The iconic Boathouse Phuket, one of the island’s original quality restaurants – and one of the very few perched at the edge of a beach – celebrates 30 years serving discerning Phuket diners in February.
It’s a little over one year since The Boathouse reopened after major renovation and redesign. The result was worth waiting for, whether you plan to spend a few nights in one of their 37 sumptuous rooms, or drop by for an experience that defines the perfect tropical island dinner.
You must allow time to soak up that experience. Arrive early, claim a sea-facing sofa, order your aperitifs and idly watch the last of the day’s sun-worshippers, surfers and paddle boarders, while you wait for the glorious Kata Beach sunset.
The Boathouse is not terribly ‘formal’ dining, so smart casual is fine – even ‘good’ shorts are OK but, they ask, please no swimsuits, singlets or flip-flops in the restaurant!
If you’re really into gin, choose from 16 premium gins and 8 premium tonic waters – with a mind-numbing 30 varieties of freshly cut fruit, herbs & spices – not to mention 5 “perfect sprinkles”. We’re not, so I went for my favourite Ricard on ice, while my partner sipped on an Orient Blaze (rum, sherry, fresh orange juice and a splash of ginger ale).
Lost in the sundowner moment, we were surprised with, and enjoyed, a tasty ‘amuse-bouche’ before moving on for the main event. Our table, immediately overlooking the sands and the water’s edge, enjoyed the cool sea breeze – but for those who prefer to be more chilled, there’s ample air-conditioned seating, all with an ocean view or, facing the other way, looking into the wide-open kitchen, where Chef Jonathan and his talented team make it all look so easy.
My partner started with a Rock Lobster Cocktail (on avocado, served with tom yam mayonnaise). The flavour simply flowed off the generous, succulent chunks of rock lobster, the avocado providing balance and the mayonnaise reminding us of the Thai influence throughout the Boathouse menu. I went for Lamb Mulligatawny Soup, not on the menu but remembered and savoured from a previous occasion.
It’s worth noting that nothing is too much trouble for Chef Jonathan. If you fancy something different, just ask him; if he’s got the ingredients – and he usually has – he’ll be happy to create your dish just for you. How many places will do that for you?!
Main course was Tasmanian Salmon, with asparagus, tomato salsa and crushed potato and Crispy Duck Breast with Black Peppercorn Sauce (with colourful capsicum, garlic, peppercorn and oyster sauces), served with Jasmine rice.
The salmon was deliciously light – exactly what my partner wanted, the salsa mixture giving a little zing to the delicate flavour. My duck breast was all I anticipated. Influenced by Thai (or even Chinese) tastes, the peppercorn and oyster sauce combo gave the dish an unexpected edge, while the meat was managed perfectly – al dente, not over-crisped.
Full, but unable to resist a sweet something to finish, my partner indulged in a Belgian Chocolate Trio; for me a simple ice cream – but of course, I had to sample that trio… mmm...
The Boathouse’s wine cellar is an island legend. Even today, with the demands of a massively altered market, you’ll find an eclectic selection with something for every taste and pocket. Philip, the charming and knowledgeable sommelier, recommended I try a Chilean wine I would never have chosen myself – a Domaines Barons de Rothschild Los Vascos Grande Reserve. It was an excellent choice.
You must try this restaurant. You won’t be disappointed. And to help you get acquainted, every Friday there’s a “Wine Lunch”, where you get a 3-course meal and free flow wine for just 1,000 baht net! Hard to believe?