PHUKET: RE KÁ TA (doesn’t that name shout out loud?) is the newest incarnation of the passed-away Oasis, next to Boathouse at Kata Beach. The base for the annual King’s Cup Regatta, it’s not hard to see how the place got its spiffy name.
Essentially, RE KÁ TA is a beach club: Simply lay your 1,000 baht down and you’ll get full amenities, such as a swimming pool, a potentially amusing “walk-through” automatic shower that I’ll lay heavy odds will be the demise of some cell-phone-toting, inebriated punter sooner rather than later (the gate-like structure lies directly on the way to the rest rooms), towels, sun deck and more. Oh, and the 1,000 buckaroos gives you exactly that much credit at the bar and restaurant. Clever, or what?
It’s a trendy, “look at me” sort of place, designed by Fredo Taffin, the same artist who created Ku De Ta, Bali’s famous club-restaurant-beach bar. It’s also the stomping ground of South African Executive Chef Bryan Burger. Now, before the obvious jokes and puns are wheel-chaired out it has to be recounted that Le Meridien Resort and Spa, up the coast in Karon, was once managed by a certain Monsieur “Hotelier”, demonstrating that fitting names in the hospitality industry aren’t that rare. And, even though you can score a burger at RE KÁ TA, the emphasis is firmly on healthy dishes that, having been purposely cooked below 42 degrees centigrade, retain their life-preserving enzymes and vitamins.
Our first impression of RE KÁ TA is of the music tumbling out of the German-designed sound system serving the pool and bar area (the restaurant and beach terrace are more conducive to conversation). Here, we take in a few Italian and Brazilian ballads with groovy hip-hop and at one point Charles Aznavour, for goodness’ sake. Still, it’s all set at an acceptable volume level, but don’t count on napping through Happy Hour.
The alfresco lounge section features faux water hyacinth sofas and tables with innovative lighting, pastel-colored parasols and vivid throw cushions along with that automatic shower trap. Further towards the beach, you’ll find a medium-sized restaurant fitted out in a blue-and-white theme that leads onto a beach terrace crowned by tropical almond trees daily housing the noisiest dusk-chorus of sparrows imaginable.
As you can imagine, it’s all very jolly, holiday-like and distinctive, especially when a passing waiter flips over what had appeared to be a randomly placed balloon, presses a button and magically turns it into a light. He does the same with a chair; never a dull moment here.
So what of the food? RE KÁ TA’s “Living Cuisine” concept is not a unique culinary movement as organic food and restaurants have been around for quite a while, but dining beachside in chic, modern surroundings with healthily prepared ingredients certainly scores plus points. Grilled sea scallops with rum jelly on a bed of diced mango works well, as does an incredibly al dente salmon dish. For mains, snow fish in a pastry crust that provides just the right amount of saltiness to complement the fish is almost near damn perfect; but then I’m a fish lover. For the carnivores among us, seared wagyu beef on vanilla risotto with beef and mushroom jus is filling to the extreme.
Happy juice? An adequate 14-label list does the business with a spanking Languedoc complementing the evening’s proceedings. And, being beachside, there is no shortage of mini-umbrella-adorned alcoholic concoctions. RE KÁ TA’s certainly the real thing and ideal for party groups who are looking for a beach experience without the vendor-hassle ingredient.
RE KÁ TA is Open from 9am to Midnight daily, T: 076-330421, E: email@example.com.
— Sam Wilko
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