It’s been said before. But it’s still true – for every restaurant you can see out on the road there are another 100 hidden away. Of course, that’s not to say all of them are good. Certainly, for each good one there are many that are merely average. But one of the best things about this publication is that we find the good ones for you! And one of these is certainly Trade Wind restaurant.
Trade Wind is the signature restaurant of Samui Palm Beach Resort, situated not so far from Fisherman’s Village, running in a huge plot of landscaped grandeur between the ring-road and the beach. There are some very fine resorts along this stretch: they were all built back in the days when effortless landscaping was more important than how many bungalows you could cram into your plot. And Samui Palm Beach is a prime example of this sort of 5-star opulence.
You’ll get an idea of this when you navigate your way to its entrance on the ring-road – the big white boundary wall goes on forever, almost 300 metres! The car park inside, and the reception block, is misleading: you really get no idea of just how big it is here until you begin to make your way through and towards the beach. And on the way you’ll be surprised to see the sweeping curves of one of the biggest swimming pools in Thailand!
You’ll come out in a huge open space overlooking the sea, with another pool in the foreground and lush sweeping lawns beyond (this layout and seascape is one of the things which make this resort so popular for weddings). The contemporary-styled Trade Wind is over in the right hand corner, bordering the pool and lawns. It’s both luxurious and laid-back, open and airy, intimate, and delightfully decorated and fitted, with walls of opening glass doors.
Between this and the sea there’s a big terrace that’s perched up above the beach. But the area immediately outside the restaurant building is filled with gigantic bamboo umbrellas, under which there are groups of tables on the patio right next to the sea.
The service is exactly as you might expect. You’ll immediately be greeted and shown to your table. And, once seated, the drinks menu and the main menu will appear instantly. One of the pleasing aspects here is that the resort has its own bakery, and the selection of breads and breadsticks which will then appear on your table is most satisfying. The menu is Thai and International, and the items on offer reflect an excellent and varied selection of quality dishes using prime ingredients – and if you’ve never tasted Thai dishes made with corn-fed chicken or imported Australian beef, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise!
The menu is appropriately sectioned, beginning with the Thai offerings and a selection of ‘starter’ nibbles such as spring rolls, satay sticks and crunchy deep-fried delights like prawns and chicken wings. There’s a plentiful choice of salads. Plus nine different assorted curry dishes, all of which can be individually tuned you your ‘hotness’ preferences. And then a big range of stir-fries under the ‘main dish’ section, including chicken, pork and beef and several seafood options. Plus a whole sea bass or red snapper, steamed or fried.
The international side of the cuisine eases in with a selection of soups followed by several pasta and risotto platters – and there’s also a big choice of pizzas to go for, too, including a couple of quirky ‘fusion’ offerings – ‘Tom Yum Goong’ and ‘Pad Ga Prao Gai’.
But the real delights appear when you try to decide from the ‘mains’. The main dishes here are super, particularly the Grilled Duck Breast with Sour Onion, Mashed Potato and Red Wine Sauce’. But it’s hard to choose between this and the Fillet Mignon; ‘Beef Tenderloin, Wrapped Bacon, Vegetables, Mashed Potato and Mushroom Sauce’. Although the ‘Australian Wagyu Beef Sirloin (with Green Peppercorn Sauce, served with Roasted Capsicums, Asparagus, and Mashed Potato)’ is also the high on the list of favourites.
But the real test of any quality restaurant is the desserts. Inexperienced chefs usually play it safe and offer only ice-cream or seasonal fruits. But here at Trade Wind you can indulge yourself with Crêpe Suzette, Tiramisu, Panacotta or Crème Brûlée, amongst others; a terrific way to wind-down the evening!
Apart from the delightful surroundings, the quality of the cuisine and the standard of the service, Trade Wind has yet one more thing to recommend it. And that’s the cost of an evening’s first-class dining. It might be hosted at a 5-star resort, but let me say that the bill you’ll get really doesn’t reflect this. And certainly you’ll be prompted to return to Bophut, to Samui Palm Beach Resort, and their Trade Wind restaurant.
Rob De Wet