Beachside restaurants are great. Especially here on Samui, with its warm tropical location. And Anantara Lawana has a wonderful one; appropriately named Ocean Kiss. But I’m going to tell you about their signature restaurant – Tree Tops – because, not only is the food outstanding there, but it’s one of the most unique places you’ll ever eat at. In fact, it’s absolutely incredible!
Although Anantara Lawana is easily accessible, being situated between Kandaburi Resort and Nora Beach Resort in North Chaweng on the road leading to the airport, the moment you arrive and take the 100-metre walk through the interesting collection of wooden entrance doors and up to the expansive open-plan lobby, you’ll feel like you’re a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of Chaweng.
“If there’s a more romantic restaurant on Samui for lovers, and honeymooners in particular, I’ve yet to find it.”
And this feeling of peace and calm and space is accentuated when you’re led a further 100 metres to Tree Tops in all its splendid natural glory. Pass through its heavy wooden gabled entrance and you’ll begin to understand what this place is all about. Follow the wooden path and it will lead you up and along a series of raised walkways and steps into the treetops themselves. You’ll pass huge natural boulders with massive trees gripping their elephant-like trunks around them along the way (great for photographs). And, unlike any other restaurant on Samui, there are eight individual open-air ‘tree-houses’ here which spar off from the main walkway at separate intervals, ensuring completely private dining.
Each dining ‘room’ (built high up on stilts) can seat between two and eight diners, and it really is a most exciting unique experience. Look to one side and you’ll see through the treetops to the ocean and islands beyond. Glance the other way and you’ll have a view of the other ‘rooms’ (albeit from some distance), then look behind and you’ll see a backdrop of natural rock formations and even more trees climbing up them. If there’s a more romantic restaurant on Samui for lovers, and honeymooners in particular, I’ve yet to find it.
I’d recommend that you visit Tree Tops for the unique ‘rain-forest’ experience itself, even if the food was just about average. But it’s not. I’d say that the cuisine served here is amongst the best you’ll find in Thailand – yes, it’s that good. And the man in charge of that is the award-winning Executive Chef, Azizskandar Awang. Trained in classical French cuisine, Chef Aziz has an impressive résumé having worked in both the Marriott and Hilton hotels in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, before coming to the island and running the kitchens at several of Samui’s top resorts. Quite a pedigree!
So, what type of things can you expect on the menu? Well, for starters, I can personally recommend both the amazing Scallop seared on smoked beetroot and apple relish, spiced with lemongrass foam, and the delicious Quail lacquered in ginger and soy served with spinach and tamarillo salad.
“I’d recommend that you visit Tree Tops for the unique ‘rain-forest’ experience itself, even if the food was just about average. But it’s not. I’d say that the cuisine served here is amongst the best you’ll find in Thailand – yes, it’s that good.”
For mains, again, I’ll list just two although I could happily recommend half a dozen. The first being the Duck 2 Ways miso glazed supreme leg minced fried samosa style accompanied with green vegetable and pumpkin muffin. The second dish is the Foie Gras, caramelized on passion fruit jelly, brioche grumble, shiitake and enoki mushrooms.
And before I completely run out of space enthusing about everything here, I’ll recommend two desserts. Firstly, there’s the refreshing Seasonal Fresh Berry and Papaya Tartlet with whipped pastry cream scented with tamarind and palm sugar served with raspberry parfait, and, secondly, there’s the Rich Decadent Chocolate Marquise served with a toffee liqueur cream, strawberries and layers of almond meringue.
As you’d expect from a restaurant of this quality, there’s a wine guru/sommelier at hand to guide you through the exciting list. But yet another factor which raises Tree Tops into the realms of excellence is that it also has a salt guru/sommelier who explains all about the interesting selection available. And when you try adding various salts to a dish you’ll see that it really does make all the difference!
Yes, Tree Tops certainly offers a totally unique dining experience, and one that you’ll definitely remember for a very long time.
Tree Tops is open from 6:00 pm with the kitchen closing at 11:00 pm
For reservations and further information telephone +66 (0) 7791 3900
Tree Tops at Anantara Lawana Resort & Spa
Tel: +66 (0) 7796 0333
Fax: +66 (0) 7796 0111