The Beach’, which is based on Samui’s neighbouring islands), or, more often than not, the perfect restaurant in which to spend a perfect night of fine-dining. As this isn’t a beach guidebook, I’ll tell you about one of the island’s perfect restaurants. And that’s RockPool.
“…Yes, with its terrific location, fabulous cuisine and perfect ambience, RockPool is certainly one of the best dining experiences that Samui offers, and therefore comes highly recommended.”
Let’s start with the location. RockPool is set within Kanda Residences, which is just five minutes north of Chaweng, on the road to Choeng Mon, and you can’t miss it. There’s ample parking space opposite and when you arrive at the reception/lobby and tell the staff that you’re there for dinner, an electric buggy will immediately take you down the winding lane and deliver you at the amazing RockPool restaurant.
The 30-seater interior is spacious, with a high canopy ceiling, polished wooden flooring, discreet but ample lighting, and huge tables and chairs, including sofa-style options too. It’s open-plan, with the show-kitchen at the back and the cocktail bar to the side and great views across the infinity pool to the secluded bay below and the completely open dining deck.
And to reach that most popular place to dine, just take the few steps leading down and you’ll find it set up high above the rocks on its own amazing promontory terrace with a stunning 360˚ view. It’s also a great place for enjoying a drink, especially as there’s a ‘2 for 1 happy hour’ for FIVE hours from 2:00 pm until 7:00 pm every day.
There’s seating for just 30 diners here, giving the whole affair an intimate and exclusive ambience. And with the sounds of the waves crashing against the rocks below, the spotlit views of the private bay and residences around you and the romantic twinkling of the bright stars above, locations for dining on Samui don’t come better than this. The food would have to be really special to match this – and it is!
And that’s courtesy of the very talented Brazilian executive chef, Lucas Leonardi Varin. His culinary journey began after he received his Degree in Gastronomy from São Paulo’s Nossa Senhora do Patrocínio University, in 2009, and has taken him throughout his own country and much of the rest of South America, extensively across Europe and South-East Asia, and also to the Caribbean, Australia and Japan. And not only did Chef Lucas learn the secrets of a multitude of different cuisines along the way, but he also picked up four additional languages! He’s worked in several Michelin-starred restaurants in France, too, including the famous Hotel Le Belvédère in Corsica, and latterly at the Hotel Christopher in Saint-Barthélemy, French West Indies, where he headed the kitchen as the executive chef.
Needless to say, with someone like Chef Lucas in charge, the à la carte menu offers a great range of dishes. And starters include the delicious Ceviche of the Day comprising raw fish marinated in coriander, onion, lime juice, pineapple, garlic and pepper, served with salad and toast, and the ever-popular Pan Fried Scallops with celeriac puree, Iberico ham, cherry tomato compote, and stir-fried kale and broccoli in truffle oil.
A very recommendable main course choice is The Sea, which is a wood-fired pizza (cooked in their very own ‘show’ oven) with fresh prawns, squid, chili, mozzarella and kaffir leaves. And then there’s the extra-ordinary Pan-fried White Snapper with black rice flavoured with chorizo, kaffir lime, spring onion and passion fruit emulsion which is guaranteed to please even the most discerning fish lovers.
“…There’s seating for just 30 diners here, giving the whole affair an intimate and exclusive ambience.”
And when it comes to desserts, they’re pretty perfect at RockPool too! Take the Chocolate Fondant, which is hot, sweet and gooey on the inside, and soft and fluffy on the outside, and is served with a generous scoop of homemade Madagascar vanilla bean ice-cream… mmm. And also the super-tasty Sweet Mango with sticky rice which is one of Thailand’s favourite dishes – for very good reasons!
In addition to the à la carte menu, there is also ‘couples seafood set’ available, plus there are Chef’s tables upon request. And if you want entertainment, then come on a Monday night when live blues band, The Night Sessions, will have you tapping your feet as you eat.
Yes, with its terrific location, fabulous cuisine and perfect ambience, RockPool is certainly one of the best dining experiences that Samui offers, and therefore comes highly recommended. Perfection isn’t that difficult to find – if you know where to look!
The restaurant is open from 7:00 am with the kitchen closing at 10:00pm
For reservations and further information telephone +66 (0) 7723 4500 ext 71
Rock Pool at Kanda Residences Samui