Samui Wining & Dining
Moonlight Sonata

Romantic beachside dining on Samui doesn’t get any better than what H Bistro offers.


Moonlight SonataThere are many ‘Facebook envy’ shots to be had on Samui. You could post a picture of yourself kite-surfing off one of the best beaches. Maybe lying in a hammock between two palm trees. Possibly watching one of the many good live music acts in Chaweng or Lamai. Or even being brave and eating an insect or two at a night market. Whatever you post, even just a photo of a palm tree silhouetted against a sunset, will no doubt have friends and family back home seething with envy – and calling you unprintable names.

 

Which is why the new beach dinner option at Hansar Samui’s H Bistro restaurant in Bo Phut is a bit of a masterstroke. Couples can book in for a beach dinner under the stars, specially set up in four-poster style on the sand. There’s a ‘Barefoot Butler’ service where everything you might want is brought directly to you. The table is private and shielded from anyone passing, making it probably one of the most romantic dining options on Samui.

 

Hansar Samui’s Director of Operations, Khun Urip N Wiedodo (informally known as Khun Wied), says that although this particular beachfront dining option only started at H Bistro in July, it’s already proved very popular. And the romance of the setting is confirmed by the fact that there’ve already been three proposals made there by budding grooms.

 

“Our General Manager, Indra Budiman, only finalised arrangements a couple of months ago but the concept has already well and truly taken off,” Khun Wied explained. “The idea of having a private four-poster style table seems to be very popular and we’re getting plenty of enquiries from people who don’t stay here but who are just walking along the beach in the evening and see the couples dining. We think it’s a unique concept, especially in Bo Phut, and although there can be several people on the beach in the evening when the dinners are being served, there’s still plenty of privacy for the individual couples. Currently, we only set up a maximum of two tables each evening – we might extend that to three later, but that would be the absolute maximum. It’s all about absolute privacy for the guests.”

 

Only having two couples per evening also means that the staff can totally accommodate each couple’s wishes. Or, as is more common, one half of the couple who’s arranged the meal as a surprise for their partner.

 

“We’ve had people who’ve asked us to set the table up at a certain time, then asked their partner to come for a walk on the beach,” Khun Wied says. “They come up to the table, all laid for a romantic private meal, and their partner will usually say how beautiful it is and wonder who it’s for. Then it’s revealed that it’s for them, at which point our barefoot butler miraculously appears and we invite the couple to sit down.”

 

You’d imagine there’d be unlimited brownie points for anyone arranging that for their partner and that it would create the perfect opportunity for proposing to a loved one after the meal. And once again, the staff are on hand to help in that aspect, too. Hansar Samui’s Assistant Restaurant Manager, Khun Wittawat Roongklung (Khun A), has had the male half of three couples so far come to him the day before the meal to best plan how to spring the surprise proposal. He clearly enjoys both the subterfuge and making the night one for the couple to always remember.

 

“With one proposal, we arranged for a baby elephant to be led down the beach, carrying the rings,” he laughs. “It was a couple from Hong Kong and when the lady realised what was happening she started crying. After she said yes, we’d arranged with the gentleman to set off fireworks, so they were going off over the water and people who’d just been walking along the beach had stopped to watch and were applauding the couple. It was a very special moment for them and one she’ll always remember!”

And what of the food for the beach dining meal? Like the experience itself, it’s designed to be memorable. The menu was created by Hansar Samui’s Executive Chef, Stephen Jean Dion, who’s worked all over the world in many prestigious locations (including previously being the personal chef of the King and Queen of Jordan) and who definitely has the knowledge and experience to make sure this is a memorable meal. Appetizers include a choice of tartar of Alaskan scallop and Scottish smoked salmon cubes with lemon foam green gazpacho, Soulard foie gras with dehydrated yoghurt, caramelised peach and raspberry essence, or pecorino sardo ravioli with Alaskan king crab and saffron.

 

For the main course, couples can try a slow-cooked Quercy lamb with potato gnocchi, heirloom carrots and guanciale morel sauce, or a tarragon-marinated swordfish with borlotti bean puree, Kalamata olive tapenade, Mediterranean vegetable roulade and rouille. There is, of course, a full range of wines, champagnes and cocktails to choose from to accompany your meal, and Chef Stephen also includes surprises of amuse-bouche (single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre) and palate cleansers throughout.

When dessert is ordered, it’s sometimes because a wannabe-groom has hidden an engagement ring inside a slice of cake, says Khun A, who, yes, has already organised that for a couple, along with accompanying flowers.

 

It all sounds perfect. But, because weather doesn’t always go to plan, it has to be asked what happens if it rains? Do the couple have to give up on their romantic meal? Does the hopeful prospective-groom retrieve the cake from staff and suggest eating dessert in their room instead so that his sweetheart can still find the ring?

 

“We’re very flexible,” says Khun Wied. “If it does look like rain, we offer the couple the chance to postpone until the next night or any other night they like. Or they can still choose to have the meal, only in the covered part of H Bistro rather than on the beach itself. Whatever they want, we’ll arrange it for them.”

 

Looking across the beautiful beach at Bo Phut, with the staff setting up the four-poster tables and the sun beating off the water, is enough to warm even the most non-romantic of hearts. And if even this isn’t a good enough motivation for you, think of the Facebook photos. You be hard pressed to upload a more impressive shot.

 

Lisa Cunningham
 


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