Dining Out - Dining In with the Stone Oven

   by Miss Terry Dinerner

There are always times when you don’t want to go out for dinner, yet you don’t want to cook - or even more likely, you want something just a little bit more gourmet than you can prepare at home. The answer was never in the fast food delivery system. Fast food is just that - fast food. It does not pretend to be gourmet food.

A couple of years ago we dined out at the original Stone Oven in Soi 6. Unfortunately this was the wrong venue for a gourmet restaurant, and one that had innumerable parking problems. This was a shame, as we enjoyed the fare, remarking at the time, “To sum up, the food is superb at the Stone Oven. Madame described the pizza as ‘the best pizza I have ever eaten’ and I agree. The other dishes all exhibited wonderful flavors, and the portion sizes were large. This is one restaurant you owe it to yourself to try. Highly recommended.”
So when the owner/restaurateur Peter Miller informed us he would diversify into home delivery, the question in our minds was whether the standards would have slipped, and was this going to be ‘just another take-away’?
We rang the home delivery number and had a menu dropped out to us, and were immediately taken with the colorful 20 item, photographic menu. The predominance is on an Italian cuisine, and as per the original Stone Oven restaurant, the implied emphasis is on quality. If you are going to offer an Italian pizza, it should be made from Italian flour and cooked in a stone oven, is Peter Miller’s credo.

There are 10 pizzas (B. 195-295) and these are 32 cm diameter pizzas, weighing 800 gm, Peter told me when I rang him later to apologize for over-ordering! (I ate pizza for breakfast and lunch the next day!) The range covers the standard Margherita, Genovese, Capricciosa, Bolognese, Mexican, Greek (with black olives, garlic, grilled meat, salad, Feta cheese and parsley added after baking), Marina Roma and Milan Royal Chicken.
After the pizzas come four ‘Giant Pita’ offerings (B. 145-195) covering a Doner Tenderloin, Protein Blast (with tenderloin, ham and chicken), Grilled Chicken (with capers, salad, cucumber and herb dressing) and Feta.
There are also three Panini (grilled Italian sandwich) on offer (all B. 95) with fillings such as low fat salami, pesto, tomato, mozzarella, tuna, black olives and tomatoes.
Finally there are three fresh salads (B. 95-145) with a mixed salad, ham and cheese or tuna (with olives, eggs, salad, tomato and mustard dressing).
We ordered two pizzas, one giant pita and a salad. We were three people and when we saw the size of the helpings had to call in reinforcements, and still we had food left over.
The pizzas are on the traditional Italian thin base, and were especially notable in the fact that they contained real shredded meat, as well as being wonderfully tasty. The Giant Pita was also full to overflowing, with again plenty of shredded meats, as well as the salad, tomatoes and dressing. And the tuna salad contained real tuna, as well as all the other ingredients promised in the menu.
We certainly did enjoy our gourmet food (just as we had done when we dined at Peter Miller’s Stone Oven two years ago) and for Madame, the Greek pizza was the narrow favorite, and for me it was the Giant Pita. However, I can honestly say they were all enjoyable, and certainly a ‘cut above’ the other fast food suppliers.
To contact the Stone Oven Home Delivery service in the Jomtien area telephone 038 236 083, or in the Pattaya area telephone 038 361 740. Do give them time to prepare your order, as Peter says, “In business you cannot give high priority to everything and at the same time hit the right target prices. We have therefore chosen to give lower priority to ‘the need of speed’ which other players on the pizza/ pita/ sandwich scene emphasize on.” This has meant that you get a very high quality gourmet item, at the same cost as the ‘faster’ item. For us, it was definitely worth it. I cannot remember a better Sunday dinner eaten at home!

Creamy Oyster Bisque

While many people imagine that soups are a winter item only, this is incorrect. Soups can be a nourishing meal on their own or a wonderful starter for the evening meal. This recipe came from Australia and featured the world famous Sydney Rock Oysters, but any style will do and the recipe as presented calls for bottled oysters which makes it even easier. The recipe also mentions Guinness beer, but any of the heavy British brands will do which can be purchased in cans in Pattaya.

Cooking Method:
Heat 2 tablespoons of the stock in a large saucepan and add the onion and celery. Cook over low heat until onion is transparent. Add the Guinness, remaining stock, potato and thyme and cook until potatoes are soft and most of the liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a blender with half of the oysters, milk and pepper and puree until smooth. Bring back to the boil and serve immediately with a few oysters placed on top of each dish. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Ingredients                Serves 4 - 6
Bottled oysters (reserve the liquid)     24
Fish stock (including water               1 cup
drained from bottled oysters)
Guinness                                       ˝ cup
Small white onion diced                 1
Celery, diced                                1 stalk
Potato peeled and diced               400gm
Thyme                                        1 tspn
Low fat milk                                ˝ cup
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Parsley for garnish