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Dining Out


Bringing their “Island Soul”

Doc Houlind brings the house down

Powerful Souls

Dining Out: The Montien’s International Buffet - and it certainly is!

by Miss Terry Diner

As it had been some time since the Dining Out Team had been to the Montien; their energetic PR lady, Pornpimon suggested we should come to their Saturday evening International Buffet.

Masterminding the buffet is their “new” executive chef, Horst Reichel, a witty European previously with Montien from 1995-1997. Horst exhibits a wonderful philosophy saying that his function here is not to gain more stars for himself, but to bring his experience and give it to the local people. That he is certainly doing, even to the point of changing dishes in the buffet every week just so his staff chefs do not get bored preparing the same items.

The Verandah Restaurant and Coffee Shop is downstairs from the foyer. It has a covered area in which the buffet is set up, and a further enclosed air-conditioned section. Cane chairs, with cushions, and heavily starched linen napkins plus good quality cutlery stamp this place above the humble “coffee shop” description. It is a “proper” restaurant.

The international buffet is an ‘all you can eat’ arrangement and costs B. 380 ++ (hotel speak for plus VAT and service charge) for adults and half price for children. There are eleven stations beginning with six cold appetizers and then ten salads including a Caesar dressing. There is a Japanese station with Miso soup, assorted sushi and sashimi (and Miss Terry’s favourite wasabe) as well as sukiyaki, yakisoba and tempura. Still in the Asian genre there is a Thai and Vietnamese station with tom kha gai, fried fish with ginger, a green curry, Vietnamese minced shrimps on sugar cane and spring rolls. Close by there is a Chinese section making oyster omelettes, Chinese steamed buns and stir fries.

Moving to the European stations, there is an Italian pasta station with lasagne and pork piccata Milanese. There is a Spanish station, with a massive paella, lamb navarin, an orange chicken and the classical gazpacho cold soup.

Next up is a Mexican section preparing chicken, beef or pork fajitas, plus tostadas, Veracruz style fish, stuffed bell peppers and refried beans, with many Mexican sauces and condiments to go with them.

Getting towards the end is the Mongolian BBQ, of which Chef Horst is very proud, having brought it to the Montien six years ago. You have a choice of beef, chicken and pork, plus many vegetables and almost a dozen sauces.

Finally there is a cold desserts station and a warm dessert area with a lovely young lady cooking crepes.

Madame and I began with the usual Singha Gold for me and then we attacked the tables. I began with some gazpacho, plus croutons and a selection of cold cuts, while Madame had some pastrami and crab sticks. The soup was slightly ‘tangy’ and very refreshing, while Madame was particularly taken with the crab while I liked the pastrami.

We returned to the food stations, Madame returning with some stuffed bell peppers and fajitas, while I had enormous fun at the Mongolian BBQ, selecting some pork and chicken, cooked with onion and bell peppers with the addition of chopped garlic, ginger and soya sauce. The ever helpful maitre d’ said he would bring it to my table, but for me, half the fun was watching the artistry of the young chef as he tossed and BBQ’d my selection.

Both of us really enjoyed it, but we backed up for more, with Madame having a banana crepe, while Miss Terry had a piece of a chocolate mousse cake which is available from the Montien Bakery. Absolutely sensational and 20 million calories at least.

The International Buffet is an ideal place to take people with differing tastes in food. There is a more than ample choice and the half price for children makes it very suitable for families. The food was excellently prepared and the pleasant staff all helped to make it a memorable evening. Highly recommended.

The Verandah Restaurant Saturday International Buffet, Montien Hotel, Pattaya 2 Road, 428 155, ext. 1620, 1623.

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In recent times it’s come to my notice from talking with many expats around Fun Town that, in their opinion, the ‘quality’ of damsels working in ogling dens, beer boozers and dine and dash establishments is not ‘what it used to be’. By ‘quality’, I mean in terms of physical attractiveness and personality.

In principle, I would have to agree. It wasn’t such a long time ago, so it is claimed, that no ogling den worthy of the cognomen would employ a chrome-pole artiste who looked remotely like a Ukrainian weightlifter. However, nowadays, a number of dens have maidens who could double as gold medal prospects in the clean and jerk as well as the snatch. Equally, the claim is made that the femmes no longer make eye contact with the ogling punters wrapped around their beverages, instead spending their time staring at their reflection in the wall mirrors. So, what else is new?

Part of the reason for this is that so many of the pole vaulters have foreign boyfriends sending money to pay for blind daughters, deaf fathers and dumb waiters, that they don’t need to earn much more than their salary each month and therefore only get interested when someone they find attractive wanders into the play palace. Don’t think for a moment that they haven’t spotted your undoubted charms and bulging wallet. You’ve been assessed, digested, inspected and processed all in the time it took you to walk through the door and find a seat.

Then again, there are plenty of people who consider that the quality of the lasses in the City of Angels has also taken a nose-dive in recent times.

I recall on my first visit to Pattaya, the people who brought me here said it was nowhere near as good as it had been just a couple of years prior. Basically, ‘the good old days’ syndrome. Personally, I thought the joint was great and most of the first-timers I happened to meet in the last high season thought the place was paradise on earth. Give them a few more visits and a couple of years and watch the tune change.

The truth is that many of us have been living and visiting here too long, and because we know how to play the ‘game’, we are apt to be less starry-eyed and more immune to the charms of Fun Town.

Got Sally in the Mustang: The Blues Factory (the Lucky Star end of Walking Street) has recently changed its semi-ogling den format due to the fact that it is attracting a lot of couples as well as blues aficionados.

The dancing maidens haven’t gone, they’ve simply been issued with hostess-style apparel, more in line with the niche the Blues Factory is aiming to fill.

Prior to 10 p.m., when the band strikes up, those searching for liquid refreshment get two for the price of one, a pretty good deal in anyone’s language, although there is no entertainment per se.

Prices are not cheap at 95 baht for beers while spirits run to 115 baht, but the entertainment, led by Greg Carroll (formerly of Tony’s) is worth every satang. Lady Drink’s are a reasonable 85 baht.

The Blues Factory management is looking to provide variety in their entertainment by having Blues Brothers nights on Fridays, James Brown/Soul nights on Saturdays (due to kick off in a couple of weeks) and Rock nights, which have just started on Wednesdays. Sunday evenings will be Jam night with guest musicians joining the regular lineup.

Yes, the band does get a night off, on Mondays, when the place has house music from start to finish.

Off the beaten track: Peter, my local informant in Ban Chang, has written to me praising the merits of the Off Shore Bar, located between Sukhumvit Highway and the Banchang Palace Hotel. He says it has good British food, ‘including North Sea cod in beer batter’. The usual pool and darts are available as well as a number of working wenches. Apparently the boss is a golf pro, so he’s used to being told a million and one hard luck stories involving small balls.

In the Boozers: The Cat Bar (Central Pattaya Road) is a quiet little watering hole open 24 hours a day. They have a band on after 10 p.m., most beers are 60 baht, spirits 80 baht and soft drinks 35 baht. If you happen to get a little peckish then they are twinned with the nearby Seaside nosh house and you can order what you want while sipping quietly away.

Alphabet Soup: Has anyone noticed that of the 26 letters in the English alphabet, no less than 13 of them can be used as nicknames for Thais? How many people in Fun Town are named A, B, C, D, F, J, K, M, O, P, T and U?

At least it’s easier than having to ask something like, “Does Somboon Saymynamewithasmileonyourface still work here?”

My e-mail address is: [email protected]

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Bringing their “Island Soul” to Pattaya

Beginning June 1, Island Soul will be performing nightly at the Moon River Pub.

Sexy Stephanie Vanessa Bhoyroo fronts the band of five electrifying, experienced and entertaining musicians Noel J. Marcelle, Richard Knights, Andy Gabriel and Sterlyn N. Shippley.

Beautiful Stephanie Vanessa Bhoyroo (center) with Island Soul musicians Noel J. Marcelle, Richard Knights, Andy Gabriel and Sterlyn N. Shippley.

The Island Soul, definitely not emulating other bands, projects a totally different image with their music. Equipped with an extensive repertoire, this highly talented band is a mixture of musicians from the Caribbean and Mauritius.

The band’s musical repertoire comprises a blend of international music, top 20s, rock, jazz and island songs: calypso, soca, reggae, French saga and Latin pieces.

Hear them - and they will melt your heart ...communicate with them - and you will feel their friendliness and humor.

To make the band feel at home, and treat customers to delicious Caribbean cuisine, the Moon River Pub is also offering a Caribbean Specialties Promotion.

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Doc Houlind brings the house down

The international Danish New Orleans Jazz band, Doc Houlind and the All Stars played to two full houses at Ib and Kannikar Ottesen’s Captain’s Corner Restaurant last week. It had been two years since the group’s last appearance, and the be-hatted Doc Houlind appeared to have lost none of his enthusiasm for the music. His drum solos brought on much applause from an audience obviously starved for the New Orleans ragtime style music.

It was also welcome back to the trumpet and clarinet players, who play just so well together and who had come from Europe to join the Captain’s Corner gig. The style of the keyboards player was quite different from the usual pianist, and resident musician George Sinatra (who owned the keyboards) looked a little pale as the notes were thumped and hammered out of the innocent instrument!

The audience, which included musical stalwarts Ursula and Georges Rothstein (Kalae Art and Interiors) and local insurance consultant Jack Levy, usually better known for his prowess (?) on the golf course were vocal in their appreciation and it is hoped that it will not be another two years before Doc Houlind sets up his “practice” in Pattaya.

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Powerful Souls

With Thursdays being the “music nights” at Shenanigans, effervescent landlord Kim Fletcher has expanded the range of music being brought to the pub. Last week it was “Soul Power” an amazing Thai band with powerful music in the Soul mood. The keyboards player was remarkable with the big sound he could extract from his instrument, which at times sounded more like a concert hall organ than keyboards, and this combined with a singer whose voice had powerful emotion, made for another great evening of musical entertainment. During an interview on the Pattaya Mail Channel Kim said he hoped he could entice Soul Power back in around six weeks, but added that there would be other interesting bands on the bill each week in between.

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