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Big Fish, hooked on classics

Finding the delicate balance of whether to introduce a new twist to a classic dish or to just leave the long-standing favourite alone takes a masterstroke of culinary discipline, yet that is exactly what Bastian Ballweg, the new Executive Chef at the Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa, Nai Yang Beach, has undertaken.


By Chris Husted

Sunday 8 July 2018, 11:30AM


Chef Bastian, who hails from Germany, has devised for the Big Fish Restaurant & Bar at the resort a menu of seven new of plats du jour, literally one for each day of the week: Monday – Naiyang Surf ’N’ Turf (B1,050++); Tuesday – Seafood “Mediterranean” (B950++); Wednesday – Duck A L’Orange (B1,050++); Thursday – Best of Andaman (B950++); Friday – “Strindberg” Ribeye (B1,050++); Saturday – Tasmanian Salmon (B950++); and Sunday – Tenderloin Rossini (B1,050++).

All seven dishes are well-known classics, but Chef Bastian has brought a touch of his own flair to set the dishes slightly apart from the norm, inspired from his experience in the region. After arriving on the island in 2012 to join to the South American Steakhouse as Executive Chef, he joined The Naka Island, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Phuket, in 2015, the prestigious property that now forms part of Marriott International’s portfolio.

Of the new “Dish of the Day” selection at Big Fish, Chef Bastian explains, “I chose these dishes because they are very traditional and old recipes, but I give these recipes a little bit of a modern twist.”

The theme to the new dining options available at Big Fish is to provide more focus on “back to basics” and local cuisine, he adds.

“Back to Basics is for me like a restaurant 20 years ago – service in front of the guests, really good food, simple and tasty,” Chef Bastian explains.

Sourcing local produce is also rated high in importance, as is in any fine cooking. “We don’t need many imported items, we have very nice ingredients right here on our front door,” he notes.

Popular highlights on the Dish of the Day menu are the Naiyang Surf ’N’ Turf, the Duck A L’Orange and the Strindberg Ribeye.

“We put a twist of classic Western food to the modern presentation of the food at Big Fish in general,” Chef Bastian says.

By example, he explains, “For Naiyang Surf ’N’ Turf, in the old days surf meant prawns and fish but now we use softshell crabs, and as for the presentation of the dishes, we make it simple and straightforward.

“What you order is what you see on the plate, there is no food ‘transformation’ and we do not process it much in order to allow guests to use their taste buds to savour the original taste of the food,” Chef Bastian adds.

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“The Food at Big Fish has been created with our Marriott local adaptation. We make food from what we have and we do not encourage much imported food.

“For a la carte seafood served, there are some fusion ingredients between Thai and Western,” he says, adding by example, “Our seafood dipping sauce is a mixture of olive oil and seafood instead of using fish sauce. However, guests can request it if they want it,” he smiles.

Yet Chef Bastian will not risk any change to traditional dishes whose well-toned tastes and textures have only become more popular and respected over time. “Good running dishes I will not change,” he says plainly.

Looking to the future of diners’ preferences in Phuket, and the shape of things to come on dining tables across the island, Chef Bastian sees vegetarian fare rising to prominence.

“The growing trend is more and more guests are going to be vegetarian. This is a trend we have to follow up,” Chef Bastian explains.

“We have vegetarian options in our menus, but we are working on having more and my team is happy to create individual vegetarian dishes for our guests,” he says.


The Big Fish Restaurant & Bar is located at the Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa, Nai Yang Beach. Call 076-625555, or visit Facebook: Big Fish Restaurant & Bar or PhuketMarriottNaiYang.com

 

 

 

 

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