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Phuket Dining: “Up’ market beach dining

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PHUKET: What’s Up? Well, for one thing it’s a delightful new beach club at the southern end of Nai Thon beach.

There have been a number of beach clubs popping up around Phuket, some successful, others less so but this recently opened Up Beach Club seems to have the mix just right. For one thing they have kept the concept simple therefore not detracting from the natural beauty of the surroundings. The horseshoe-shaped beach is fringed with boulders at both ends and a steep backdrop of lush vegetation helps create the perfect secluded tropical getaway.

A long stairway leads down to the white powdery sand and 24 beach loungers are well spaced out as are several small white ‘cabana’ tents. The southern end of the beach is left untouched and is open to the public as is the club itself. Facing west it is a perfect location to watch the sun set into the sea.

As with most beach clubs there’s some background thump-music but this is kept at a reasonable decibel level and the three-phase mains electricity, means no background hum of a generator.

Managed by nearby Malaiwana, this oasis is overseen by Phuket F&B veteran Nitichai ‘Yuth’ Nenraksa who is obviously enjoying his new ‘office’.

“I love it here especially at this time of day. Every day from 4pm to sunset we offer very special prices on drinks and the music attracts people from the main beach over to us. Being under Malaiwana, the quality of what we offer is only the best” he says.

Given the vagaries of monsoon weather the Up Beach Club at Malaiwana is only open from November to May after which Mother Nature takes over and the beach returns to the sea.

On this balmy evening however the white sand scrunched underfoot as I took my place at one of the solid wooden tables covered with white linen. On the horizon a luxury yacht was moored and the well-heeled owners were frolicking along the beach. Paradise.

At lunch time they usually serve light snacks such as salads, sandwiches and pasta, with most guests attired in swim wear. But in the evening a healthy selection of fusion food is on offer and patrons, including residents and guests from nearby resorts, dress up a bit more.

Cooked on the spot using only the freshest ingredients the ‘surf and turf’ menu includes many Japanese-influenced dishes including Kobe beef and Yuth’s signature Tuna tataki (390 baht).

As it is still quite early – I am here for the sunset – I decide to go lightly and order a grilled sea bass (480 baht) and of course the Tuna tataki, made from fresh yellowfin tuna which is marinated in ginger, wasabi, onion, tomato and lime juice. Both are perfect and the sea bass comes with a Thai seafood sauce and garlic butter with fresh vegetables on the side. A chilled, Chilean Sauvignon blanc washes this down nicely. Wine by the bottle starts from 1,200 baht and beer at 120 (cheaper before sunset).

Then it happens, the most glorious sunset I have seen in ages, after which tastefully arranged LED lights set the atmosphere and a spotlight facing the sea is turned on. I did not wait around to see what the evening crowd get ‘up’ to but I imagine there’s a lot of getting down to the music. It is also a popular location for staff parties, weddings and other events.

No wonder then that Up Beach Club is so popular on the weekend. When the 24 sun loungers are all taken, beanbags are offered, as are beach toys and paddle boards. There is no lifeguard present but the 12 attentive staff keep an eye on things.There is even a toilet and rain shower available on site.

Things are definitely looking ‘up’ for Nai Thon beach goers.

Seats for dinner are limited to 12 for so reservations are important. Call O80-144-6635 or 076-510225 or Email: info@upbeachclub.com or visit: www.upbeachclub.com.

— Marc Mulloy

 

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