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Phuket Food: A sporty Sunday brunch

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PHUKET: Not too many Sunday brunches offer a side order of Zumba, Muay Thai, or Pilates, but Phuket’s Thanyapura brunch comes with a chance to work off the calories using a day pass to their world class sporting facilities and group fitness classes.

But before that comes the food.

Some of it comes direct from Thanyapura’s own organic farm in Surat Thani – chickens and eggs; some is locally sourced – tiger prawns, Phuket lobsters and blue crab, and in their desire to serve only the best, some of it comes from much farther afield.

“The sirloin, tenderloin, rib- eye, lamb leg and rack, and strip steak all comes from Australia,” says Chef Sathaporn Bootmeechai, formerly of the Banyan Tree.

“And the oysters are from France,” adds F&B director Sereymony Or.

The brunch also serves Canadian lobsters and Wagyu beef.

The team’s concept of “selection and presentation” rescues the buffet from the short order assembly line it can sometimes become. Steaks are cut only when ordered, grilled, then artfully arranged with sides – a swirl of pureed potatoes and glowing orange cubes of roasted yams. Fresh lobsters are split, grilled, and served with sauces that perfectly complement their sweetness: tangy-sweet miso honey sauce and tart coriander chutney.

Service is superb. The wine is kept flowing and the multiple plates that accumulate at buffets are swiftly cleared away.

The friendly Mr Sereymony stops by to ask us to sample some special ground pepper. “Smell this,” he says, grinding a bit. The aroma is huge. “It’s kampot pepper, from Cambodia,” the native Cambodian proudly says.

The enthusiastic team has diners’ pleasure foremost in mind.

“We don’t want guests to have to wait for food,” says Chef Sathaporn, “so while their order is being cooked, they can sample already made dishes.”

But diners beware: these dishes are so yummy you may not have room for your grilled food once it arrives. The risotto was perfectly al dente, creamy, with earthy flavored mushrooms; the tender chunks of veal in slow cooked osso bucco were rich with a deep dark unami taste. There are also snapper with truffle cream sauce and peppered duck breast.

But maybe living in Asia, you’d rather have Asian food. Then you shall: fresh sashimi and sushi, shrimp in tamarind sauce, snapper with garlic and pepper, or laksa – plump morsels of seafood in a spicy soup tempered by coconut milk, with artfully cut vegetables.

If you’re a traditionalist, there’s a salad bar, steak and salmon tartare, those Fine de Claire French oysters, firm and sweet, and four choices of pizza to start with.

Then maybe another glass of wine? Or, if you prefer, something non alcoholic, perhaps one of Thanyapura’s healthy booster drinks, like “Rouge Melon”, a delicate blend of watermelon, honeydew and strawberry, or “Purple Pleasure”, a robust mix of beetroot, apple, and pineapple.

Dessert is cleverly served in miniature sizes, and again plated and decorated to order. My favorites were the vibrantly tart lemon pie capped with a spiraling cone of sweet meringue, the dark chocolate black forest cake, and the coffee mousse.

If the most exercise you can imagine at the end of your meal is lying still in the kiddy pool, consider saving your sport club pass for another day. It’s good for a full week, and is transferable too.

Brunch at Thanyapura from July 14

  • Every Sunday from 11:30 to 2:30.
  • Buffet with non-alcoholic drinks – Adults: 1,800 baht. Kids: 900 baht
  • Buffet with free flow wine and cocktails: 2,150 baht.
  • Includes a free day pass to Thanyapura valued at 600 baht.

— Leslie Porterfield

 

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