Thai chef Tammasak “Noi” Chootong opened up his first restaurant just over one year ago. Practically ever since then, his Suay Restaurant in Phuket Town has been ranked one of the best on the island.
The acclaim is largely due to the talent of Khun Noi, who has a string of accolades to his name and experience at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa Phuket, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts, Renaissance by Marriott Resort and Spa Koh Samui, and time working on-board luxury liner Queen Elizabeth II.
It was while he was working at the Marriott that he was awarded Manager of the Year 2005, Tsunami Hero for 2005 (after rescuing a man in the 2004 tsunami and getting him to hospital), an Outstanding Performance award, and a Leadership award for the hotel’s kitchen team.
Khun Noi, 38, has travelled extensively and is fluent in German, Thai and English. Born in Hat Yai, he moved to Stuttgart, Germany, with his family as a teenager.
He was raised there, and graduated with a masters degree in kitchen development from the German Ueberkingen culinary school in 1994.
In 1999, after five years at the Maritim Hotel in Stuttgart and the Michelin-star Top Air Restaurant, he joined the QEII, before returning to Germany, and arriving back in Thailand around eight years ago.
He joined the Marriott, then in 2007 began work at Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts as their Corporate Thai Chef, working around the world to develop and implement the Saffron signature Thai restaurant in 10 Banyan Tree resorts, before becoming Area Executive Chef for the Banyan Tree Bintan Indonesia.
Looking to develop his own brand, Khun Noi left Banyan Tree and, alongside his sister Mam, opened Suay in Phuket Town in November 2010. Since then, the restaurant has gone from strength to strength, and is currently ranked Phuket’s number one restaurant on TripAdvisor, out of a total of 569 listings.
His concept is simple – delivering high quality food at reasonable prices, meaning locals can afford to dine there often. The restaurant is a white and pale-green cottage, surrounded by lush garden.
The décor is at once sharp, crisp, elegant and airy, with incredibly reasonable prices. Most of the dishes on the menu range from B80 to around B200, though of course there are high-end options for up to B600.
Signature dishes include the steamed salmon with rice noodle in yellow curry (B129), spicy yellow fin tuna salad (B99), grilled US sea scallops with spicy exotic fruit salad (B250), and the mango sticky rice spring roll with black sesame ice-cream for B80.
“The food is Thai contemporary.
It still has authentic Thai taste, but is presented in a modern, Western way,” says Khun Noi. “It’s about making people trust you and your food. People know what they are getting when they come here.”
That is to say, they’re getting nothing but the best.
Suay Restaurant, 50/2 Takuapa Rd, Phuket Town, 087-888-6990; suayrestaurant.com, facebook.com/phuketsuayrestaurant