Not long ago, the Rice Mill was an upscale
Chinese restaurant in the Royal Garden Plaza. Then with the redevelopment of
the Food Court area, the Rice Mill just disappeared.
Well, it didn’t quite disappear - it relocated itself!
This time inside the Pattaya Marriott Resort and Spa, down one flight of
stairs next to the internal lifts in the hotel. Arriving at the lower ground
level, you will immediately see some of the familiar Chinese decor items
from the ‘old’ Rice Mill, including the wooden rice mill itself, which
gave the restaurant its name. Large airy windows along one side look out
onto a garden bed near the swimming pool, so you are not dining in the
the invitation of their energetic young F&B manager, Dylan Counsel, we
went to the ‘new’ Rice Mill for a dim sum lunch buffet. This is an
all-inclusive B. 300++ offer, so we were interested to see just how they
would handle this style of dining.
Anyone who has dined in Hong Kong will remember the
typical dim sum. A noisy hubbub of gobbling humanity, laminate tables
hastily sloshed down before the next sitting, bored girls pushing trolleys
mindlessly parading up and down, while chomping diners select their next
item with the wave of a well-directed plastic chopstick. I am pleased to
report that the Rice Mill dim sum is nothing like that. In any way!
To begin with, there is still that certain refined
atmosphere to this restaurant, making it a pleasant place for lunch (or even
a business lunch). The staff is all there, but unobtrusive, yet ready if
called. Secondly, there are no trolleys and there are certainly no hurriedly
wiped laminate tabletops.
We were shown to our marble-topped table and seated in
comfortable chairs while the staff brought over a huge platter of garden
salad vegetables and dishes of condiments were arranged around it. These
included Chinese sausage, Shanghai dressing, croutons and crab slices, sweet
and sour sauce, soy sauce (both dark and light) and 1000 Island dressing for
those who cannot live without it (I can). It was only after taking in the
size of the garden greens platter that I had time to note the elegant black
chopsticks, complete with silver ends decorously arranged on the spoon
In true dim sum fashion, food then began to arrive at the
table, with the deep-fried items first including crispy spring rolls,
deep-fried wontons and lightly fried taro balls. These were closely followed
by BBQ pork and roast duck with honey. The latter was an outstanding dish,
by the way.
the steamed dishes began to arrive on our table, a soup also arrived, this
being a Szechwan hot and sour soup. This soup is sensational. Not too spicy,
but more ‘tangy’, with a good body and I will go back to the Rice Mill,
just to have more of this item. Truly!
Again like all traditional dim sums, the range of dishes
is extraordinary, including steamed shrimp dumpling, steamed barbeque pork
bun, steamed pork dumpling, steamed minced pork with mushroom, noodle rolls
with chicken and pork and much more. There was also a bowl of exceptionally
light and fluffy fried rice.
Being an ‘all you can eat’ deal is often the
invitation to gorge oneself, but neither Madame nor I could go past the
quantities that were brought to our table. In fact, there was more than we
We were very pleased to re-acquaint ourselves with the
Rice Mill. The relocation has not meant that there has been any decrease in
the previously high standards from the higher floors of the Royal Garden
Plaza. It may be somewhat smaller, but this lends itself more towards an
intimate dining. The lunchtime offer makes it a very viable alternative for
diners in Pattaya, and as previously mentioned, for business lunches in
particular. Highly recommended.
The Rice Mill, Pattaya Marriott Resort and Spa, 218/2-4 Moo 10 Beach
Road, Pattaya (but best reached from Second Road), telephone 038 412 120 ext
1361. Secure parking under the Royal Garden Plaza. Open seven days, 12 noon
- 2.30 p.m. for lunch and 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. for dinner.