Montien’s La Mer buffet

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When I say that the Montien Hotel is a Pattaya icon, I mean it.  I first stayed at the hotel in 1975 when it was called the Regent of Pattaya, later re-branded as the Montien.  It has maintained that welcoming “Thai” atmosphere all that time.  It is an icon.

Unfortunately, an era is about to pass, as the Montien is not re-branding – it is relocating to Naklua in 2013, so we only have a couple of years of the grand old Montien in North Pattaya.

We went along to review the La Mer restaurant, which had just re-opened after the low season refurbishment.  The ambience of this outlet is quietly welcoming, with thick carpets, solid comfortable chairs and good-sized tables.  There is a musical duo in the background, singing tunes from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.  All very pleasant and not intrusive.

As we walked further into the restaurant, the next item to catch our attention was the central raised dais with an absolutely spectacular and huge flower arrangement under the canopy.  I have not seen better.  Absolutely sensational.

Around the central dais are the various food items on offer, and I do recommend you take your time to take them all in.  There are so many different cold hams, for example, you could fill yourself up on cold cuts alone.

You will also notice that the hot items under the polished cloche covers are kept in small quantities.  This is deliberate, so that food is not just sitting there drying out, and as soon as any dish is close to being finished, the chefs bring out another freshly cooked plateful.  This makes the buffet almost an a la carte presentation.

In addition to the items grouped around the central dais, there are four completely a la carte live cooking stations, with a seafood BBQ, a Caesar salad, pasta and a grill station.

The range of items on offer is simply amazing.  On the Antipasto table there are 18 different offerings including six different hams, salami and prosciutto alone.

The La Mer grill station offers lamb chops and Moroccan yogurt kebabs, beef steaks and French mixed pepper kebabs, pork tenderloin and chorizo kebabs, chicken breast and shawarma kebabs and more.

The seafood grill station had prawns, mussels, blue crab and fish all served with saffron broth and a country slice garlic bread.  I can guarantee you will be amazed at the range and choices.

I began with an antipasto selection, and sampled several of the hams and salamis and accompanied them with a wonderful salad with grilled vegetables with a red pepper vinaigrette.  It was an excellent start to the evening.

My next trip was to sample the soup (and there were two types).  My sopa seca was hot and delicious, and I gave it a hefty serving of Parmesan on top, which melted into wonderful cheese strings.  Loved it.

But I didn’t end there, as I took some grilled beef steak on gorgonzola Vidalia onion while Madame went for the grilled lamb with oregano pesto from under the cloches, both hot and flavorsome.  Madame added the Caesar salad, prepared in front of you as well.

With just a little room left, I ordered two large prawns from the seafood BBQ, but then had to stop for a while, and sipped the Montien’s house wine.  Eminently drinkable.

Greed then took over and I brought one of the desserts back to the table and gorged myself (as one does at top buffets) on blueberry millefeuille.  Madame was also still going and feasting on tiramisu cake.

We thoroughly enjoyed the La Mer buffet, and at B. 850 net (children B. 550) makes their Wednesday buffet probably the best value out of the better quality buffets in Pattaya.  The choices are comprehensive, and there would be nobody who cannot find favorite food items on offer.  The La Mer buffet has always been good, but this year it is exceptional.  Highly recommended.

La Mer, Montien Hotel, Pattaya 2 Road, 50 meters up from the Central Road (Pattaya Klang) intersection, North Pattaya, telephone 038 428 155, email [email protected] com.  Open seven days, 6.30 p.m. until 10 p.m.  Secure parking within the hotel grounds.