The Mercure Hotel in Pattaya has been established for around 10 years, but being tucked away in Soi 15 off Pattaya Second Road, many diners do not even realize this Accor hotel is there.
However, with all the surrounding building finished with the new condominiums like City Garden on Soi 15, the Mercure precinct is much busier than it used to be. And with the access to the Mercure and Soi 15 through The Avenue, it means the Mercure is actually very central.
We were met by the GM Alex Chakrabarti, one of those wonderfully cosmopolitan chaps blessed with endless enthusiasm. We had arrived to experience the 300 baht “all-you-can-eat” Saturday BBQ around the pool (6.30 p.m. to 10 p.m.) – and so had many others! It was fortunate that Alex had reserved a table for us, as it was a very busy poolside.
Alex, also being the perfect host, suggested we relax with a wine first, before touring the items available in the BBQ. The wine list is not extensive, but comprehensive enough to find something enjoyable. Most wines fall into the B. 750-2000 bracket and with Accor being French, French wines predominate and we chose the Cotes du Rhone, Maison Chapoutier 2009, which at B. 1490 is good value. A limited selection of wines are also available by the glass. By the way, all prices are net.
The atmosphere around the pool is very much ‘resort’, and we felt as if we too were on holidays, just being there, and pampered by the attentive staff. The tables have yellow covers and the seats are comfortable. The cutlery is heavy polished stainless steel and the glasses good quality. The Saturday BBQ may only be B. 300, but you do not feel that you are ‘bargain basement’.
With ‘all-you-can-eat’ dining, I always recommend that you take your time and walk around and see just what is there, before plunging in and finding something you adore later, when you have no room left.
One item that this BBQ has is a little Mongolian BBQ corner, where you select your meat and vegetables and this is wok-cooked on the spot for you, complete with the necessary theater of noise and flames. I do believe BBQ’s should always be fun as well as food.
The BBQ grill is kept busy with pork, chicken, beef and ribs and there is also a carvery with enormous sides of beef waiting for you.
The cheese board has a selection of five cheeses, including a very nice blue, which I teamed up with a slice of pineapple and some of the crusty French bread from their own bakery. Lovely!
One of the items being held in hot pots was a very pleasant lobster bisque, and again some of the wonderful French bread went well here. There was also a crab dish for those who enjoy fighting crabs (too much work for too little return in my book), but Madame said it was very tasty.
One item which differentiates the Mercure Saturday BBQ from all the other BBQ’s in Pattaya is a magic show, put on by staff member K. Moo. He begins on a dais at one end of the pool and then walks around the diners with table magic to amuse and mystify. I will admit that I have been a sucker for magic tricks all my life, and the Mercure’s magician just topped the night for me.
After numerous trips to experience as much as we could of the BBQ, we finally had to come to a halt. You beat us, Alex Chakrabarti!
Did we enjoy the Saturday BBQ experience? We certainly did (both the eating and the entertainment), and at the price, this is one of Pattaya’s bargains. Definitely worth the trip into town on the Saturday night, but I do suggest you book. If you are unsure of Soi 15, then park in The Avenue and walk the 50 meters to the Mercure.
Mercure Hotel, Soi 15 Pattaya Second Road, telephone 038 425 050, fax 038 425 080, email [email protected] Secure parking in hotel car park. Saturday BBQ 6.30 p.m. until 10 p.m.