PHUKET FINE DINING: Beat the rush to Brush

PHUKET: Kalim Bay has developed into Phuket’s fine dining epicenter, where the island’s trendiest restaurants stretch from Baan Rim Pa to IndoChine, and include the White Box, Acqua and Lim’s – and now the stylish new five-star bistro Brush Restaurant & Lounge.

Brush is the creation of Australian sculptor John Underwood, whose studio also created the award-winning interiors at Phuket’s Indigo Pearl Resort.

He has transformed what was the Chinese-themed Hung Fat’s restaurant into an elegant and chic bistro that offers international tapas and cocktails that may quickly become the most exciting on Phuket’s diverse culinary scene.

Creating the cuisine is Martin Bower – a British celebrity chef who travels the world presenting contemporary pieces of food as art.

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Martin graduated from Stratford College’s culinary program in London and has been directing kitchen operations at various hotels and resorts in the United Kingdom and Australia.

“I want to travel and learn about world cuisine. Using my basic talents with Mediterranean flavors, I’m excited about presenting a menu which adds the tastes of the Orient,” says Martin.

The menu at Brush has a strong focus on tasty tapas, all priced at around 250 baht. The Dreaming Crab Roll consists of soft shell crab cooked in tempura batter, rolled into a sushi shape, and coated with bright orange Japanese caviar. It is served with pickled ginger, soy sauce and wasabi.

Another tasty tapas item is Lemon and Black Pepper Calamari alongside marinated grilled red snapper served with bell pepper aioli.

“We invited some of the region’s top Japanese and Indian chefs to our kitchen to train our staff in creating the savory subtleties in our tapas,” explains Martin. “Our menu is meant to entice guests who want the variety of flavors found in Southeast Asia.”

In addition, Brush has contracted the services of DJ Kensho (“DJK”) as resident spin-master for the restaurant. His mix of funk, chill and ambient sounds have proved very popular in the Phuket and London club scenes.

John Underwood has transformed the former dark red and black of Hung Fat’s into a light and airy space that is original and beautiful, similar to his other projects in the region.

“My intention is for Brush to be a center of all kinds of art. Foremost is food art, but we plan to constantly change the interiors as part of the excitement of a space that offers art with cuisine.

“We will host all kinds of art events at Brush, starting with textiles.

“Later this month, we will present the fashion designs of Cassandra Harper, whose label Island Bliss represents the ultimate in leisure elegance,” says Martin.

John designed and built the interiors of Brush at his Underwood Art Factory on the Bypass Road, displaying his talents at fabricating decorative furnishings using recycled materials.

He is one of South Thailand’s leading exponents of environmental art and plans to use Brush as a venue to demonstrate that style doesn’t always need to be expensive.

The menu at Brush also features imported beef from Australia and fresh grilled seafood served with a tasty selection of vegetables and sauces.

Chef Martin also offers Braised Ox Cheek in a red wine reduction, a Rack of Lamb; and a tasty Asparagus and Green Pea Risotto with roquette and parmesan emulsion.

Try their signature Chili Mangkong (scorpion in Thai) cocktail and a memorable dessert such as a chocolate fondant or coconut panna cotta.

This restaurant has got it all: remarkable food, great music and a unique setting. For more information, call 076-340348. Or, for our overseas readers:

— Bruce Stanley

Thai Life

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