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Dining among the gods at Le Versace

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PHUKET: The journey to Le Versace began with an exciting climb up an impressive hill. It felt like we were ascending to a restaurant for the gods. Our anticipation of what was to come heightened with the trek.

On arrival, we were ushered to the balcony, where we were treated to a spectacular view of Patong Beach – a much more peaceful-looking place from our perch.

The decor as you walk out onto the balcony is both bizarre and fascinating. A mish-mash of unrelated statues and objects surrounds you – for instance, a winged, golden lion sits happily next to a giant Buddha head image and a white grand piano – making this a unique and quirky experience.

My favorite feature of the balcony was its well-stocked bar – always a welcoming sight as one enters a restaurant.

The wine list was not overly extensive, but this appeared to have been a conscious decision to ensure that every meal had the perfect accompaniment.

The various geographic wine options were well covered with some choice labels, and there was a selection of regional wines as well as an inviting cocktail list.

Once we settled in, Georges Dufresne, the general manager, emerged to take our order. He was at pains to point out how well trained and helpful the staff is.

Indeed, he himself had an engaging answer for every question we had regarding the food, which lent an element of continental theatricality to the evening.

The French cuisine was exquisite. First came a delightful amuse-bouche comprising an adorable shot glass of delicious vegetable soup. This was accompanied by a mini ciabatta and an enchanting truffle paste.

For a starter, I had the ravioli of duck foie gras with white butter sauce. It was exceptional, and encompassed the very essence of fine dining.

The main was a lamb dish. This was not your average “meat and two veg”, this was a delectable 12-hour slow-cooked lamb rack that literally fell off the bone; paired with gratin potatoes in a truffle oil, with a petite bijoux side of spring vegetables. Perfection.

Finally, for dessert was a crème caramel. It was rich and crisp on the outside, yet soft and sweet on the inside; a real work of art.

The food presentation, though extravagant at times, was certainly not a compensation for taste.

Very much appreciated was the option to choose each dish as either a starter or a main, which made the restaurant’s nouveau style that much more enjoyable.

From the vertiginous ascent and stunning views, to the hospitality of the staff – and of course, the exquisite menu – dining at Le Versace truly feels like you’re dining among the gods.

— Libby Daniel

 

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