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On the menu: Phuket’s Le Versace takes it to the next level

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PHUKET: It is hot in Phuket at the moment, hot and dry, and the only relief comes when that scorching orb sinks below the horizon allowing for a slight drop in temperature.

If you are fortunate, you may be able to enjoy that moment from a good vantage point. If you are very fortunate you will be watching the sunset from Le Versace, high above Patong, with a cool drink in your hand and some soft chilled music in your ears.

When I last visited Le Versace in November, I came away feeling that I had tasted some of the best French food available on the island. Five months on, when asked if I would like to visit the new open- air rooftop lounge I did not hesitate an instant.

Pampered patrons no longer have to retire to the opulent dining room downstairs to enjoy a meal, but now can stay put on the “Balcony of Patong” and enjoy a new menu that caters to a less formal dining experience.

But make no mistake about it, ‘Versace’ is a name synonymous with quality and style and this new menu includes the same ingredients and savoir faire that Swiss-born GM and executive chef, Georges Dufresne has put into the main menu.

For example, George’s signature ‘Le St-George: Beef with Café de Paris sauce’ can now be ordered as a sandwich for only 480 baht (about half the price of the full dish served downstairs).

For those who prefer something hot there are fresh tagliatelle dishes served with pesto or seafood or two types of salmon. These menu items come in two sizes and prices, depending on appetite and budget, ranging from 450 for the small seafood plate, to 1,100 baht for a large plate of tagliatelle with morille mushrooms and a crunchy topping.

Salad lovers can also get their fill of themed salads for 450 baht, while those who just want a nibble can choose from a variety of French-style tapas at a mere 150-180 baht. There’s garlic bread; tomato bruschetta; foie gras on toast; beef or fish tartare and much more to choose from.

Having watched the spectacular sunset, I’m feeling hungry and, having been stood up by a colleague of mine, a little lonely, so I opt to go downstairs to the opulent dining room decorated with lavishly ornate, genuine Versace-designed furnishings.

The last time I was here I was treated like a VIP and this time is no different.Georges Dufresne has ensured that tonight’s menu will be as special as my last visit and it starts with a duo of snow fish and salmon carpaccio so fresh it seems to quiver. Things warm up with duck liver ravioli with a white butter sauce (550 baht) followed by the chef’s signature wild prawn on a bed of leek (650 baht); both exquisite.

The main course tonight is French-style lamb with Potato Dauphinois (990 baht) served, as with the previous items, on beautiful Versace dishes. The fireworks are going off both on my palette and actually above the Patong skyline. Again, we have the best viewing area for this.

I look across to a table where another solo diner meets my look and nods with approval.

“Where are you from in France?” I ask him, having heard him order in French.

“Bordeaux, I fly back tonight,” he replies. He then proceeds to tell me that he’s not looking forward to it, the weather there is unseasonably cold, many people are miserable and fed up with the recession and, he confides with a nod to his plate, even the French cuisine is better here in Phuket.

As the delicious dessert of Panna Cotta cream with vanilla bourbon and strawberry coulis, topped with fresh tropical fruit arrives (290 baht) I smugly think to myself that he’s right. In Phuket we have all this and that sunset too.

Le Versace is situated at 206/5-6 Prabaramee Road. There is limited parking in front and valet parking is available. Reservations are recommended at 076 290 492 or 082 448 4887. Visit: leversace.com for more information.

— Marc Mulloy

 

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