Samui Wining & Dining
Venturing beyond the ordinary at Villa Nalinnadda.

Venturing beyond the ordinary at Villa Nalinnadda.Picture a hotel with white walls and a garden that opens out onto a sea view, all clean lines, pleasingly contemporary and both open and welcoming. Drive a few kilometres south of Lamai, past a temple guarded by stone snakes, and you’ll find Villa Nalinnadda petite hotel and spa, on the ring-road just before Hua Thanon. Easily missed if you don’t keep your eyes peeled, it’s that discreet. Step across the threshold and you’re in another world.


As beautifully white inside as it is outside, and deliciously airconditioned, the dining room here is simple and elegant. The villa and its atmosphere is definitely Mediterranean, and it would hardly surprise anyone if you heard evening bells pealing from a town church. The affable yet completely unpretentious owner is very often on hand to oversee everything. She has something of the chatelaine about her; she’s a gracious and much-loved host who matches her surroundings for charm and friendliness. Simply known as Khun Nokie, she’s extremely welcoming, and makes sure that you enjoy yourself while under her care. That’s meant in a literal sense, as she’s the one who not only owns the villa, but has created the Thai side of its eclectic menu. She’s faithfully recreated the dishes she loved as a child, experimenting with some of them until she’s even improved on them. The international side has been equally lovingly put together by her Executive Chef, Martin Fells. Together the two of them have made something that’s totally outstanding and quite different. Come along any time after 5:00 pm and you can see for yourself – or rather, taste for yourself.


The menu comes as a surprise; each of the dishes, be it curry, seafood, meats and so on, comes with a variation. For each typically Thai dish, there’s a western counterpart, and vice versa. The diners choose whatever they’d like, and have a lot of fun doing so. Which set of dishes is better? As to who’s the best chef, it really is a question that’s impossible to answer. Venturing beyond the ordinary at Villa Nalinnadda.The Thai and international dishes complement each other perfectly. Browsing the menu, you’ll be offered lots of choices. Do you choose the Lamb in Panang Sauce or the Spiced Breaded Lamb Cutlets? And what about rib-eye? You can opt for Rib-Eye in Green Curry or Grilled Rib-Eye Steak with a green curry emulsion. Fish lovers, meanwhile, will enjoy deciding between the Choo-Chee Pla Salmon and Pan-fried Salmon with sorrel sauce. These are just a few of the possibilities and it’s incredibly hard to choose between them.


The dishes are all served with various accompaniments such as vegetables, dips and relishes – whatever’s appropriate. Food of this kind isn’t just tasty but generally very healthy too.


By the way, you can also choose to dine outside, right on the edge of the terrace, if you’re in a romantic mood – and it’s fair to say that this villa will probably put you in that frame of mind.


The dinner menu is exceptional enough, and it alone would guarantee the fine reputation that Villa Nalinnadda enjoys. But it’s only part of the story. Since the villa offers accommodation (there are ten gorgeous rooms here), it’s open for a wonderful breakfast, Venturing beyond the ordinary at Villa Nalinnadda.which anyone is welcome to attend. The villa even has its own bakery, so as you can imagine, breakfast here certainly raises the bar for excellence.


Lunch comes courtesy of a third chef, Khun Boom who is the consummate expert on anything and everything to do with noodles. She presents diners with slow-cooked pork ribs, roast chicken and chicken and shiitake, amongst other temptations, along with five different styles of noodles. The surprise here isn’t just the extraordinarily good taste, it’s the price – you can eat well for 75 baht. Not into noodles? No worries, as you can also enjoy spaghetti, burgers and an excellent croque-monsieur.


This is obviously a venue that caters for different tastes, but what’s totally unexpected are the wonderful western-style home-made cakes, and an excellent afternoon tea, all baked on site by Martin. The scones are to die for, very light and airy served with excellent quality jam and freshly whipped cream. There is also a selection of teas, mostly from England and loose leaf. Different choices of cakes are available every day.


The dishes at Villa Nalinnadda, be they for breakfast, lunch or dinner, are fascinatingly diverse, and represent the very best of Thai and international fare. Whatever time of day you decide to come, the food is great value for money, and there is no tax or service charge added to your bill.


The restaurant is open from 7:00 am until 10:00 pm. This is cuisine and architecture imbued with a laid-back chic all of its own. Come and experience the originality that Khun Nokie and Martin offer, and along with it, great times.


Dimitri Waring


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