Samui Wining & Dining
BEACHSIDE BLISS
 Sands at Banyan Tree Samui offers the very best of gourmet food in a hideaway spot.

Sands at Banyan Tree Samui offers the very best of gourmet food in a hideaway spot.

          

Located in one of Samui’s most beautiful areas, and facing out over a gorgeous little bay, Sands is the kind of location that offers itself up to happy times by the sea with long lunches and dinners. A place where you can come and chill out, rejuvenate and enjoy a pervading sense of calm. Firmly off the beaten track – no crowds, busy beach scenes or noise – Sands is part of a wonderfully secluded headland, Laem Nan, in Lamai. Just take the small lane close by the IT Centre as you head into Lamai from Chaweng, and it’s a few hundred metres away.

A buggy whisks you along winding lanes through immense gardens and down to the sea, and a world that feels quite apart. Take a seat in the open-sided dining room or outside on the terrace, which enjoys the shade of a wide-spreading almond tree. Ease back into the vibe at Sands, sip on cocktails or a long drink while you explore the eclectic menu that ranges across all manner of delights, mostly international but with the addition of some well-loved Thai dishes.

          

The food is simply exquisite here. Chef Wirat Souya, more usually known as Chef Champ, helms Sands, and under his direction the restaurant has recently taken on a new concept, which will see further development this year. Cooking is loosely, albeit vividly, themed around fire. Different types of fire are used to cook dishes in time-honoured ways.Sands at Banyan Tree Samui offers the very best of gourmet food in a hideaway spot. When you dine here, you’ll see quite a few flames of one kind or another. The brick-fired oven turns out 100% authentic pizzas, just like in Italy, while chefs are busy with flaming woks in the kitchens. Then there’s an open-pit barbecue and right at your table flambéing, while some food you will be able to cook yourself thanks to table-burners.

          

A large, very pleasing range of food awaits. The menu is brought to you on an iPad, so you can see exactly what you’re ordering. Just seeing photographs of these dishes you know you’re in for some exciting times; perhaps it makes the choice harder, as everything looks so good. A variety of starters, soups and salads begin culinary journeys here, leading onto more substantial and yet extraordinarily varied fare – not many menus offer diverse treats such as a vegetarian casserole,
 a Cajunstyle filet of snapper or a perfect Parma ham pizza. Go as light as you’d like or indulge in a gourmet feast. Either way you’ll be very happy with your choices; this is one of the best restaurants on Samui, and more so as it is part of the always impressive Banyan Tree group.

          

There’s a separate lunch menu, by the way, no less moreish, but befitting the endless hot summery days that dovetail with Sands’ laid-back vibe. For lunch there are also a few more Thai dishes, such as Gaeng Kiaw Wan Gai (green curry with chicken), Phad Thai with shrimps and Khao Phad Pu (fried rice with crab). The restaurant is open daily from 11:00 am until 11:00 pm.

          

You’ll also find an eye-catching beach bar adjacent to Sands. It’s a great place to relax and have a drink under coconut trees – it seems to sum up tropical life at its very best. The bar is focussed around an old-style tuk-tuk that goes back to the 1950’s,
Sands at Banyan Tree Samui offers the very best of gourmet food in a hideaway spot.of a type nowadays only seen in Trang province. These tuk-tuks are popularly called ‘frogs’ and that explains the oddball name of the bar here - Froggy Sea Breeze Beach Bar. The concept works well, and this is an ideal place to watch the sun go down, drink in hand.

          

If you’re at Sands on a Wednesday or Saturday, you’ll be able to enjoy live music playing during the evening, and on Saturdays you can enjoy one of the island’s best barbecue buffets, starting at 7:00 pm along with a fire show, starting at 8:00 pm on the beach.

          

If you’re looking for something intimate and quite different, you can opt for a very select evening right on the beach itself. Simply known as Destination Dining, this is sure to be the highlight of any holiday. It’s a sumptuous affair and takes place at a very secluded spot. Softly illuminated with candles on the sand and more in lanterns, you’ll be seated in a decorated gazebo and be treated to an outstanding dinner. With only one table offered each evening, you’ll certainly need to book in advance. Let your preferences be known as staff are very happy to act on any wishes or requests that you may have.

          

Banyan Tree is one of those places where you’ll just wonder what else is to be seen. Indeed, fabulous culinary possibilities await elsewhere at the resort and are definitely worth exploring. While you’re here, you could enjoy, say, a Thai dessert at Saffron, or a drink at The Edge, a restaurant with still more western food, but this time with views from up on high. Or you could even treat yourself to a wonderfully rejuvenating spa session. Meanwhile, with a relaxed and easy-going atmosphere, pristine sea views and tasty food that always pleases, time at Sands is always delightfully well spent.

          

Dimitri Waring


 


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