Dining

Chef’s recipes, gourmet restaurants, exotic flavours, even street food

Chef du jour: Villa Rodnaya

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Villa Rodnaya is a modern four-bedroom holiday retreat with superb views over Nai Thon Beach on the tranquil northwest coast of Phuket. Found on the hillside within the exclusive Malaiwana estate, Rodnaya has been built to please families and young groups. It’s brimming with facilities and features, such as a children’s playroom, a media room and an amazing 18-metre pool with a safety barrier for younger kids. Stroll down to the beach, or stay in and fall in love with Rodnaya’s stylish design and tranquil surrounds. And here’s a secret few know – the villa even has its own music studio, available only to professional musicians on request.

The open-plan kitchen at Villa Rodnaya has stunning views of the beautiful Nai Thon Beach, and we chatted with Chef Gear as she shared her favourite recipe with us. Here’s a sneak peek at what keeps the guests coming back to Villa Rodnaya – Chef Gear and her Grilled Chicken Thai Red Curry.

Elite Havens: What is your background?

Chef Gear: I didn’t plan to become a chef, but it was my destiny. I took a cooking class at high school, and at that moment I knew exactly what I wanted to do for a living.

EH: Did you train in the culinary arts?

CG: I do not have formal culinary training from a cooking school but it is my passion that has brought me here. After taking cooking lessons at school, I would cook for my family daily, and they are the hardest people to please!

EH: What qualities should one have to be a cook?

CG: It is so important to maintain hygiene and ensure that your work area is kept tidy.

EH: What did you cook for us today?

CG: Grilled Chicken Thai Red Curry.

EH: Why did you choose to make this dish for us?

CG: It’s my signature creation. A lot of my guests ask for it repeatedly and say that it is the best they have had in Thailand.

EH: What is your speciality dish or the flavours you like to cook with?

CG: My favourite dishes are Massaman Beef, Green Curry Chicken and Grilled Chicken. And of course,

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Concierge Recommends: Dining Out in Bali

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The Island of the Gods is known as much for its gourmet scene as its party vibe. In Bali, you’re spoilt for choice, with hundreds of restaurants to choose from. But how do you sift the wheat from the chaff? Fret not, our Elite Concierge has meticulously eaten their way across the island and shortlisted the best restaurants in town:

Hujan Locale (Ubud)

Will Meyrick leads this collaboration with local farmers to offer paddock-to-plate dining in a beautiful two level wooden townhouse that sings colonial French tunes. At Hujan Locale, cocktails are blended, muddled and mixed to perfection, so do give the unique ones like beetroot margarita or carrot mojito a try. The food is a revelation of Balinese and Indonesian inspiration with crispy fish, and rice-husk smoked chicken flavoured with local sambal and spices. The restaurant also operates an outstanding cooking school where you can get adept at local Balinese cooking.

JI at Bale Sutra (Canggu)

Imagine dining within a reconstructed 300 year old Javanese Kang Xi Temple. You read that right. In Bali, anything is possible. Amaze yourself with a visit to this astonishing Japanese fusion restaurant which is the perfect antidote to the hipster vibe of Canggu. It’s not all theatrics though, the food is outstanding as well and uses green tea in extraordinary ways. Succulent fish and bottles of rare sake are abundant at JI at Bale Sutra, as well as some of the best cocktails on the island.

Locavore (Ubud)

Acclaimed restaurant Locavore ranks at #42 in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 list, and is a must-do for foodies visiting the island. This is where high European cuisine joins hands with local, seasonal, chemical-free produce and ethically raised animals – a game changer. Chefs Eelke Plasmeijer and Ray Adriansyah have convulsed the local food scene with joy, prompted obsessions and caught the hungry eye of the global gourmand. Be sure to book well in advance.

La Lucciola (Seminyak)

Lovingly known among expats as La Looch, La Lucciola is the grand dame of Seminyak dining. The classic Italian restaurant never falters and is always on its A-game. The ocean view over Petitenget’s white sandy beach is a delightful bonus.

Métis Restaurant, Lounge & Gallery (Petitenget)

Chef Nicolas ’Doudou’ Tourneville,

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Chef du jour: Panacea Retreat

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Breathtaking 360-degree panoramas of Koh Samui’s spectacular coastline are aplenty at Panacea Retreat, one of Southeast Asia’s most luxurious villa complexes. Get ready to have your notions of a luxury villa redefined. Panacea Retreat is the best of the best, and you will be hard-pressed to find anything like it anywhere in the world.

Praana Residence is Panacea’s prized jewel, a six-bedroom villa with an entire floor dedicated to pleasure and entertainment. Unlike anything you may have seen before, this is the quintessential party house. Dance the night away in your very own nightclub, replete with disco balls, a saltwater aquarium and state-of-the-art lighting. Pursue your fitness goals in a gym with the latest and highest-end equipment. Do a movie marathon in the enormous private theatre fitted with plush black leather sofa chairs. Or play a game of pool or poker in the games room. One of the best features, and a delight for sports enthusiasts, is an official competition size Thai boxing ring – where famous athletes have given a left hook and a jab. Two swimming pools, a sauna, spa and steam took round out Praana, which doesn’t forget other members of the group: a well-equipped, air-conditioned nursery will entertain your while you play. And did we mention the court for those who want to enjoy a game or two of tennis? Or the grand piano in the massive peak-roofed living pavillion. Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it?

For smaller groups, the other villas in the compound – Villas Avasara and Atulya, offer five luxurious bedrooms and Villas Kalya and Purana, four bedrooms. However, each villa maintains the level of excellence and luxury, that Praana sets the gold standard for.

We sat down with estate Chef Sommai, who has worked all over the globe, for some insight into what it takes to cook for the distinguished guests at splendid Panacea.

Elite Havens: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Chef Sommai: My name is Sommai Phetsukhum . I’m 52 years old and I’ve been working in the kitchen for 34 years. Over the years, I’ve worked in Phuket, Koh Samui, Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Turkey.

EH: What kind of food do you specialise in?

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Get Ready to Be Wowed at Cape Yamu, Phuket

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If you are seeking tranquillity, seclusion and endless sea views, consider planning your next holiday at Cape Yamu, Phuket. This remote peninsula is located on the eastern side of the island, overlooking the picturesque Phang Nga Bay. Cape Yamu is both topographically and metaphorically a cut above other popular tourist spots in Phuket. While it has evolved from a predominantly fishing and farming community, Cape Yamu remains set against a breathtaking and diverse natural environment peppered with traditional villages enclosed within rubber, coconut and cashew plantations. It is now considered an exclusive holiday destination unashamedly preferred by those seeking a unique and luxurious holiday experience.  

Cape Yamu is home to a variety of elite havens, and each luxurious holiday home boasts sensational sea views, attentive staff and finely appointed amenities. Whichever haven you choose, you are assured of the very highest level of service, and exclusive access to the Elite Concierge, to organise day trips, excursions, transport and everything in between.

Here are top three reasons you should pick Cape Yamu for your next Thailand holiday:

World-Class Dining

When you stay at an elite haven, you have access to personal chefs who have been trained in some of the best professional kitchens in the country. Your villa chef will be happy to stir up a delicious meal for your entire group. From Thai specialities to International favourites, each dish will have you craving for more. However, if you wish for a change of scene, you are spoilt for choice too. Catering to globe-trotting travellers, the east coast has a classy dining scene.  Nahmyaa Thai Restaurant, at COMO Point Yamu Resort, boasts of localised favourites with a healthy twist. Seafood lovers will love everything on the menu at Laem Hin Seafood, which offers flavourful Thai dishes, to be enjoyed against the backdrop of sea views that extend till Coconut Island. If you want to be adventurous, hop aboard a long-tail boat and dine at one of the floating restaurants just offshore.

Yachting Adventures

Ask the Elite Concierge to organise a yacht or speedboat for your group and head out into the deep blue. Phang Nga Bay, often featured in movies and shows, is famous for little limestone cliff islands, mangrove forests and floating villages.

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Enjoy Gastronomic Delights at Selong Selo

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Foodies and gastronomy aficionados are sure to have a great time at Selong Selo Resort & Residences in Lombok, which arguably has the best food on the island. The estate is built on the ethos of community-tourism and eco-friendly initiatives. It offers a slice of unadulterated paradise, and the chance to connect with oneself, amidst serenity and natural splendour, with a minimal eco-footprint.  

Selong Selo’s farm-to-table dining is an extension of this very ethos.  Seafood served here is freshly caught by local fishermen, and the local youth are offered food service training and career opportunities in the estate’s kitchen and restaurant. The founders of Selong Selo are keenly progressing in their vision and offering of a community food system.  This revolutionary approach allows the integration of production, processing, distribution and consumption as one, to enhance the environmental, economic, social and nutritional health of a particular place.

The estate has a garden complete with its own chickens and its own organic farm, which grows vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, beans, kale, etc. They even have an herb garden with parsley, thyme and a wealth of other plants, herbs and spices. Because chemicals have been virtually eliminated from Selong Selo’s dining ethos, you can be assured of only the best produce and ingredients being used in the delicious food you are served. What’s more, your kids can also enjoy tours of the chicken and vegetable farms, to get close to nature and see how livestock and plants are grown.

If a gastronomic holiday with astounding sea views sounds like a great experience, you will love your stay at Selong Selo, where each private pool luxury villa comes with a fully equipped kitchen to create gourmet masterpieces. Don’t worry about ingredients. The butler is on-hand and can arrange for groceries to be delivered straight to your doorstep. Cooking made easy. 

There is a large variety of dining options in Selong Selo, so get going and enjoy the fresh, farm-to-table goodness.

Aura Lounge and Bar

The estate’s restaurant, Aura Lounge and Bar, which enjoys fabulous views from its hilltop location, serves delicious pizzas, sandwiches, pasta and main dishes. If you’re craving to try something more local, select one of the plates native to Lombok, like their sumptuous Nasi Goreng.

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