What’s the best way to spend a luxurious Saturday on the island? With so much choice available, it’s an on-going debate. However, whether you’re recovering from an exciting Friday night spent in the hot-spots of Chaweng, have just arrived at the airport, or are simply in a languid mood, then you might want to reward yourself with Saturday Brunch at Vana Belle. And it definitely is a reward, if you’re thinking of a reward as being something that’s unusually good. It all starts long before you even come within touching distance of any food or drink. It all starts with the setting.
At Vana Belle, located right on the serene coast of Chaweng Noi there stands an exquisite restaurant, Kiree, set on a verdant hillside overlooking the ocean down below. It’s quiet here, a place filled with a sense of tranquillity, just the kind of hideaway spot that, even if you’ve only been here once, you will always fondly remember.
If you can, you should approach via the beach, but plenty of people will tell you that it’s just as good if you arrive via the main entrance. Pass through the main gate and you’ll already be surprised: you’re probably expecting buildings, but they’re hard to see because you find yourself in forested surroundings. Keep on going and you’ll come to the lobby area. And it’s from here that you’ll experience the incomparable sea view: wide-open ocean, a fringe of trees on a headland – a totally remote feel. You’ll quickly feel relaxed. This is the kind of place where you can finally ease back and just let go, even if you’re really frazzled. It has that kind of unique charm to it, this place.
It’s also to do with the planning and the layout; everything here has been done to create a serene, happy experience. Everything was designed along strict Feng Shui lines, and a master of this most traditional art gave the final say-so on every part of the project. Whether you believe in the efficacy of the ancient Chinese arts or not, there’s something very soothing just being at Vana Belle. The name incidentally, comes from the Sanskrit word for ‘forest’ and the French word for ‘beautiful’. Both words are apt. You’ll be led down to Kiree, which is imbued with an understated chic. Comfy seating is arranged around tables giving a sitting room ambience. There’s space too, plenty of it, so you’ll never feel disturbed by fellow diners.
Everything’s discreet. Then there’s the daylight itself. It fills the air-con dining room but in the most subtle of ways. You won’t have to shield your eyes, no matter where you sit. The light, all natural, is soft even on a very sunny day, as delicate as in a Vermeer painting. You can, incidentally, also sit out on the terrace, pleasantly cooled by sea breezes. And nobody will mind if you oscillate between the two settings.
The Saturday Brunch itself is beautifully displayed in the main dining area – but this is only the buffet part – and you might well want to take a look at the extensive selection before deciding where to begin. Amazing dishes from around the world have been seamlessly ‘curated’ to form this unique brunch experience. It’s a connoisseur’s concept of luxury food. Just a few examples; you’ll find French oysters, Phuket lobster, Serrano ham and Australian Wagyu rib-eye along with various cheeses, salads and, sure enough, breakfast treats, too.
The numerous items in the buffet alone guarantee scores of different possibilities. There’s simply too much to experience everything. No-one would complain if the brunch consisted only of this. But there’s more – an entire à la carte section. When you’re first seated, you’ll be brought a menu allowing you to order dishes that will then be cooked to perfection by the chef, and brought to your table. You might enjoy, for example, a selection of sashimi, or pulled, braised lamb shank on English muffin, or a salmon steak, seared to perfection.
Desserts are decadent in the extreme. There’s also an entire mini-buffet of Valhrona chocolate delicacies and, if that’s not enough, a chocolate fountain with a medley of fruit and biscuits to dip. The wide range of cuisine is reflected in a similar number of drinks; you’ll find there’s just about everything from tea and coffee (if you’re leaning more towards breakfast), through to smoothies and shakes, and then cocktails, Prosecco and even Bollinger Special Cuvee Champagne.
The brunch is available on Saturdays from midday until 4:00 pm. It’s recommended that you reserve in order to avoid disappointment (either phone directly or book via the website). Afterwards, you may wish to step out onto the sands and walk along Chaweng Noi beach or, if you’re staying at Vana Belle, retire to one of the 80 suites and relax there – each has its own private pool.
The world of Vana Belle is a remarkable one, and it’s worth spending time here. Brunch is a good example of how the resort breaks new grounds to reward its diners with a lavish selection of unexpected treats. Vana Belle – and its restaurant, Kiree – will always offer you experiences that you’re unlikely to have come across before. You’ll be surprised and pleased that you came.
For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7791 5555.