Pigging out in the land of Baba

tasty November 05, 2017 01:00

By Kupluthai Pungkanon
The Sunday Nation

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At the Sripanwa Phuket resort, no one goes hungry for long

THE SRIPANWA PHUKET has expanded its empire of Baba concept restaurants with Baba Chino, specifically geared to the Chinese tourists joining vacationers who swarm to the resort.

Located in the Sripanwa’s newest edifice, the Habita, and arranged, like the other facilities – penthouses, indoor pools and a cascading pool – to soak up as much as the sunsets over the Andaman Sea as possible, is Baba Chino.

The restaurant gives Chinese cuisine modern twists, while sister outlet Baba Hot Box’s grilled steaks are hugely popular.

Baba Chino

Baba Chino joins a whole array of eateries at the resort, each with its own concept, that have made the Sripanwa a favourite among Thai celebrities and foreign gourmets since its opening in 2005.

There’s Baba Pool Club, Baba Soul Food (focusing on Thai cuisine), Baba Nest Bar (with perhaps the best sunsets), Baba Iki (Japanese cooking), Baba Hot Box, Baba 88 and Baba Hotpot.

Young chief executive Vorasit Issara also oversaw the recent opening of Baba Beach Club up the coast on Natai Beach, and another member of the clan, still to be named, is coming soon to Hua Hin.

Crispy Pork in the Chef’s Style

At Baba Chino, the dishes are infused with creativity and flair. The appetisers immediately attest that you’ve come to the right place. Highly recommended are Crispy Pork in the Chef’s Style (Bt588), Crispy Silver Fish with Spicy Powder (Bt488), Drunken Chicken with Jellyfish and Wasabi (Bt588) and Crabmeat Corn Soup Guangdong-style (Bt428).

For something more substantial, there are Mexican Abalone with Hong Kong Kale (Bt488) and Wok-fried Tofu with Shitake, Ginger and Bok Choi (Bt428 in a clay pot). 

Steamed Tiger Prawn in Soy Sauce

The mustn’t-miss main course is Steamed Tiger Prawn in Soy Sauce (Bt888), whose pungent taste earned it my vote as the most delightful dish of the evening. 

The menu is the handiwork of Chef Pom, who was the resident expert in Chinese contemporary cuisine on the TV show “Iron Chef Thailand”. 

The setting is unique, casual but elegant in a “modern natural” design, the walls lively with a wave pattern, the interior bathed in a coppery glow thanks to the ceiling of stone slates. The tableware is auspiciously red, illuminated by charming shell table lamps.

Baba Hot Box

Baba Hot Box, meanwhile, is a competitive rival for guests’ affections with its tantalising aromas of barbecued seafood and meats. 

It’s set by the cascading pool and a lush lawn around which younger guests romp while waiting for their supper. Diners get to watch the chefs at work in their cosy glass den, performing mouth-watering miracles on a Spanish Josper barbecue, half-grill, half-oven. 

You can’t go wrong in choosing among the marinated and grilled premium meats and seafood. All are delectable and expertly cooked. 

The prices range according to type of meat and weight. Wagyu beef starts at Bt1,180 for 300 grams, lamb ribs at Bt1,190, 12 Andaman shrimp at Bt750. With these and the rest you get a mixed salad or grilled veggies, pita bread and fried potatoes. 

The sauce might be fiery Thai-style jaew, equally spicy miso, a Jack Daniel’s barbecue rub, white truffle, pesto or any of many more. 

Each morning at Baba Pool Club, the lavish breakfast spread includes freshly prepared Thai dishes, such as southern-style spicy yellow curry with rice noodles, Chinese and continental favourites, wicked banana pancakes and waffles, Eggs Benedict and tropical fruit. 

For lunch and for all-day room service, you can have terrific pizza for Bt520 – Rocket Parma, Hawaiian Top or Four Seasons (ham, mushroom, artichoke and anchovies).

Baba Iki

Baba Iki actually sits on the deck of Baba Pool Club, an open kitchen focused on Japanese cuisine. If the veranda’s too breezy and the sunset long gone, the indoor dining area seats 60 people and has teppanyaki and sushi counters if you’re on your own or nearly so.

Guest chefs often visit from Japan, no doubt arriving atop crates of the freshest imaginable ingredients and authentic flavourings. This is what keeps Baba Iki the top-ranked restaurant of all the Babas. 

It’s a lot of fun watching the chefs artfully cook Phuket lobster and a dish called Hida Teppanyaki on searing iron plates. Again, the prices vary according to the type of meat or seafood ordered, anywhere from Bt900 to Bt3,900. 

Sashimi Delight

Baba Iki’s biggest draws are Fresh Sashimi Delight using the chef’s choice of the day (Bt2,200), the fantastic sushi, and the “don” bowls of rice with fish, meat and vegetables simmered together. 

Wagyu Kare Ralsu Don, Wagyu Striploin with Japanese Curry |are also excellent, as are the |many kinds of maki (rolls). Sripanwa Maki (Bt880) has shrimp tempura, cucumber, asparagus, |avocado, salmon, scallop, crab, mayonnaise, teriyaki sauce, tobiko green onion in it. 

Shirauo Salad (Bt590) is a lovely starter with crispy fish, mixed greens and miso dressing.

Don’t forget to order sake, served here with a twist. Have a sake cocktail to begin and continue with a Sakura (sake, watermelon, lychee and lime juice) and a Yuzu Mojito (sake, mint, brown sugar, soda and lime juice). 

It’s homemade ice cream and pudding for dessert, so save room.

Make reservations at www.Sripanwa.com or (667) 637 1000.