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Off the bitten track

Khao soi, laab tod and more at Ombré restaurant

tourism,


Anton Makhrov

Saturday 23 July 2016, 12:00PM


When it comes to dining, a typical tourist on vacation wants two adverse experiences: some typical samples of local cuisine and comfortable familiar foods to take in between gastronomic experiments. Building a balanced menu around these polar needs is a challenging task for hotel managers, and many give in to temptation of keeping everything safe and simple (read – boring). Still there are places that succeed, and Ombré is one of them.

Located at the recently opened Hotel IKON Phuket, Ombré offers a well-thought-out selection of Thai and international dishes without providing a novel for a menu. Two pages is all you need here. On top of that, both Thai and international sections have interesting twists, which makes Ombré stand out from other hotel-based restaurants. Some of the dishes they serve are really hard to find in hotels at the island’s popular beach locations.

To get straight to the point, let me say that we opened our dinner with laab tod, deep-fried spicy meatballs infused with the aroma of Thai herbs. If you haven’t heard about this dish, just trust me: it is Thailand’s ultimate snack. Being on a salty rather than spicy side, laab tod cried out for a cold draft brew to accompany it.

Having marked the appetiser for my next visit, I moved to another: American chicken waffles, another rare bird on our island. The mix of crispy chicken and fluffy homemade waffles creates a wonderful harmony of textures while a spoon of spicy sauce gives it a nice kick. Simple, yet incredibly delicious. Khun Mon, who is Hotel IKON’s marketing communications manager, says this was one of her personal favourites from the USA and she couldn’t help but to introduce it to Phuket.

Coming back to Thai food, we were surprised to find khao soi present in the noodle section. While being one of the most delicious Thai curries, this Northern specialty is not even close to being a standard treat in Phuket restaurants. Khao soi combines both soft and crunchy yellow noodles with a rich, creamy curry soup which gives it its unique texture. The curry was not too spicy but still robustly flavoured. Hats off to the chef, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that he makes his blends of curry spices himself.

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More European classics were served later. First, the signature Ombré steak with red wine sauce with vegetables served on the side. Second, grilled seabass with white sauce and veggies again. The steak was tender and juicy while the sauce added a nice sweet and sour note to it. The seabass, to my liking, would make a perfect lady’s choice, and if I ever go to Ombré for a romantic dinner, that will be my recommendation to my better half.

Actually, there are plenty of reasons to revisit the place, including pulled pork and grilled beef burgers; salmon (grilled or Thai-style); seared tuna salad with sesame and pork cordon bleu to name a few. These were all for the future, while in the meantime I had to save some space for a dessert. Khun Mon recommended a homemade banoffe (biscuit crumbs, banana, caramel and crème fraîche on top) and it was an enjoyable note to end our meal on.

Hotel IKON Phuket and Ombré restaurant are located on Patak Rd in Karon, 800 metres south from the temple. Doors open from 5pm till late, happy hours from 5pm till 7pm (buy one drink get one free). Visit hotel-ikon.com and check out Facebook.com/ombrephuket for promotions. For bookings call 076 396 901-5 or email restaurant@hotel-ikon.com.

Until July 31, for every bill over B2,000 at Ombré, you receive a one night stay at Hotel IKON Phuket. You can get a ten per cent discount for posting a picture of your dinner on social media and tagging Ombré Phuket.

 

 

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