A Royal Repast

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Some days we forget just how lucky we are living in Pattaya.  We have, in the dining out scene, some of the best restaurants in the world.  And that is no exaggeration.  We have, literally on our doorstep for example, a restaurant that has won the New York Wine Spectator Awards consecutively for the past eight years, and so good, that this restaurant has been awarded the Best of the Awards of Excellence.  Literally the best of the best!

That restaurant is the Royal Cliff Beach Resort’s Grill Room and Wine Cellar, and we visited to try their Gourmet Set of the Week, a rotating set menu which features four courses as well as coffee or tea and pralines to finish.

The Grill Room and Wine Cellar are in the main building of the resort and as we descended the stairway we were met by a most gracious hostess and were taken to our table.  Unseen hands pushed our chairs in, whilst a smiling waiter brought the wine list.  We sat back and just enjoyed the feeling of being pampered.

Sitting there, you take in the ambience of the teak wood everywhere.  Totally unobtrusive serving staff and everything happening without any fuss.  Is this the perfect retreat?  Is it the perfect restaurant?

A little more about the surroundings, if you have never been there.  The seating is in comfortable carver chairs at large tables in alcoves set around the walls.  There is also another area in the center, and again cleverly set into individual alcoves.  This restaurant would have to be the ultimate venue in which to get down on one knee and propose.  No woman could ever say no in such surroundings.

But back to dining – and wining.  The Wine Cellar attached to the Grill Room is arguably the best in Thailand.  Under the custodial eye of Ranjith Chandrasiri, the president of the Royal Cliff Wine Club and the Bailli of the local Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, some of the finest wines in the world are lovingly cellared there.  Bottles of Romanee Conti, collectors’ items at B. 300,000 are there to be ‘worshipped’ perhaps, but there are also the Royal Cliff’s own labels for just a little more than B. 1000, and then everything in between.  The wine list has offerings from 15 countries, but the maitre d’ who is a trained sommelier is on hand to advise.  Ranjith Chandrasiri takes your enjoyment of his wines very seriously.

The menu items are under the care of Walter Thenisch, the executive chef of the Royal Cliff and after an ‘amuse bouche’ of a French oyster, we began with a crabmeat salad on a dill-sour cream sauce, followed by a pumpkin cream soup with basil oil.  We enjoyed a bottle of the Royal Cliff’s own label with these and then had a breather before the main course, and ordered a bottle of Peter Papanikitas’ Australian Stonefish Cabernet Sauvignon (B. 1200).

The main course was an Australian veal roulade filled with herbs and pine nuts, with a Thyme flavored red wine sauce.  But Walter Thenisch had not finished his set menu there – the final course was a baked warm chocolate cake with vanilla bean ice cream and fresh cream.  Sheer indulgence!

But that was not the final indulgence – that was coffee with home-made chocolate pralines served on a wonderful platter.  It was one of those evenings you remember for years.

We had taken friends who had not dined in the Grill Room before, and they were thoroughly impressed with the venue, the food and the service.  Whilst dining in five star resorts can be expensive, the Grill Room’s weekly set menu is only B. 850, and at that is a bargain at the top end (but remember that being a resort the prices are + +).  We can fully recommend dining out in the Grill Room and Wine Cellar.  It is difficult to imagine anything better.

The Grill Room and Wine Cellar (from 6.30 p.m. but closed Tuesdays), Royal Cliff Beach Resort, 353 Pratamnak Road, Pattaya, telephone 038 250 421, email [email protected], website www.royalcliff.com.  Secure parking within the resort.