Samui Wining & Dining
The Village, the Walk, and Krua

Strolling in Fisherman’s Village has to include Krua Bophut!

Strolling in Fisherman’s Village has to include Krua Bophut!It’s a very long time since Fisherman’s Village had any fishermen in it. Now it’s a glittering walk of endless distraction and delight. It’s probably the hottest bit of real estate outside of Chaweng. It’s got everything from baubles to beads and from pubs to fine dining. And when it comes to Thai fine-dining there’s one place not to be missed – it’s almost right at the end of the road so keep on strolling. And when you get to the discreet and very un-showy sign that says Krua Bophut, walk right in.

In actual fact it’s a lot easier to find than it used to be; it depends on which direction you’re coming from. But if you come into Fisherman’s Village via the big car park at The Wharf, then it’s just about the first thing you’ll see, beachside, as you exit to the right towards the bright lights of the main strip.

I could state the obvious and tell you that it’s got a delightful inside room, an outer terrace and tables right on the sand itself. Or say that the food is simply fabulous and the service is first-rate – you’ll soon find that out for yourself anyway. But I can also tell you a secret that few people know, and this is what puts it streets ahead of all the others.

Krua Bophut is owned and managed by one of the nearby 5-star hotels. Very quietly and very discretely, it rotates its staff over and back between this unassuming little restaurant in Fisherman’s Village. This means that – unlike most other places – the English-speaking staff is trained to be aware of the expectations of European (and also Asian) guests. The table service is excellent, and the food is not only top quality, but prepared, cooked and presented in much the same way as you’d find in a top hotel.Strolling in Fisherman’s Village has to include Krua Bophut! Well, a top hotel in everything except the prices, that is. But more about this later!

One real delight is the lovely old Thai-style wooden building that forms the main body of the restaurant. It’s one big room with a lofty teak roof. But it’s not until you’ve been shown to your table and are seated that you’ll start to become aware of its charm. The old wind-up phonograph. The pressed-tin toys. Faded posters from the ’30s. Old clocks and collectables. What’s so surprising is the way these all blend so effortlessly in with a cultural style that’s an entire world away. And yet this mix of both worlds somehow creates a timeless ambiance that’s unforgettable.

The attractive and easy-to-scan menu is neatly sectioned in the traditional way – covering appetisers, soups and salads before stretching out into beef, duck, chicken and seafood dishes. The portions are bigger than usual, and also have steamed rice included and not as an extra, as you’ll usually find elsewhere. There’s also a ‘chilli-coding’ symbol enabling you to easily identify spicy dishes, Strolling in Fisherman’s Village has to include Krua Bophut!although the kitchen will readily tune anything to your particular liking on request.

Most Thai restaurants will have around 30 items on their menu. But Krua Bophut has well over 100. And this is because they’ve adopted a unique approach. Rather than offering, say, red snapper with sweet and sour sauce, first of all you can choose the way you want the fish cooked. And then there’s just about every combination that you can imagine: BBQ (or whatever you opted for) snapper with turmeric or tamarind, or even chopped into a stir fry with sweet and sour, with mixed steamed vegetables, chilli and basil; even with pasta, if you wish!

If that’s not tantalising enough, there are two set menus. Each is a set of six dishes that come under either ‘Menu A’ or ‘Menu B’. Set A is the spicier combination with B being made up of dishes that are more moderate. And this brings us right away to the cost of it all: it’s unbelievably reasonable. Most dishes are in the region around 200 baht or so. And even the six-dish set-menus above will give you change from 800 baht.

And that’s not even touching on the excellent selection of wines at Krua Bophut. There’s a great choice of both classic and New World labels on offer, together with a surprising number of really good house wines. I’m told that this is another neat trick that successful hotels have developed: it’s much more realistic to sell a palatable wine by the glass than either the cheap stuff or the high-end labels!

So there it is. The next time you go to the village, do the walk and then drop into Krua Bophut – you’ll be more than happy that you did!


Rob De Wet


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