Centara Pattaya, a Centara secret

Never trust a skinny chef - the well proportioned Chef Tung.
Never trust a skinny chef – the well proportioned Chef Tung.

The nice people in the Centara Group invited us to try some of the other hotels under their umbrella, so in the best tradition of investigative journalism we said yes.

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This one, Centara Pattaya, is on Soi 4 to your right, running off Second Road, where the Bangkok Bank is on the corner. Drive up 50 meters and you are there with the Centara Pattaya on your left. I have to admit I have driven up the soi many times, and have never seen the hotel. This is because the central pool is behind a high wall to maintain privacy. However, park on the forecourt and walk 10 meters towards Second Road and the big glass doors lead you straight into the hotel, and the restaurant is on your right.

A colorful Tiger prawn salad.
A colorful Tiger prawn salad.

One side looks towards the pool, while down the far end is the kitchen, under the control of a rotund chef Saichon (Tung) Robkob, a good example of the old adage never trust a skinny chef. You can trust Chef Tung!

We went to do the review on a Tuesday, just an ordinary day in the life of their restaurant, which is called the Mix Bistro, same as some of the other Centara hotels. We met Jonas, the Swedish GM, who was so enthusiastic, the enthusiasm rubs off and we were half way towards enjoying the evening without even looking at the menu.

Jonas is happy that his property is four star, so the wine list does not have many choices (three reds and three whites) but the bottle price is only B. 790 to 860. Just get the very willing staff to open the bottle and wait fifteen minutes before drinking. We chose the French Pays DOC 2013, but all are eminently drinkable with wines from Chile and South Africa as well as France.

I began with one of their signature dishes, a bruschetta (B. 120). This was different from the usual bruschetta which always drops the diced tomato in your lap. This one was built on a freshly toasted baguette with a dish of tomato salsa which featured garlic and avocado in the salsa. A great starter. Other starters were mainly between B. 210-250.

A rather large Crunchy Chicken burger.

I followed that with a Black Tiger Prawn salad (B. 250) which had diced mango, coriander and tomatoes. This was a very refreshing and colorful dish, which I enjoyed very much.

Meanwhile, one of our group had gone for the Australian beef pepper steak. This was one of the most expensive dishes, but was only B. 490. This was imported steak as well. It also came to the table cooked to order.

A long bruschetta.
A long bruschetta.

One of the others in the Dining Out team ordered the schnitzel and at B. 270, would be difficult to beat. It was good eating, and not dried out as schnitzels often are.

Other mains included were pork medallions at B. 300.

The following course for me was called Crunchy Chicken, but was a fully loaded hamburger (or I should say chicken burger), with shredded iceberg lettuce, spicy tomato salsa and sour cream. This was very filling as well as being very tasty.

The food on offer represents excellent value and it was good to see that the presentation had not been forgotten either. It would be worthwhile going one afternoon with children – free use of the swimming pool and then move into the restaurant. I was rather taken by the advertisement for Thai Cooking Classes with three dishes at the conclusion of the lessons. The classes take the novice Thai cooks to the market to get ingredients for classics such as Tom Yum Goong and Massaman. At B. 1490 this is a bargain. Get a few friends together and have a very enjoyable time in the kitchen. Booking needed.

Imported pepper steak.
Imported pepper steak.

This hotel is worth your custom. Good presentation and not overpriced.

Centara Pattaya Hotel, 78/140 Moo 9, Sai Song, Soi 4 (at the BKK Bank), tel. 038 295 999, open from breakfast and then 10.30 a.m. to 11 p.m., website: centarahotelsresorts.com, secure parking outside on forecourt or in the underground car park.