Samui Wining & Dining
Very Cool Indeed

When it comes to dining with flair, Lamai’s Seventy Fahrenheit is really quite a hot spot!

When it comes to dining with flair, Lamai’s Seventy Fahrenheit is really quite a hot spot!You can put two restaurants next to each other, and one works and the other doesn’t. It’s not about price or what’s on the menu. It’s not about location. It’s not even about how nice it looks – although it’s possibly all those things wrapped up together. But as soon as you see Seventy Fahrenheit, you’ll stop and stare. It’s instantly alluring.

There’s a buzz to it. The wait-staff are busy, the diners animated-but-relaxed on the front deck that’s raised up and open to the street. The bright green and red lights make pools onto the deck, and splash cheerfully against the clean white back wall. But both side walls are vibrant with living green plants, and there are two full-size palm trees there also.

These visuals all come together with an effortless excess of flair. This extends to the overall layout, too. There are two areas: the front deck, as mentioned – and this also has an electric roof which will slowly hum closed at the first hint of rain. And then there’s the rear enclosed area, although there’s a wall of sheer glass between the two. This is blissfully air-conditioned. Again, a lot of thought has gone into the lighting, playing off cool, daylight spots against rows of warm, antique bulbs, combining to provide a subdued glow, discreet and relaxed, but good enough to easily read the menu without straining.

Coming in, right away you’ll be impressed by the cheerful and professional greeting from the restaurant manager as she shows you to your table. The drinks list and the menu appear, zipped over to you by a smiley waiter who seems to be dancing between the tables, bar and kitchen. A few minutes later another one will skip to your side . . . and then instantly change gear, relax, slow right down, and discuss the particulars of the wine list and menu options, adjusting marvellously to you on a personal level, and taking his time to help you. When it comes to dining with flair, Lamai’s Seventy Fahrenheit is really quite a hot spot!And then he’ll further impress by powering-up again and jogging off to deliver your order!

Actually, all this is not really surprising as the restaurant is owned and directed by Frenchman Romain Benoist, a dedicated bon viveur and hotel owner. Thus the staff here have been very carefully selected and trained at his hotel before graduating to work here at Seventy Fahrenheit. And most certainly, the quality of care, attention and response is vastly superior to many of the other eateries in the main drag of Lamai – the restaurant is almost directly opposite the landmark of Bondi, right in the centre.

The menu continues to impress. Firstly, it’s lavishly illustrated with photos of the dishes. But these are sheer class: super-high-quality pro photos, printed and presented elegantly and professionally. The cuisine is Thai and International: nothing out of the ordinary here. Except that, as with everything else at Seventy Fahrenheit, the interpretations of the dishes are offered with verve and originality.

Take the universal starter of Thai spring rolls. Here they are served standing up in a glass, looking like the handles of big, flat beige lollipops. There’s no thoughtless churning-out of When it comes to dining with flair, Lamai’s Seventy Fahrenheit is really quite a hot spot!the little greasy tubes that you often get: the batter is dry, firm and crisp. And the ‘rolls’ are flattened out at one end to create a functional and whimsical ‘handle’.

Order a Thai red curry and it’ll arrive exactly as you’d expect (except that the chicken is corn-fed and the seafood is superb) – but along with the dish you’ll also get a tall glass of red liquid. You can drink it by all means, but it’s actually the red curry sauce that this dish would normally be swimming in. And the rice is a two-tone slab of steamed and wild rice combined.

The same panache and elegance extends throughout the menu. The roasted duck breast, the Australian tenderloin or New Zealand lamb chops; they’re all exquisitely prepared, cooked and presented. Looking at the ‘Pork Fillet Mignon Rolled with Bacon in Mushroom Sauce’ with side vegetables (lots!) and mashed potatoes, French fries, or sautéed potatoes with garlic and herbs, just makes your mouth water as it’s placed before you on the table.

There’s also an outstanding wine list. Usually a local wine wholesaler suggests what to buy-in. But here it’s evident that Romain’s passion has led him to create a list of unusual and interesting labels.

Finally, if this wasn’t enough to make you want get over to Lamai tomorrow; the price. It’s astonishingly less than you’ll be expecting after reading this – not expensive in any way. Really. The whole place is vibrant, there’s a buzz and a charming freshness of vision, the food is fab and the service, superb. Seventy Fahrenheit is one very cool restaurant indeed!


Rob De Wet


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