How can a 25 room hotel on the beach remain out of sight for four years? And how can its restaurant also remain hidden for the past five months? The Dining Out team went to investigate.
Begin the quest at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, an icon for the yachting fraternity and on the beach where Pratamnak comes down to the sea. It turns out that the Royal Varuna owns more than just the developed area in front of the Varuna clubhouse. It owns a tract of jungle land stretching round the base of Pratamnak hill, and had made that area available to the owners of the Monttra hotel group which built the hidden hotel in the jungle. Even the entrance to the hotel property is difficult to find. It is a short track running from the Varuna car park and wending around the tropical trees.
Having parked, it is another short walk to their Kiin restaurant (alternative spelling for Giin) which overlooks the Gulf of Siam. Amongst the trees was a large sign proclaiming “LOVE” which just might refer to the hotel, but we were there to review the restaurant not the rooms. (Our waiter did mention that the rooms were THB 8,000 which suggests a high class of B&B.)
The restaurant uses angular minimalist décor, with wooden chairs plus glass walls on three sides and the kitchen at the rear housing five Thai chefs.
The menu is photographic and is almost 100 percent Thai, so is very appropriate and whilst there are some “western” dishes, they are hidden at the back of the menu. Chili indicators show the degree of spiciness.
We were supplied with a differing selection of all very traditional Bangkok Thai dishes starting with a crispy rice cracker with a tamarind chicken and shrimp peanut sauce. This was a very tasty appetizer and I did take several of the rice crackers.
The next dish was a salad with broiled shrimp with Thai herb sauce and deep-fried mixed mushrooms (shimeji, straw and black). This had a little more chili that I was used to, but for the seasoned Thai this was a very popular dish.
The next item was a deep-fried sea bass topped with crispy ginger, once again a heavy hand on the spices.
A soup was up next and it was an interesting variant on a well-known Tom Kha, but clams and not chicken, and with all the other ingredients being lemongrass, galangal and mushrooms in the coconut base. This was very pleasant.
We finished the evening with an assortment of Thai desserts, including an interesting Som Choon with lychee, pomegranate seed, green mango in syrup and topped with fried shallots.
Kiin is a Thai restaurant with traditional Bangkok cuisine. The dishes themselves were expertly prepared and presented. Kiin would be a good place to take visitors to introduce them to excellent Thai food and watch the sun go down over the horizon, and there are extra tables and chairs for those who want the fresh air.
Kiin at Monttra Pattaya, 398 Moo 12 Rajchawaroon Road, Nongprue, Banglamung, Phone: 038 306 333. For more information, simply call +66 (0) 38 306 333 l +66 (0) 92 2806 333, secure parking, hours 11 a.m. to 10.30 p.m.