Some of the more forward thinking restaurants have realized that during this low season (the high season was last Tuesday if you missed it) it is necessary to offer their patrons a bit more than a meat and two veg, no matter how artfully it looks on the plate. For Linda Eiksund, MD of her eponymous restaurant, she has turned to music and put together an all-ladies group to entertain her guests on Fridays and Saturdays.
Her group is made up of some of Pattaya’s well known songstresses with Ruby (ex Royal Cliff), and Mary Sanvictores (ex Tony’s). They play from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and are real entertainers, strolling through amongst the guests and encouraging anyone who would like to join in the songs. The ladies also realize that although they are there as entertainers, the volume is subdued so that guests can easily carry on conversations.
For anyone who does not know the location, Linda’s restaurant is very easy to find, being on the left hand side of Thappraya Road heading towards the “Hanuman” statue and opposite Jomtien Complex. (BTW, the statue is actually not Hanuman, but of Machanu, the son of Hanuman! Hanuman did not have a fish tail – go and check.)
Linda’s Restaurant has been open since Christmas Eve 2005 and is large with seating for 200 people, with a covered al fresco verandah outside for those who wish to smoke. Inside, in air-conditioned comfort, there are comfortable chairs and decent sized tables, with white starched napery. Along the back wall is the cocktail bar, and you are looked after by very attentive service staff in maroon uniforms.
The menu covers both European and Thai food, with a leaning towards Northern European as Linda spent many years in Norway and fully understands the Norwegian taste buds. The Chef’s Specialties are classic Norwegian dinners such as Bacalao, home-made fishcakes, fish balls, lamb in cabbage … and every Christmas time, they have Norwegian Christmas Dinners such as lutefisk, salted lamb and roasted pork. They also serve Aquavit all year round!
We were met by Linda herself and our review was to sample a few of the traditional Xmas dishes that Linda was offering this year. These were Pinnekjett, Lutefisk and Juletallerken and are presented as Xmas set meals. Linda also pointed out that the main ingredients of these Xmas dishes are all imported from Norway.
We ordered two glasses of house white and they were generous glasses at B. 245 per glass. Bottles are available, with most under B. 1,500, but the house wine was eminently quaffable.
The menu is large and covers northern European items, Scandinavian dishes and several pages covering Thai cuisine, and we noted on our evening that there were many Thai families enjoying dinner as well as Norwegians!
We began with the Lutefisk, a cod fillet with green pea. A beautiful soft cod fillet flying a Norwegian flag but we were never likely to forget! This came with a glass of Aquavit. This is a rather strong Scandinavian drink is spelled as Akvavit or Aquavit (and also Akevitt in Norwegian) is a flavored spirit that is principally produced in Scandinavia, where it has been produced since the 15th century. It gets its distinctive flavor from spices and herbs, and the main spice should (according to the European Union) be caraway or dill. It typically contains 40 percent alcohol by volume. You have been warned!
The next dish was the roast pork Juletallerken which came with potatoes, sausage, pork belly, sauerkraut and berries which I think were juniper. This was a very filling dish and my favorite of the night.
The third was a meat based dish with lamb ribs which fell off the bones and was very much appreciated by Madame, who then went off and had a Crème Brule desert as well. I was too full and had coffee to wash away the Aquavit!
Linda’s Restaurant will be a great venue for a Xmas feast, and you don’t have to be Norwegian to enjoy it.
Linda’s Restaurant, 315/177-180 Moo 12, opposite the Jomtien Complex. Thappraya Road, Jomtien. Open seven days from 7.30 a.m. until late. Tel: Reservations: 038 252 726, www.lindasrestaurant.com, street-side parking. Email [email protected] . GPS 12.901655 N 100.869.