I believe many residents of Pattaya think that the Royal Cliff is for tourists. It isn’t. It is for all of us, and what a choice is awaiting the local diners! There are 11 restaurants to start with, covering international cuisines, European favorites, Indian curries, Japanese food, Thai specialties, Chinese feasts, Italian cuisine, Mediterranean fare, alfresco dining, a wine cellar voted as one of the best in the world, plus another six bars. Undoubtedly something for everyone.
Our review this week was of the Larn Thong – Authentic Thai Traditions, the Thai cuisine restaurant in the Royal Cliff Grand, and mention must be made of the ambience in the Royal Cliff property itself. You are made welcome, right from the car park security detail who even shine a torch on the door lock, to make it easier, right the way through the foyer where you are greeted by people who look genuinely pleased to see you, and then, for us, down the staircase and into Larn Thong.
When you wish to dine in style, for me it is important that the tables are large and there is space between the tables. Larn Thong did not disappoint, and it is possible to have relaxed personal conversation without intrusion from other guests.
The chairs are also large and comfortable, the napery of high quality, and the attention from the service personnel exemplary. Quite honestly, it would be difficult to find fault.
The choice of dishes we left to the chef to recommend (after all, he knows his food better than we do) and three of the signature dishes were chosen – a spicy pomelo salad with shrimps, a spicy mixed seafood soup, a “Thai style” fried noodles, and as a dessert crunchy tapioca balls in coconut syrup served with crushed ice.
For a wine to accompany the Thai cuisine, I chose a 6ème Sens Blanc DOC, 2012 from Gérard Bertrand, which I remembered from the French wine dinner last February. It suited the Thai food perfectly, and I can definitely recommend this wine. However, with over 1,000 labels to choose from, you will certainly find something to your taste.
After settling down (and a Ricard for me as an aperitif) we were presented with our first dish of the evening, the spicy pomelo salad with shrimps which came in a half melon and was brilliantly presented. However, I must admit I approached this with caution thinking it might be an Isaan-style som tum, but it was not – it was slightly sweet and definitely ‘more-ish’. The shrimps (prawns) were plump and juicy without shell and this was a great start to the evening.
The second course of the evening was the spicy mixed seafood soup, which I thought would be a searing tom yum, and again I was wrong. This was a very filling soup with just enough chilli to be interesting, but not so much as to mask the taste of the seafood items themselves.
Our third dish, and we were getting quite replete by this stage, was the Thai style fried noodles, with both river prawn and sea prawn and flavored with tamarind sauce. Another flavorsome offering.
Finally we addressed the dessert, a typical Thai style dessert with coconut milk, sweet jujube, sugar and syrup. A little too sweet for me, but fine for Madame.
Summing up, to say that we were impressed is putting it mildly. A Dining Out experience which was honestly quite faultless. The flavors of the food were not overpowered by searing chilli, as so often occurring in other “Thai” restaurants. The Larn Thong chef got it just right.
The kitchen is so sure of its product, we were even given the recipes, and it was a revelation that there were 12 ingredients in the seafood soup, for example. Madame, who is Thai, was also very impressed with our dining out experience.
Highest recommendation possible.
Please note that on a Saturday night is their Grand BBQ buffet which offers BBQ meats, seafood, live pasta station as well as a variety of international dishes.
Royal Cliff Grand Hotel, 353 Pratamnak Road, telephone 038 250 421, website www.royalcliff.com, plenty of secure parking in the hotel grounds, open daily 7 a.m. until 10.30 p.m.