Episode 4 of Hua Hin Chef’s Table was called Thai Fusion from the Royal Project, presented by Sai Thong, an elegant beachfront restaurant at the beautiful Anantara Hua Hin Resort. Each of the four courses had wines matched by Siam Winery.
After a leisurely walk through the beautiful grounds of the Anantara, you arrive at Sai Thong, a restaurant with a fantastic ocean backdrop. You are presented with a refreshing cocktail to start the evening and canapés of sweet corn served on individual spoons.
Not long after, we are whisked off to be seated in the candlelit garden, where fully-styled tables are ready for service; there is also a table of Monsoon Valley wines proudly on display. Before each course, Khun Ekbundit, from Siam Winery explained the wines that were being paired to each course.
The meal began with a traditional Thai snack called Miang Kham, literally translated to one bite wrap, which is a wild, bitter chaphlu leaf stuffed with roasted coconut, chilli, roasted peanut, shallot, lime and dried shrimp . This is a one shot snack that packs a punch of flavour. Also, served on the same plate was Dtom Yam Goong Yaang, a grilled Tiger Prawn with flavours of Dtom Yam.
A dish not often seen on menus is called Lon, which means to simmer. Lon is a coconut milk relish/dip from the North of Thailand and is normally served with fresh vegetables. This one consisted of a thick broth and had morsels of fresh crab meat. Lon Blue Cheese Bpuu was the dish; the coconut milk broth having blue cheese through it to give a thick consistency and depth of flavour. It was served with some garlic ciabatta. Chef Saenguan Saengnopparat pushed the flavour boundaries here to make this a true Thai Fusion dish.
After the refreshing palate cleanser of Lemongrass and Fresh Lime Sorbet was served, the course I was most looking forward to was served. There were two options for mains; Green Curry w/- Home Made Fish Balls or Braised Beef Cheek Massaman Curry, with both being served with smoked coconut rice. I opted for the Massaman, as having the chance to taste the rich beef cheek with the matched wine for this course, the Premium Range Shiraz, was too much to pass up. The beef was silky smooth, the rice was delicate in coconut flavour and the Massaman Curry had a richness and a real warmth to it.
The end of the meal was a selection of three Thai desserts including a delicious Khanom Moh Gaeng, a traditional Phetchaburi dessert of mung bean custard, this was served with a coconut milk ice-cream; it was just enough to finish the evening.
Monsoon Valley Wines
Starter: Flagship Range Brut Blanc de Blancs
Description: A well-balanced, light sparkling wine made using the traditional Méthode Champenoise. A blend of Chenin Blanc, Colombard & Viognier, it is delicate and fruity with green apple notes and hints of brioche and walnut; elegant with a light, mineral finish and a fine long mousse.
First Course: Premium Range Colombard
Description: Lifted nose of gooseberries, green apple and passionfruit with a touch of Sauvignon Blanc’s characteristic. A food-friendly palate with sweet fruit and punchy flavours within a tight, ripe, acidic backbone, giving length and a velvety dry finish.
Palate Cleanser: Premium Range White Shiraz Rosé
Description: A vivid pink Rosé with an intriguing nose of wild strawberries, bonbon candies and a lovely touch of spices. It displays a fresh palate, along with uplifted fruit concentration reflecting its nose.
Main Course: Premium Range Shiraz
Description: Classic varietal characters of dark plum, cherries, toasted coffee and spices. It has a medium body with lovely mid-palate fruit and very ripe tannins. After being aged in oak barrels, the fruit and sweet, spicy flavours become more rounded, leaving quite a full-bodied and long finish.
Dessert: Flagship Range Late Harvest Chenin Blanc
Description: Ripe and juicy tropical fruits and raisins, with a tiny hint of quince and a nose of dried orchard apples and white peach. Bright, yet smooth acidity balances the weight and lingers throughout the finish.
I can honestly say that I am a big fan of Monsoon Valley Wines. The wines we tasted stood up to the punchy Thai flavours, making for some brilliant pairings. For me, I particularly loved the Premium Range White Shiraz Rosé, which was served with the palate cleanser. I have had this wine before and am not usually a big Rosé fan, but I love this wine with Thai dishes. The Monsoon Valley Premium Range Shiraz also topped the list for me. It’s not like the big, powerful fruit bombs we get in Australia; rather a smoother style which went well with the Massaman.
As always, the Anantara Hua Hin Resort were very professional, delivering an extremely high standard of quality with their food and beverage offerings. Service was prompt, friendly and attentive. Whilst I was an invited guest, these are my opinions and views based on this specific event and my experience in eating Thai food.
Hua Hin is already well known for having many top quality restaurants serving both International and Thai food; the style of food more synonymous with cosmopolitan cities like Bangkok. Hua Hin Chef’s Table is an innovative and exciting new concept for Hua Hin. It's about a group of seven talented chefs from seven of Hua Hin's finest restaurants and hotels, each presenting their dynamic food from their own carefully constructed menu; highlighting both local ingredients and international techniques.