Sunday, May 31, 2009
Twenty years is a long time to be around in the restaurant game, you have to be doing something right. We've only been going to Lotus for five years, but hopefully we'll be able to continue for another twenty. Tucked away on Bang tao beach the only way in is through the almost gated community of Phuket Laguna.
On arrival as you walk down to the restaurant you walk past tanks and tanks of live seafood; oysters, clams, two types of crabs, lobsters of all sizes, prawns, mantis shrimp, and a variety of fish. If you spot a creature of interest give a little wink and whisper "I'll see you soon".
The restaurant is literally on the beach, when you book one of the options are the tables set right on the sand, it's all very romantic, the moon rising from the horizon the waves lapping a few meters away. Over the years the restaurant has evolved from local seafood hut to something more in line with it's surrounding high end hotels, but this hasn't effected the prices of the food which remain much as they were years ago, in fact I just looked over our old Phuket photos from our very first visit to Lotus and yes the the street sign is fancier and the the food has been refined a bit (not the flavours which still bold and beautiful Thai) and the decor is glammed up, yet the most any of the prices have gone up is 30 baht. That's keeping it real.
Seated and with drink in hand it's time to agonise over the extensive menu, obviously it has to be seafood (though the menu has a selection of non seafood for those who don't know what they're doing here), but what there's just so much.
In the end we settle on a small seafood extravaganza, we're seasoned professionals in the eyes to big for our stomachs game.
Gin fizz and Chang with an ice bucket to keep the rest cool...fancy
Passing on the offer to personally point the death finger at the tanks we just sit back enjoy the view and await what is to come, first up two oysters accompanied with nahm jim, deep fried shallots, fresh garlic, lime and cha om. It's a choose your own adventure oyster, I top with it all, but vary sparingly on the cha om. Cha om is the leaf of the Acacia, to be polite it has a unusual flavor and pungent smell that is quite acquired, still, you should try it some time. The oyster is so good still living when shucked it's so fatty and briny fresh.
From then on the plates really started flowing. Goong sarong - fresh tiger prawns wrapped in a noodle coat and deep fried, with a salted plum sauce. The noodles give a great crunch to the prawn.
Yum som oo - Pomelo salad. this is great salad, chunks of pomelo and fresh tiger prawns tossed in a chilli jam dressing with toasted coconut over the top. It's sweet sour and very moorish.
Mantis Shrimp with fried garlic and chilli. I love the texture of mantis shrimp, not as firm as a regular prawn and a very mild flavor. Deep fried with the garlic and chilli they turned finger licking good we you dove in prying the flesh from the shell.
The grilled tiger prawns with panang curry, simply cut in half and grilled over coconut before being topped with the panang, coconut cream, fresh chilli and kaffir lime leaf. The sweet prawn is really complimented by the mild curry and all licked with the coconut smoke, fantastic.
The fish of the evening was a red snapper steamed with a tamarind sauce and topped with a heap of coriander, deep fried shallot and fried chilli. Moist and not at all mushy, with the tamarind sauce a sweet sour lip licking left wanting more experience.
Our token vegetables for the night a plate of asparagus and fresh straw mushrooms stir fried with oyster sauce (keeping on the seafood theme). Straw mushrooms are one of those ingredients that should never be canned, if you can't have them fresh just don't have them.
I was so surprised we actually managed to finish it all, though it took a couple of hours. When Kat suggested something sweet I had not a lot of interest. On a side note has anyone done a study into how woman can eat until they are "so full I couldn't eat another bite " but then suddenly be fine when dessert is offered? Any how we ended up with a scoop of lychee ice cream, and some red rubies. Tub tim krop are pieces of water chestnut soaked in sala syrup then tossed in tapioca flour and quickly simmered before being cooled in a light sugar syrup. The result is a little red jewel with a soft chewy exterior and a crunchy inside, they are then served with coconut cream and crushed ice. These quickly became Kat new favourite dessert though we'll be hard pressed to find them executed as well as here.
Phuket has a lot of "high end" restaurants constantly telling you they are the best or most romantic or blah blah blah, but we think Lotus really is Phukets best and is for everyone.
31/13 Moo. 4 Srisuntorn Rd., Cherngtalay, Thalang, Phuket, Thailand 83110
Tel: +66 (0) 76362625-6 (Reservation)
Fax: +66 (0) 76362630
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