Churrasco is probably not a cuisine that comes readily to mind, but comes from a South American dish of steak skewered and barbecued over a wood or charcoal fire. The origin of the name itself is South American Spanish from Spanish dialect churrascar ‘to burn’.
The Tavern by the Sea is at the opposite end of Beach Road from Walking Street, and from there is about 50 meters along after turning into Beach Road having come from the Dolphin Roundabout, passing the Amari main entrance and the Mantra restaurant. On your left, you cannot miss it.
Tavern by the Sea.
The Tavern by the Sea has now introduced Churrasco dining on a Saturday night and we went for the South American experience. The Tavern has three sections, outside in the garden, inside with air-conditioning and a huge horseshoe bar and large screen television sets and finally an upstairs mezzanine which was once never used, but now with its own bar as well, is a very pleasant area overlooking Pattaya Bay.
However, the Churrasco activity is at the front with the BBQ skewers, and along the other sides of the area are more buffet items, including a wonderful Louisiana clam chowder (and more on that later).
The seating in the front with the BBQ has standard table and chairs plus some very large loungers and low tables. The choice is yours. There is also the raised area at the top of the steps which has tables and chairs and we chose to sit there, high enough to catch the sea breezes and allow a view over the garden.
The Churrasco experience runs from 6.30 p.m. until 10 p.m. and is only a staggering B. 690 net. I write “staggering” because this is a very special BBQ and is an ‘all-you-can-eat’ deal. As well as ‘all-you-can-eat’, the Tavern by the Sea has an ‘all-you-can-drink’ deal as well – a free-flow beer buffet with San Miguel draft.
While I remember, there is also live music from a young duo who entertained with items from the 60s and 70s.
Madame began with BBQ prawns (large ones that were once hoping to become lobsters), garlic bread and salad from the salad bar. I began more cautiously and went for the Louisiana clam chowder which was kept steaming hot and was just delightful. So delightful that I went up again later in the evening for another plateful. Good one Chef Kai-Uve!
After our first course with a house white wine for Madame and the first of my free-flow San Migs we then approached the buffets again. Madame sticking with the prawns she enjoyed so much, plus a little lamb that was brought to the table, whilst I went and explored the chafing dishes with roast items. These included roasted pineapple slices, red and green capsicum, roast potatoes, Japanese mushrooms and egg plant. I could have happily eaten those all night too!
From then on it was until we could eat no more (though I did manage an ice cream with raisins, almonds and chocolate sauce)!
Churrasco is a fun experience, and regular readers of this column will know I am a great proponent of the fact that food should be fun as well as filling. The waiters come round regularly with skewers laden with the BBQ items and the buffet around the garden has some very well thought out items. (And don’t start me on the Louisiana clam chowder again!) We were very impressed, and when looked at with the price of only B. 690 net this is a real dining out bargain. Regular beer drinkers will also indulge in far more than B. 250 of the amber fluid!
We really made the evening one of indulgence in the ‘grand manner’ and treated ourselves to a 90 minute massage in the Breeze Spa on the fourth floor of the Amari Tower. What a wonderful way to unwind!
Tavern by the Sea, Amari Orchid, Pattaya Beach Road, open seven days 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., secure car parking within the Amari grounds between the Tavern by the Sea and the Mantra restaurant, telephone 038 418-418, web www.amari.com.