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Food lovers’ meeting place in Chalong

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PHUKET: Wine Lovers restaurant and wine shop presents a huge glass edifice to the bustling Fisherman Way Business Gardens situated next door to the recently opened Makro on the Rawai Road in Chalong.

Today’s Wine Lovers is well-known for the quality of its cuisine, broad selection of wines, reasonable pricing and the conviviality of both its indoor areas and its outdoor terrace overlooking the lawns and burbling fountain of the Business Gardens.

Wine Lovers was launched three years ago by Khun Gumrai Intarasuk, a veteran of the wine and food business who decided she could show the big chains a thing or two by opening her stand-alone wine retail outlet.

With its great location and value pricing, the wine shop was immediately successful and became a meeting place for wine lovers to hang out and share a glass. They suggested that Khun Gumrai add a restaurant to her wine shop, which she did by taking additional space next door in 2012 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Wine Lovers has become a favorite meeting and dining place in Phuket’s south, particularly because of the huge tail-backs that the notorious Chalong ‘Turning Circle’ can generate during the high season.

Savvy southerners know that Wine Lovers is a terrific place for lunches or dinners featuring both Thai and Western cuisine served in a friendly atmosphere, where they can choose and consume wines to accompany their meal without incurring any mark-up, or indeed service charge, on their purchases.

Last Saturday evening saw around fifty happy party-goers congregate at Wine Lovers to partake of their second anniversary reception and wine dinner and to welcome newly-appointed Chef Jo-Jo on board. Chef Jo-Jo is well known in Phuket having formerly worked at Le Meridien and owned his own Euro Delight Restaurant.

Additionally, Wine Lovers has just added a new sushi/sashimi bar into the restaurant headed up by Chef Samrit where extremely fresh and tasty Nigiri, Sashimi and Maki of salmon, tuna, eel, crab and squid vie for your attention and digestive juices.

Following an extended and very convivial “Bubbles-Fest” of a welcoming reception the gathering sat down to a six course gastronomic event with complementary wines supplied by Phuket Food and Beverage Group.

Highlights of the menu included marinated yellow fin tuna with cured buffalo milk, Shimaji mushrooms and Arugura sprouts and a main event of slow-stewed beef cheek and lamb shank in an aromatic herb crust accompanied by sweet potato, organic garden veggies in a truffle and balsmico reduction.

Perfect wine pairing kept the assembled diners lingering long over this dish while the happy conversation swirled and time slipped away unnoticed.

Bitter chocolate gateau and summer (sic) mixed berries with passion fruit juice accompanied by Chicco D’oro coffee was a further inducement to make a late evening of it, which the assembled multitude gratefully accepted, waiting footmen and carriages being left to twiddle their thumbs and collect cobwebs in the gathering night.

While Wine Lovers long ago established its bona fides for excellent cuisine and wines, it’s probably the uncanny ability to generate good times and happy smiles that keeps its many regulars coming back….and we’ll certainly drink to that!

— Baz Daniel

 

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