94 Thaweewong road (Patong Beach Road)
Open time: Daily 11am-midnight
Resevation: Tel: 08 9866 3432www.facebook.com/ThePortPhuket
One of the finest seafood restaurants in Phuket, serving local delicacies and centrally-located on Patong’s beachfront.
The setting is dramatic: we arrive to the cool sounds of a quintet playing jazz. White tables in a plaza flanked by a modish bar. A cosmopolitan scene that might grace fashionable Santa Barbara or Marbella, it is in fact right in the heart of Patong, mere metres from the beach road.
To cater to all tastes, there is an air-conditioned dining area and an elegant ‘al fresco’ space with a retractable roof that can cover the area if it rains. It did not rain when we were there.
The menu, which genuflects to Asian cuisine, is both imaginative and extensive. In fact, it is a sequence of menus, which despite their substantial nature, are easy to navigate. Many dishes have Thai names as well as titles in English. One features ‘signature dishes’ such as Rack of Lamb with Red Curry Sauce, Steamed Fish with Herbs, Roasted Chicken with Turmeric, and Grilled Prawns with ‘Chaplu’ Leaves. Both the ‘classic’ and ‘local’ menus include Asian favourites, such as Tom-Yum Goong sour soup, Massaman Curry with Chicken, Gaeng Ped Nuea with Beef, and both steamed and fried appetizers. Prices are remarkably reasonable, with many starters under 200 baht.
I begin with a Lobster Bisque, quite the best example I have tasted, with a rich reduced sauce and generous chunks of sea-food. My friend chooses The Port Caesar Salad which looks delectable: crisp romaine lettuce, anchovies, croutons, parmesan and crispy bacon. The ‘secret’ dressing is sensational.
For our main courses we select two curries: Choo Chee Seekrong Gae (lamb rack with red curry sauce), and Mee Hong Gaeng Puu (yellow curry with crab). My yellow curry looks appetising, served in a ceramic pot with noodles nestling in tiny baskets. Appearances do not deceive. The sauce is both creamy and spicy. So too my partner’s rack of lamb, accompanied – unusually – by a red curry sauce. The combination works admirably. We finish with a tasty and traditional dessert – Mango and Sticky Rice – from a selection that includes Coconut and Mueng Bean Custard, Crepes Suzettes and Baked Alaska.
The fine meal is complemented by two refined house reds from a remarkably comprehensive wine list: a crisp Chilean red from Echeverria and a mellow South Australian merlot.
Put ‘The Port’ restaurant on your ‘must visit’ list. Location, service and cuisine are all superb.