Thank goodness, then, for restaurants like Churrasco, a smart South American-style steakhouse in Jungceylon Mall.
Located on the shopping centre’s al fresco Sino Phuket strip, it features simple yet stylish red and white décor, accented by dark wood furniture.
Directly opposite the entrance, on the far wall, are framed portraits of menu highlights, while the left wall features the menu itself.
It’s a nice touch that means you’re already choosing your meal before you’ve even sat down (or perhaps have been persuaded to dine by seeing what’s on offer). Staff are pleasantly attentive without being overbearing, giving you time to peruse the choices.
Order a drink while you’re thinking – Churrasco has an extensive drinks list, with varieties from around the world. Chilean and Argentinian selections make an expectedly strong appearance.
The six page evening menu (they also have a lunch one) begins with salads and soups. If it’s to your taste, waitresses will recommend the gazpacho andaluz, a chilled Andalusian vegetable soup that is perfectly suited to Phuket’s hot climate – though we skipped straight to the mains and sides.
This is a steakhouse after all, so it goes without saying that you first need to choose between ordering Wagyu or Angus steaks. It’s a matter of preference, but our eyes were drawn to the solomillo de tenera (a ‘Top Tender’ cut from the inside of the rump) Wagyu steak (B450, 200g).
Extremely tender and wonderfully marbled, the meat packed a concentration of amazing flavour. We accompanied this with a mixed sausage skewer (B380), with its selection of lamb, pork, and chorizo, and a small assorted beef skewer with grilled vegetables (B350).
The mains are best paired with your selection of side dishes, all reasonably priced from B60-B90. Since we’d already ordered so much meat, we plumped for the sauteed spinach with garlic and green beans with bacon, though the hand cut fries and crushed herb potato also sounded good.
You also have your choice of sauces – the signature Churrasco BBQ sauce was the obvious choice, though we also took a shining to the smoked chilli sauce, while the Brazilian tomato intrigued, but was saved for next time.
That’s because we’ll definitely be back, especially since we were too full to try the desserts such as the classic banana fritters with a choice of ice cream (B180).
In sum, with great food, decent prices, and an extremely pleasant air-con and fan-cooled location, it’s a much preferable alternative to dining in the Patong maelstrom outside the walls of the mall.
Churrasco Phuket Steakouse, Jungceylon Mall, Patong. 076 366 723. churrascophuket.com. Open daily 11am-11pm.