Just like heaven
Phuket's Paresa Resort delights the senses with a set menu designed to celebrate the full moon
The luxury Paresa Resort Hotel in Phuket is ideal for a romantic escape or simply hanging out with friends. Invited recently to savour chef Ryan Arboleda's latest set menu celebrating the full moon and indulge in some cooking classes, we sipped wine at a long table set up by the fibre optic-lit infinity pool, sampled the amuse-bouches and watched the enormous orange moon rising over the Andaman Sea.
The first course halted conversation as our group tucked into the delicious octopus sauteed with paprika and Phuket herb salad. Then came decision time: a main course selection of poached Indian halibut with yellow curry sauce or roasted marinated quail with goat's cheese stuffed dates, tamarind orange glaze and seared foie gras. Having enjoyed foie gras on last visit to Paresa, I opted for the fish. Dinner wrapped with Paresa pavlova and Phuket fruits sabayon.
"The menu changes every month," says New Zealand-born Arboleda. "We don't stick to any special menu but we design our dishes around what's in season, as we use only the very freshest product. Of course, being in Phuket, seafood is one of the prime ingredients."
After a good night's sleep in our villa accommodation, we rise early the next morning to meet up with guest chefs Rujapong Sukhabote, who's also a gastroenterologist at Bumrungrad International Hospital, and Ayusakorn Arayangkul. They're among the four owners of popular Bangkok restaurant 4 Garcons and they're taking us to the markets in Kamala, an hour from the resort. We spend a fun morning learning how to choose fresh fish, seafood, vegetables and fruits and other fresh ingredients in preparation for our class later in the day.
In the evening, we meet up again at Recipe, the venue for Paresa's popular cooking classes, which are usually led by the resort's own chefs though tonight Rujapong and Ayusakorn are in charge.
The class is part of the resort's "Cook & Dine" package, which is priced at Bt99,500 for four and includes a three-night stay in a Talay Suite and the "Infinity Pool Dinner". The promotion is available through October 31.
The candlelight Infinity dinner is also included in the "Elope to Paradise" wedding package, which offers couples the chance to celebrate their nuptials on a lawn overlooking the ocean plus five nights in an Aqua pool suite. A wealth of other benefits are included in the package, which is priced at Bt159,000 net until the end of October and Bt199,000 net from November 1.
Guests can also dine at the resort's two restaurants. Diavolo, which means devil, lives up to its name with fire-red walls and black floors along with elegant Italian furnishings. The exterior is spacious with rough-textured timber tables and chairs and, with its spectacular ocean views, it's a great place to enjoy the generous a la carte breakfast or Italian delicacies at lunch and dinner.
Talung Thai serves authentic Thai cuisine and offers a menu of the most popular and unique dishes with a southern Thai influence.
In the lap of luxury
For reservations, call Paresa Resort Phuket at (076) 302 000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.ParesaResorts.com.
Nok Air flies from Bangkok to Phuket at 9.30am and 1.35pm. Visit www.NokAir.com.