Standing Out – The Dining Room at Rocky’s Boutique Resort Koh Samui brings you the flair and creative gems of a highly professional culinary team.

Rocky's

Even if you’re a leader in your field, it’s all too easy to fall into one rut or another. Perhaps it’s even easier still as you know that you can rest on your laurels. Keeping a fresh, open approach is the solution, but it’s one that’s notoriously difficult to stick to. That’s why so many leading edge businesses gradually turn into venerable institutions and then moulder down to a stage where they seem to have become their own museums.

You might not think this scenario could ever apply to Samui. After all, everything here that’s even faintly luxurious still looks new and clean and cutting edge. Yet some restaurants and hotels have been operating from quite early days, a decade or more. Old, in other words, at least by Samui’s standards – but they’re constantly rejuvenating themselves.

This certainly applies to Rocky’s, which has been going strong since 2003. Spend just five minutes here and you’ll be impressed by how carefully, yet creatively maintained every part of the resort is. The Rocky’s team keeps it positively alive with flourishes and touches that put it streets ahead of the majority of its competitors. Everywhere you go, you’ll see all manner of beauteous decor, whether it be outdoor hanging lanterns, Lanna-style carvings or the orchids that thrive in the rooms.

And when it comes to dining, Rocky’s offers fare that is bursting with freshness and goodness. The culinary team are every bit as creative as the resort’s other teams, whilst having the savoir-faire to produce some amazingly tasty favourites and
more besides.

Rocky'sIf you head through the resort – take some time to appreciate the exotic gardens as you do so – you’ll come to The Dining Room, which is an open-sided building that overlooks a wonderfully private beach with great views towards the south
of the island.

Diners come from all over Samui to enjoy eating here, but first many will spend some time in the delightful beachside bar having a cocktail or long drink while they watch the sun go down. Then it’s time to head into The Dining Room, just a couple of steps away. Seating is either inside in the room itself, or (and you’ll need to book ahead for this) out on the terrace in the open air at candle-lit tables.

The Dining Room offers the very best French cuisine with many dishes given a contemporary take, thanks to modern cooking methods such as sous-vide, which allows for maximum freshness to be brought out in the meats used. Ingredients
are all either imported from their native countries, or wherever possible they’re locally produced; the restaurant is very much into the from-farm-to-table approach. It’s something that’s much appreciated by diners – whether you’re eating a simple Greek salad or enjoying some perfectly prepared vegetables, freshness is paramount here, and results in better tastes all round. Seafood is mostly locally caught, while meats are efficiently flown in from Australia, allowing diners to get the very best in value.

Rocky'sOver the years, the restaurant has been run by some very talented chefs, and most of them have left their professional mark in one way or another, allowing The Dining Room to go from strength to strength. Khun Mon is the current head chef; he has worked in some of the top hotels in Thailand, and also is able to speak fluent English. More than capable of ensuring
brilliant results, he is also very attentive to the needs of his diners. Whether it’s a wedding reception he’s planning, or a corporate get-together or a simple birthday party for a child, he’s there to help make his guests’ dreams come true. He heads a very experienced culinary team and together they make everything look easy and seamless. There’s a huge variety of dishes on offer, but if you’d like to treat yourself, then try the chef’s five-course degustation menu. It starts with the Amuse-Bouche du Jour and is followed by a generous portion of tuna tartare with ponzu and coriander dressing, kalamata
olive mousseline and poached egg. Then comes a delicate foie gras au torchon, with caramelized strawberries, brioche and balsamic crema.

Following these dishes, you’ll be presented with an orange sorbet before moving on to the main course. And here you’ll have to make a decision. You can either opt for oven-roasted sea bass en papillotte, lobster bisque flavoured pasta, tomato
confit and beurre composé or maybe you would prefer meat? In this case, there’s the very delicious Sous-Vide Australian Strip Loin, with sauce au poivre, le ratte potato purée, baby carrots and grilled asparagus. The evening finishes with a sumptuous dessert, Flourless Belgian Callebaut Chocolate, with raspberry ice cream and hot chocolate sauce.

Rocky'sA surprise addition to the cooking team is the general manager of Rocky’s. As you can imagine, many hoteliers simply delegate everything to do with cuisine to the chef. But Martin H. Fells, the manager in question isn’t like that. He’s a former
executive chef himself, one with years of experience, and if you’re staying at Rocky’s you’ll certainly have met him. But though you might usually see him in the grounds of Rocky’s, you’ll also quite often find him in the heart of the kitchen itself, either cooking up dishes for his guests or simply brainstorming with Khun Mon. Hands-on approaches like this are more often to be found in very small specialized hotels that cater to just a few guests and are run by a chef-owner-manager. Rocky’s certainly has that kind of intimate atmosphere about it. And that’s no coincidence; the owners, staff and management all want it to be like this, so that when people either come and stay or simply eat here, it’s more like being part of a family. Rocky’s has certainly been very successful with this approach, and when you come here, you’ll always feel the sheer laid-back nature of the resort. Staff are very welcoming and friendly – no need to stand on ceremony here.

Rocky’s is known throughout the island and far beyond for its always excellent food; consistently dependable and beautifully-presented, the dishes are exquisite delights. And as well as that, there’s the idyllic location. All in all it’s just the right place to enjoy stellar times.

Dimitri Waring

For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7723 3020.
www.rockyresort.com