There is no shortage of places in Hua Hin that tick most of those boxes; be it anything from local Thai or Western restaurants to high-end luxury hotels that hug the coastline, though price may be the box they do not tick. The place we suggest, though, is the magnificent Laciana by the Sea. This seaside restaurant is known for its Thai and Italian cuisine, with a heavy focus on seafood.
The beautiful garden setting is right on the waters edge, with the outdoor wood fired oven smoldering away as you walk past it to your table; this makes Laciana an ideal location for a private function.
The other plus for this venue is that it has undercover seating in case the weather turns inclement. Don’t be put off by the 300m drive from the main road on a dirt and gravel track, as it may feel like you are not on the right road, but you will be rewarded if you persevere. Enough about the venue, though; what about the food?
We were invited back to Laciana by the Sea by owner and host, Apple Doran, to sample something new which Chef Baz had been working on. This may not be new to Hua Hin, or elsewhere around the world, but this is their version of Chef’s Table; your private chef for the night. We were served seven courses over the evening; some as sharing plates and others as individual dishes.
Chef Baz is originally from Chiang Mai, but is in tune with flavours from across Thailand and has a passion for Italian food. In true Thai style, his ethos is cooking with fresh, seasonal produce; whatever looks good on the day. This is epitomised by seeing him some mornings with the fisherman who dock near the restaurant, getting his ‘catch of the day’.
The night kicked off with a drink to share, which is always a great way to get the party started. This drink can be with or without alcohol depending on your group. I called it the Party Starter drink as it got everyone talking and sharing immediately.
To get our taste buds going we started with a home made rice cracker topped with roasted nuts, shredded chicken and sesame seeds. You will see these rice crackers right across Thailand, with people nibbling on them throughout the day. It was a light and easy to eat and a perfect accompaniment to the “party starter” drink.
It wasn’t too long before the Italian influence was upon us. A shared dish of slices of bright, organic tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella and basil. A generous splash of Balsamic Vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil pulled the simple, yet tasty dish together. A big piece of crusty, wood-fired bread would have been a great addition, however we had to remind ourselves that filling up on bread at this stage, with five more courses to come was potentially not wise.
The soup course was next; this was a delicate fish soup called Dtom Som Bplaa using locally-caught Asian Sea Bass, aka Barramundi. This traditional sour soup had flavours of tamarind and ginger and was truly delicious; all flavours were in harmony with each other.
Next was a fusion dish; Italian, though with Thai flavours and without a doubt my favourite dish of the night. A simple, yet mildly spiced spaghetti with Sai Ua and dried red chilli. Sai Ua is a spicy pork sausage from the north of Thailand and has a deep meaty flavour once it has been grilled. To add crunch to the dish, Baz added Khep Muu, deep fried pork skin; just a wonderful textural element.
Next was a pork ribs and pineapple. Nothing beats pork spare ribs with the tender pork falling off the bone. It had a light sauce on top as well as grilled pineapple to add some zing to the dish.
The last savoury course was a Beef Wellington. The tender beef had been seared, wrapped in pastry and finished in the wood fired oven. Served with a generous helping of baked pumpkin and onion gravy, plus a glass of Cabernet that really set off the flavours.
To end the night was a sweet treat of mango sorbet, traditional Thai sweets and desserts, along with macerated strawberries. It was just the right size, as I still wanted room for an espresso, which was just the fitting end to the night.
Whilst we were invited to Laciana By The Sea by Apple and Baz to participate in this event, all the opinions expressed are our own. Both Apple and Baz genuinely love what they do and I am sure that they would be able to accommodate any private function chef requests.
We would like to express our sincere thanks to Patrick Jacobs, from Fotos By Patrick Jacobs for allowing us the use of the images displayed above.