Samui Wining & Dining
On a Theme

Great value for money plus a super location at Kandaburi Resort’s unique Italian buffet evening.

 

07They come and they go. Sometimes there’ll be one every single night. At other times of the year you may have to hunt around a bit. They’re not easy to put together, they cost a lot and there are loads of staff involved. That’s why the ‘all you can eat’ buffet is something of a seasonal activity – when the crowds are here it’s cost-effective to run.

They come in all sorts of flavours but the chances are that you’ll see more Thai-style buffets than anything else; this is Thailand, after all. And that’s why Kandaburi Resort & Spa scores lots of brownie points. Because not only are they running the only Italian theme-buffet evening that we know about but its cost is very affordable, too.

You’ll find ‘Kandaburi’ straddling Chaweng Beach Road right up at its northernmost end, close to where the town seems to come to an end. It’s big, but deceptively so, as the road effectively splits the resort into two. The landmark of the resort’s twin roadside restaurants is the first thing to catch the eye, with the stylish Kandalina on the left of the entrance and their signature fine-dining Thai restaurant, Tom Yam Thai, on the right. These are situated on the landwards side of the road and mostly conceal the 100 or so rooms, breakfast restaurant, pub, banqueting suite and spa, further up the hill.

But there’s a big chunk of real estate on the beach side, too. As well more accommodation, the verdant central avenue leads down towards the resort’s very laid-back beachside restaurant, Frangipani. As with everything else here, this is deceptively large but doesn’t feel so because of the cunning way it’s laid out. It can readily hold 180 people, more if you count the tables on the beach, although there are lots of places you can settle where you’re secluded because of the huge frangipani trees amongst the levels and terraces. And it’s on the highest of these that the buffet is laid out.

There’s a positively European feel to it: the spacious bar area is slate-flagged with Euro-beers on display and a big carved wooden figure that is faintly Germanic. The styling of the outer terrace retains a Mediterranean feel which is particularly appropriate on Friday evenings. Because this is the night that the Executive Chef does his thing with his ‘Italian Fever Night’.

But hold it right there, as they say! One of the big attractions at Kandaburi is their dynamic ‘value for money’ policy. This might be one of Chaweng’s top-end resorts, but it has its feet firmly on the ground when it comes to promotions and pricing. There’s nothing new about a ‘happy hour’. There are probably more happy-hours around Samui than there are travellers on Koh Pha-Ngan. But here it’s Happy Hour all the way through from 3:00 pm until 8:00 pm, with ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ in place across the board.

This applies to all alcoholic beverages, be they cocktails, beers, wines or spirits – everything! And when you consider that several of their house wines are under 1,000 baht a bottle … Again, as far as we know, this is another Samui ‘first’ as most resorts revert to damage limitation by restricting their happy hour beverages to local beers only, plus a selected cocktail or two!

So, having set the scene, paved the way and painted the picture, it’s eyes down for a full plate and the first person to shout ‘enough’ quite possibly gets a one-hour extension to Happy Hour (or has already had one …). But, be that as it may, there’s no compromise with Italian Fever Night – it’s lavish.

The heart of the matter is, of course, pasta. This is supplied by a live cooking station that sits by a window into the kitchen. There’s freshly-cooked spaghetti, and penne in several different shapes, plus a choice of various sauces to go with this; bolognaise, carbonara, cream, cheese, seafood, tomato and so on. Ask for what you want, point to where your table is and all will be delivered.

At the landward-end of the covered restaurant-space is another cooking station. Here a variety of prime beef steaks, mackerel, chorizo sausages, king prawns, squid and satay sticks is being barbecued on the spot by a team of chefs. The fare is placed on a side table when done, but, if you like the look of a particular piece of fish, or want your steak rare or well-done, just select it and let them know.

Close by, a run of stainless-steel heated servers awaits you, containing ratatouille, lasagne, and various selections of fish, chicken and pork in different sauces. And on a big round table in the middle is a huge salad bar with all the usual green-salad ingredients plus olives, dried tomatoes and a dozen others, plus many Mediterranean dips and sauces. There are six or seven different sorts of chunky breads and – yes! – sitting coyly by themselves, some super desserts: panna cotta with berries; ricotta cheese cake; crème caramel and chocolate cake; cakes and pastries, plus lots of fresh fruit, too. It’s a veritable banquet and probably one of the most extensive fine-dining buffets you’ll ever see.

There’s also entertainment. Beginning at 7:30 pm, a ‘Polynesian’ dance troupe starts to whirl about and their repertoire is quite different from others. The first hint of this is a limbo dance! And, although it sounds bizarre, when they strike-up Zorba the Greek, it works. Somehow, under the stars on a tropical island in Thailand, in an Italian-themed buffet, six semi-naked tattooed Maori warriors, high-kicking, arms-around-shoulders and accompanied by a balalaika seems to be just … perfect.

The other perfect thing is the cost of all of this. The team at Kandaburi really are keen on providing value for money. And to prove the point (not forgetting that glorious happy ‘hour’) they are asking you to part with the unbelievably reasonable sum of just 690 baht. Stupendous!

There’re buffets and there’re Buffets. I may have said this before, but many good ones are hard to find. Fortunately, Kandaburi Resort & Spa isn’t. So find it and get over there because, each Friday night, they really do have … A Buffet!

 


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