PATTAYA’S EPICENTRE of fine cuisine for 10 years, Mantra at the Amari Ocean Pattaya is earning even more applause now that new executive chef Shaun Venter has tweaked the menu.
Hailing from South Africa, the classically trained chef has been in Thailand long enough to achieve just the right balance of traditional flavours and local sass. He’s created tasty, hearty and visually appealing dishes that please both the Thai and Western palate.
One of his “contemporary cuisine” creations is Atlantic Salmon Sashimi on Avocado Salad with sesame dressing (Bt450), which combines the sweet succulence of the fish with the creamy avocado, with a counterbalance of tang and saltiness dash in the fragrant dressing.
Another winning dish is South Indian Curried Snow Fish served with saffron risotto (Bt350). The fish fillet is braised in a rich but not overpowering curry of dried chillies, curry leaves and mustard seed, then placed atop the slightly creamy and aromatic risotto, a wonderful meeting of East and West.
An all-time favourite at the restaurant, Grilled Rack of Lamb (Bt1,190), has been given a fine-tuning, too. Heated lava stone rather than charcoal is used to grill the meat, thus avoiding the smokiness that can mask the natural taste and smell of the meat. The dish comes with baked artichoke topped with cheese, rosemary jus and pistachio crumbs that add their own texture.
The Caesar Salad (Bt450) arrives “deconstructed”. Instead of being tossed with the other ingredients, the romaine lettuce stands upright at the centre of a plate surrounded by crispy cubes of brioche and Parmesan pudding, over which is laid fried Parma ham and white anchovies.
It’s left to the diner to mix up the parts as you go, but this way you can control the volume of each, and having the pudding “dressing” separate keeps the lettuce crunchy longer.
Other mouth-watering dishes include Spanish Mussels in tomato, garlic, basil and chilli (Bt450 for 250grams and Bt800 for 500 grams) – the soft and sweet shellfish are tossed with tasty soup in a great appetiser – and hearty Pork Belly and Barbecued Duck Roll (Bt320) served with sweet hoisin sauce.
Chef Venter has introduced a new dessert based on the ever-popular mango and sticky rice. For Bt350 you get the decadently flavourful Mango and White Chocolate Lava, the traditional Coconut Sticky Rice, and Mango Jelly and Coconut Pearls, all with coconut ice cream on the side.
CURRIES AND COCONUT
>> Mantra is on Pattaya Beach Road in Pattaya.
>> It’s open daily from 5pm to 1am and on Sundays from 11am to 3pm for brunch.
>> Make reservations at (038) 429 591.
>> Learn more at www.Mantra-Pattaya.com.