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Creating treasure from trash

PHUKET: Across a small bridge from the main road in Rawai, a little Thai restaurant filled with creativity is tucked away.

Thursday 5 January 2012, 01:01PM

The Recycle restaurant in Rawai.

The Recycle restaurant in Rawai.

The Recycle is so busy during high season it’s essential to book – its seven tables are regularly full of diners eager to have a rather different dining experience.

Different because when you eat at the environmentally-friendly restaurant, you are also eating alongside an eclectic mix of recycled items owner Poonsin “Ott” Kamlai has collected over the years.

The restaurant was opened a year ago, several years after Khun Ott closed his restaurant on Koh Hae (Coral Island). His wife Saijit helps out in the kitchen and the couple’s daughters work there when they have free time.

The restaurant is surrounded by trees, driftwood, knicknacks and a small garden, and overlooks a small stream.

Khun Ott’s love for the environment and nature is reflected, with all chairs and tables made from wood, and many natural art pieces, antiques, and recycled decorations adorning the walls and tables.

It is an ideal place for nature lovers, he says.

QSI International School Phuket

“When I first opened the restaurant in Koh Hae, there were many unused cans and bottles left lying around. I did not want them to be trash so I started remaking them as decorations, including chandeliers and mobiles, instead of leaving them as rubbish. I also have a discarded buoy which I turned into a doll.”

“I think that many of our customers are environmentalists who want to stay close to nature. I do not want to expand the restaurant, I just want to keep it personal – this is a family business.”

The Recycle sells both Western and Thai food. Food starts at around B80. Signature dishes include shark or chicken massaman curry, or shark or barracuda steaks.

“We do not have high prices because I want customers to come again and again. Our main customers are foreign tourists and expats, so the food taste is not too spicy, and not too greasy.”

 The Recycle is located on Viset Rd (Rawai beach road), opposite Rawai Municipality. It is open daily from 11am to 11pm. For reservations phone 089 729 5199 (limited English).

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