is amazing how some restaurants can ‘slip through the net’ and the Essence in
the Amari Ocean Tower was one of those, even though it is one of the few
restaurants in Pattaya which remains open for 24 hours. By the way, I was
assured that the name is pronounced the English way (Essens) and not the
more euphonic French (Essongs).
The Amari’s Ocean Tower was all part of the development of
the old Amari Orchid site running between Second Road and Beach Road at the top
end of town. A massive make-over, which saw the additions of Mantra and the
Ocean Tower and a movement upwards in all respects. So many people have heard of
the Mantra, that it looks as if Essence has been forgotten, and we are just as
Ocean Tower is ultra modern with extensive use of black
marble and has a very “classy” ambience. Essence is on the third floor, and has
two distinct dining areas. The first is the main air-conditioned area which also
has a spotless kitchen behind glass, and the second is down a short flight of
stairs, with chairs and tables set up around the free-form swimming pool.
D้cor is predominantly orange and brown with extensive wood
and gives the restaurant a very warm and inviting atmosphere. We dined with
Boonchai, the food and beverage manager.
Essence has a very comprehensive cocktail list (most around
B. 220) and Madame had a glass of house white which comes by the bottle and is
poured in front of the diner, whilst I had a Caiparinha (B. 200), the Brazilian
sugar cane drink, while we perused the very full menu.
Whilst the main thrust of the menu is towards a European
international cuisine, there is additionally Thai, Japanese, Chinese and Indian,
and there are also several vegetarian dishes, which are indicated throughout.
The wine list is very comprehensive, with most bottles
between B. 1,500 and 2,500. There are also 18 wines available by the glass. We
chose a Wolf Blass Eaglehawk red, and you can’t go wrong with a Wolf Blass.
The menu begins with appetizers (B. 200-550) with the Maine
scallop salad at the top end. Sandwiches and burgers are next (B. 270-360) with
the club sandwich offering a triple-decker with grilled champagne ham, fried
egg, avocado, baby spinach and smoked bacon.
Several pasta dishes (B. 280-380) are next up followed by
international mains and grills. Imported Australia beef tenderloin is offered in
both 250 gm and 160 gm (B. 650), while fish and chips is the budget item at B.
Finally there are the Thai favorites (around B. 200),
Japanese (B. 250-580), Indian (B. 200-420) and Chinese offerings (around B.
Madame began with the Italian Mozzarella cheese and tomato
salad (B. 400) which was beautifully presented and very pleasant. I had decided
on the French onion soup (B. 200), a particular favorite of mine, and I have
often been disappointed, but not this time. The hot soup came packed with
onions, with the melted Gruyere cheese on the toast on top. It needed no
additional condiments and was superb. Well done!
For mains, Madame selected the snow fish fillet, grilled with
a basil cream sauce, green asparagus and saffron risotto (B. 650). This was
totally aromatic and was excellent.
I ordered the Cornish chicken breast, grilled and stuffed
with Parma ham and mozzarella cheese accompanied by gratin potatoes and a
Madeira sauce (B. 400). This was exceptional, and the presentation was pure art.
The Essence chef certainly knows what he is doing.
It was a very pleasant evening at Essence. The staff carry
out their tasks with the usual Thai friendliness, and please do wave to the busy
kitchen brigade behind their glass wall, as they really appreciate it! The
cuisine was of a very high standard, and the presentation excellent. When the
cooler weather comes, it will be a very romantic spot to dine outside around the
Essence Restaurant (open 24 hours), Ocean Tower, Amari Orchid
Resort and Tower, Pattaya Beach Road, reservations 038 418 418, secure parking
in Amari grounds (come in by the Beach Road entrance), Website: www.amari.com/orchid