Leaving your mark on a landscape calls for confidence – something that Nora Buri Resort & Spa, part of the completely independent Nora hotel group, have plenty of. They designed an award-winning building that houses both the resort’s magnificent restaurants. Approach from the beach, and you can’t help but notice how it looks a little like one of the rice barges, famed for plying the River Chao Phraya in Bangkok. The building’s riverine gracefulness ensures that it’s eye-catching, and completely different from anything you may have seen before. But what really makes it stand out is the deliciousness of the food, both the Thai menu served at Rice Barge & Terrace and the international menu at The Barge Restaurant.
Let’s take a look at each in turn. For Thai, at Rice Barge & Terrace, a musician sets the scene every evening by playing traditional melodies on a kim, a traditional wooden xylophone, popular in Thailand. Sit at a table, relax on triangular cushions or take your place on a patio with views over the sea. The Thai dishes come from all over the country, and most are well-known; all your favourites in other words. However, some are relatively new takes, for example, salmon with a deliciously creamy curry sauce. If you’re new to Thai cuisine and not sure what you might like, then choose a Thai set meal. The selections are exquisite, with everything beautifully presented.
If you’re more interested in international food, head downstairs to The Barge Restaurant, where you can enjoy a whole gamut of favourites, with many dishes being influenced by Mediterranean cuisine. There’s a big accent on seafood thanks to the island’s local fishing fleets which always bring back an excellent catch. Meats are plentiful too, and whether it’s a prime steak you’re hankering after or some lamb, you’ll find it here. Popular vegetarian dishes are also to hand, too, making it easy to find something delectable, no matter what your tastes.
Don’t worry if you would like to combine Thai food and western food; your waiter will bring you both menus and you can pick and mix. What could be better?
If you’re in a romantic mood, you’ll certainly enjoy a special dinner, right on the beach in a private, decorated gazebo. Places are limited, so you’ll need to reserve in advance, and choose which of three highly special menus you would like, though you may also want to make some changes. This is no problem for the culinary team. They pride themselves on going the extra mile. For example, if there’s something that you’d like that’s not on the menu, the team will make it for you, just so long as they have the ingredients that are needed.
The staff working at both restaurants are headed by Executive Chef, Tonny Lawrence. He grew up in Indonesia, and developed a love of both regional and international cuisine. After attending cooking school, he worked in high-ranking resorts in the Maldives, Oman, Indonesia and Thailand. He’s adamant about using the freshest of ingredients, thereby guaranteeing that each dish is as tasty as possible. He also believes in making as much as possible from scratch. The approach is a truly professional one and is reflected in the number of satisfied diners at both restaurants. Whether chef Tonny is making dishes for the menu or preparing something one-off like a wedding reception dinner, you can be sure that he will be methodically ensuring the food is exceptionally tasty. And by the way, he’s just created a new signature dish, which is a must-try: The Barge Seafood Delight – Salmon, Prawns, Mussels and Squid Served with Wrapped Tom Yum Goong Fried Rice.
It’s an extraordinary difficult task to run a single large restaurant, but to manage two, both serving totally different cuisines, is a real feat. But Chef Tonny manages to take everything in his stride. Diners are happy – and come back for more. All this makes eating at either of the restaurants at Nora Buri a treat. And there’s also a further bonus: the price of the food represents great value for money; it won’t break the bank, but you’ll feel you’ve been to a feast.
For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7791 3555.