I have always admired the English language. Such subtle nuances that can provide such disparate meanings. “Flare”, a noun covering many items, with the most well known being a bright shining emergency signaling device; whilst “flair” is more of a distinctive elegance or style.
With the new Hilton Pattaya having a beach/sea theme running everywhere through the property, in which they have made clever use of patterns in the carpets giving the appearance of gentle waves, and intelligent use of water areas around some of the bars heightening the ocean ambience. Large settees (called ‘plounges’) are set in the middle of these ‘pools’, with stepping stones leading to them, so perhaps the idea of a flare at sea is not too far-fetched. However, I hardly think one would be in distress in any of the Hilton Pattaya’s outlets. But, “flair” is certainly something that the Hilton’s seafood and beef Flare restaurant has in abundance.
The ambience is one of being underwater, with subdued lighting and translucent drapes around the tables giving a sense of privacy, yet the tables themselves are well illuminated.
The staff, under the diminutive maitre d’ Sunny, all have the ‘flair’ ingredient as well. Attentive, but not overpowering or intrusive. By the time you have been ushered to your seat, you are already shedding the cares of your daytime existence.
After that possibly overly long introduction, back to the review. We were greeted with hot towels, and introduced to natty little bag hooks which clip on to the table top. The ideal answer to Madame’s “where do I put my bag” problem.
We were then presented with the wine lists (yes there are two of them). One has the many wines that can be had by the glass, while the other is more for wines that come by the bottle. Most wine producing countries are represented from both the old and new worlds, including Thailand and Canada. Sunny turned out to be an excellent sommelier and after ascertaining our choices in the food menu, recommended we start with the French rose Les Jamelles Cinsault per glass B. 400. Not too sweet and a perfect companion for our starters and the Caesar salad. During the mains, we switched to the Sandalford Element Australian shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, again a great choice and at B. 400 per glass not expensive.
The food menu is not large, but is still comprehensive enough to allow for plenty of choices. The creative kitchen is under the watchful eye of executive chef Supoj Suwanwong, who heads a top culinary team, working alongside Food and Beverage Manager Simon Bender. Chef Supoj is widely recognized as one of Thailand’s finest up-and-coming chefs. He was the creative force behind the renowned Thai Dining Theatre Venue, Maya, in Bangkok. The celebrated chef uses original and authentic dishes as a base and then adds contemporary techniques and flair, an approach that is sure to please Hilton Pattaya’s sophisticated, international clientele.
As an appetizer we tried the seared Japanese sea scallop on calamari noodles and a Portobello truffle crustacean bisque (B. 450). Very large warm scallops on the slightly sweet noodles. Very much a stimulus for the palate.
One dish that we shared and enjoyed was the romaine and roasted corn salad (B. 350) with a Caesar dressing and topped with two very plump prawns, so large they were in training to be lobsters.
For mains, Madame selected the grilled snowfish (B. 500) and this was cooked to perfection and a very generous portion as well. I had gone for the aged tenderloin, which is offered in different weights, but I chose the smaller at 150 gm (B. 600) and added a Pommery mustard sauce with sides of gratinee potatoes and sautéed mixed mushrooms.
Our waitress prompted us to try the chocolate dessert, absolutely wonderful and a dieter’s disaster!
If you are looking for somewhere different, up-market and sophisticated, you need look no further than the new Hilton Pattaya. Indulge yourself over Xmas!
Flare Restaurant, 15th floor Hilton Pattaya, above the Central Festival Center, Beach Road. Open seven days for dinner 6.30 p.m. until 11.30 p.m. Valet parking from the Welcome Lobby ground floor. Booking recommended 038 825 3000.