An elegant way to celebrate Songkran

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I will come clean, right at the beginning – Songkran is not my favorite time of the year.  Getting wet for a week as “fun” soon begins to pall.  However, this year Songkran was not all dirty ice water and white paste – there was also an invitation to lunch from Vanjie Lauzon the effervescent Assistant Director of Communications of the Dusit Thani Pattaya.  The Dining Out team readily accepted!

The Dusit Thani in Pattaya is one of the best hotels, and is also very well established.  In the middle of so many new hotels springing up, the Dusit Thani Pattaya does not need glitz and glamor, instead it is a most welcome oasis, and one inviting you to relax.

The Dusit Thani Pattaya has many restaurant outlets, and the Cascade restaurant is easily found, being off the main lobby on the right hand side.  Comfortable chairs, unobtrusive staff and a warm ambience.  What more do you need at lunchtime, and it was lunch buffet we had come to review.

The new executive chef at the Dusit Thani Pattaya is Alistair Carter, a chef who has extensively toured the world with his toque at the ready, coming to Pattaya in January of this year, having left Egypt as his last posting.  Talking with Alistair, one word kept being repeated, and that was “authentic”.  He does insist that all dishes be prepared and cooked in the authentic manner, and especially those for this month’s Thai food lunch buffet.

Alistair has planned to have a different lunch promotion each month, with this one being Thai, and May being products using beef and lamb.  Since this is Thai New Year, it made lots of sense to theme this month as Thai, and the Cascade restaurant the ideal venue.

Like all buffets, I do recommend that you tour the buffet tables first, before heaping your plate, to find out later that you missed one of your favorite dishes.  This month is predominately Thai, but there are enough western dishes as well.  Some of the items on offer include (Thai) spicy pomelo salad and charcoal grilled squid with spicy sauce.  Moving on, there was grilled pork with lime and chili sauce and sweet crispy vermicelli, deep fried sai au and condiment, spicy young chili dip with vegetable.

There was plenty more with the very popular green papaya spicy salad and spicy shrimp dip and fried fish.

Thai food must have noodles and there is a live cooking noodle station preparing noodle soup, fried Thai rice noodle with shrimps.

Soups include Thai soup; spicy and sour seafood soup and a Western mushroom soup.

And there’s much more with hot dishes including spicy and sour curry with fish and vegetable, deep-fried chicken legs, steamed seafood in banana leaf cup, stir-fried Chinese lettuce with crab roe, baked rice in pineapple, and steamed jasmine rice.

The Khao Chae Station has such authentic items as steamed rice soaked in ice cold floral-scented water served with traditional garnish items, and the Thai dessert station; Khao Neaw Mamuang (sweet mango with sticky rice and coconut), assorted Thai desserts, sliced fruits and two western desserts.

We sampled many of the dishes, but could not possibly try everything, but those we did try were, as Chef Alistair claimed, very authentic.  Remember too, that this lunch buffet is an ‘all-you-can-eat’ offer and at B. 399 ++ does represent good value.  I believe that this would be an excellent way to introduce Thai cuisine to your overseas guests.

I had just sat back to savor the lunch, when Vanjie and Alistair exposed my weakness – chocolate!  On Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons (from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.) the Dusit Thani Pattaya has a chocolate afternoon tea, with all forms of chocolate items on offer.  This is B. 255 ++, and despite labeling myself as a pig, I indulged.  And I am sure you would too, when confronted with such delicacies.  That’s my excuse and I am sticking to it!

Dusit Thani Pattaya, Cascade restaurant 240/2 Pattaya Beach Road, telephone 038-425-611-7 Ext. 2476 and 2153, Fax 038 428 239, secure (dry) parking within the Resort grounds.  The Cascade Restaurant buffet runs from 12 noon to 2.30 p.m.