By Khetsirin Pholdhampalit
The Nation Weekend
DESPITE BEING open just two months, Cape Fahn – a new luxury property on the small private island of Fahn off Koh Samui – is becoming a major draw. Its beautiful scenery and promise of intimacy with nature has made it a top wedding destination, with popular actress Jennie Tienposuwan sharing her romantic pictures online.
Only by a 300-metre-wide strait separates Koh Fahn from Samui’s peaceful Choeng Mon Beach. You can get across in five minutes by boat or simply walk over at low tide.
Cape Fahn, run by Cape & Kantary Hotels, occupies the entire 15-rai island, ensuring that it’s as exclusive as can be with its 22 one- and two-bedroom pool villas.
All-day dining restaurant Hue at the new Cape Fahn Hotel offers southern-style favourites with authentic taste.
In addition to stunning panoramic vistas of the Gulf and wonderful accommodations, the resort has a beachfront-poolside restaurant called Hue – named not for the Vietnamese city but for the Thai word for “hungry”. There can be little else as romantic as a private four-course dinner there on the beach as the sun sets in magnificent fashion.
A private four-course dinner by sunset on the beach is guaranteed to leave romantic memories.
Appetisers come in a choice between a platter of a trio of Thai or Western appetisers, followed by seafood stew. The main course entail “surf & turf”, including tiger prawns, lobster, snapper, T-bone steak and the Green & Red Salad of strawberry, watermelon, local greens, cashew nuts and Thai basil dressing.
A fine ending can be either dessert of the day or passion-fruit pavlova followed by coffee or tea with petit fours.
All of this costs Bt7,900 for two, including a bottle of sparkling wine.
Hue is open all day and 90 per cent of the menu is authentic southern-style street food.
Gaeng Lueang Nor Mai Dong Pla Grapong
You can expect to try regional favourites like Sataw Pad Gapi Goong (stir-fried stink beans with shrimp and shrimp paste), Gaeng Lueang Nor Mai Dong (hot and sour soup with bamboo shoots) and Kua Kling Nuea (spicy dried and minced beef curry).
“Most of the ingredients come from Samui – great seafood and tasty sataw [stink beans] and gapi [shrimp paste],” says sous chef Aekkaparb Songsen, a Nakhon Si Thammarat native.
“We don’t serve tom yum goong because you can get that at any restaurants, but we have Pad Thai Chaiya [named after Chaiya district in Surat Thani], which tastes quite different from Central region pad thai.”
Pad Thai Chaiya
Samui natives call Pad Thai Chaiya (Bt295) mee pad kati – stir-fried rice noodles with coconut milk. The sauce is a blend of dried red bell peppers, tamarind paste and coconut milk.
“The noodles are thoroughly stir-fried with the sauce until almost all the sauce is absorbed, making the noodles very soft,” says Aekkaparb. “They’re served with tiger prawns and on the side crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, cucumber and a slice of lemon.”
If Sataw Pad Gapi Goong (Bt320) sounds like it might leave you with bad breath, Aekkaparb explains that all you need to do is follow it up with fresh makhuea proh (Thai eggplant).
Sataw Pad Gapi Goong
The stink beans are perfectly stir-fried with chillies and aromatic shrimp paste. Pickled garlic and shallot are added to tone down the saltiness of the paste, and the result is a pungent and flavourful dish.
“We found a good shrimp paste here,” says the sous chef, “with the tiny shrimp pounded with sea salt and sun-dried more than five times, making it very aromatic and flavourful. The sataw is also now available year-round.”
Kanom Jeen Bai Chaplu Phu Talay
Kanom Jeen Bai Chaplu Phu Talay (Bt395) is also the real deal thanks to the strong flavour of yellow curry cooked with chaplu leaves and the meat of mud crabs. It’s best with rice vermicelli and fresh seasonal vegetables.
Pla Tod Khamin
Tone down the spiciness with Pla Tod Khamin (Bt890). It’s a whole sea bass marinated with turmeric and fish sauce and deep fried. For easy eating, it’s cut into fillets and served atop fried and julienned lemongrass.
Also worth trying is Gai Golae (Bt390) – a char-grilled half chicken marinated in coconut milk and curry that’s made from dried bell peppers, palm sugar and fish sauce. After a perfect grilling, the sauce is also generously poured over the chicken, cloaking in the moistness. This is served with tamarind sauce.
Khao Mok Gai Baan Don
Khao Mok Gai Baan Don (Bt330) is a Thai-style biryani rice with chicken and the rice is fragrant and perfectly cooked – neither dry nor moist. The chicken is well seasoned and tender and tossed with fried shallots.
The restaurant also offers a selection of comfort Western fare such as salads, burgers, pizzas, pastas and steaks.
The Samui Burger (Bt375) is a chunk of grilled salmon on a bed of asparagus, cream, lemon, dill, Parmesan cheese and sun-dried tomato. Cappelini con Bottarga (Bt520) is angel-hair pasta simply cooked with bottarga and olive oil for a slightly salty taste.
Cappelini con Bottarga
The Mixed Seafood Pizza (Bt450) is thin crust with tomato puree, mozzarella and assorted seafood and irresistible when it arrives fresh from the oven.
Kanom Pim I-Tim Mapraw
The meal can end with Thai-style Waffle with Coconut Ice Cream (Bt250).
“Southern people call this kanom pim because it’s baked in a mould – pim in Thai,” says Aekkaparb. “The texture is not truly Western but softer because the flour dough is mixed with coconut milk, grated coconut, egg, salt and sugar. The locals normally eat this in the morning with a cup of coffee. At Hue, we serve it with coconut ice cream so it’s more like a Western-style presentation.”
SAY HELLO TO HUE
Hue is at the Cape Fahn Hotel on the Koh Samui shore and is open daily from 11am to 10.30pm.
Call (077) 602 301-2 or visit www.CapeFahnHotel.com.