Pattaya Mail turns 12

Vol. XIII No. 45
Friday November 11 - November 17, 2005

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern




Paradise Garden Restaurant

(in Villa Lamai, Naklua)

The Paradise Restaurant on Pattaya Second Road has been going for many years, and is well accepted in the Pattaya dining scene. However, owner Hans Banziger has expanded the concept and taken it into a garden restaurant located in Naklua, inside the grounds of the 17 room Villa Lamai boutique resort.

On Soi 16/2, which is clearly marked on the Pattaya-Naklua Road, Villa Lamai is about half way down on the left hand side, with plenty of on-street parking. Paradise Garden Restaurant is also clearly marked.

Walking in, you will find a small swimming pool on your right, and the garden restaurant on your left, with rustic tables and chairs, plus tropical palms, bas-relief Asian statues and all set in real grass, a commodity not seen too often in Thailand. The cutlery is good quality and the bench seating has cushions. There is another section on the other side of the swimming pool, but this is reserved for the resort guests. Hans describes the new Paradise Garden Restaurant as a “romantic hide-away” and I would have to agree with him. However, on the evening that we went along, there were very obvious ‘family’ gatherings, and there are high chairs as well.

Being an off-shoot of the Paradise Restaurant in the city, the menu is the familiar one from there, with the exotic meats on special, plus all the other choices. Hans has retained the small thumbnail photographs to go with each dish, so you do know what you are going to get. The standard menu continues with its inexpensive range with most duck, chicken and pork dishes under B. 200, and even steaks and seafood are mostly under B. 300. Being Swiss, he has on offer a pork Zurich and other European dishes. Having worked in many countries, he is equally adept at producing a German beef curry or an Indian version. However, these days he has become the acknowledged master in Pattaya with exotic foods, including emu, ostrich, kangaroo and crocodile. The Exotic Quartet covers the exotic meats and is an excellent starting off point for the tyro in sampling exotic cuisine. There are also a few pages of Thai favorites with most items around B. 100.

The wine list is also quite comprehensive, without being extensive, with representation from both the old and new wine worlds. Most bottles are around B. 1000. House wines are Chilean and good value at 800 baht per bottle, and can be purchased by the glass or carafe.

We began our evening with a Kir Royal aperitif, and I can really recommend this as a way to begin a great evening. Really delightful!

From there it was into the mussels in a white wine sauce for Madame and green asparagus with ham and cheese sauce for myself. Both of these were excellent starters, and the sauces excellent.

Having had Hans’s exotic meats before (the ostrich is superb, by the way) we decided to have something completely different for a change, with Madame ordering a duck with orange sauce, while I went for a Weiner Schnitzel, dishes we had never tried in Paradise Restaurant before. To accompany the mains we ordered a carafe of the Chilean house wine (white), which was kept cold and served at the correct temperature.

The duck was very pleasant and the sauce piquant, as orange sauces should be. I was also impressed with my Weiner Schnitzel. Presented as a good sized portion, the schnitzel was neither dried out, nor the opposite extreme of being oily. Despite its apparently simple nature, how many times do you become disappointed with the chef’s handling of the meat? Perhaps having Hans Banziger watching over everything does have its advantages.

Despite sharing a menu with its eponymous elder ‘relative’, the Paradise Garden Restaurant is quite different from the Paradise Restaurant on Pattaya Second Road. Firstly, there is no problem with parking, and secondly, the ambience is one which encourages you to sit back and relax and linger. Great for families.

Paradise Garden Restaurant (in Villa Lamai Resort), Soi 16/2 Pattaya-Naklua Road, telephone 09 930 5888. Open 2 p.m. till 10 p.m. seven days. On street parking, but a very quiet thoroughfare.

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