tengoku
tengoku
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search


Culinary Detective: Re-invented, Cosmo comes of age

I have always believed that the key to maintaining your competitive position as a world-class hotel is to never stop moving forward, continually seeking out ways to re-invent whilst building on past successes. In Thailand today, where hotels are currently devoid of overseas tourists, the staycation market becoming somewhat saturated, their restaurants have become an increasingly important element, offering diners value focused packages whilst also showcasing innovation to tempt demanding local residents through the doors to spend what they probably would have spent on a now postponed, overseas vacation. 

DiningCulinary-DetectiveChris-Watson
By Chris Watson

Saturday 14 November 2020, 11:00AM


One such hotel which never ceases to amaze me by continually pushing the boundaries is The Nai Harn Phuket. With Frank Grassmann the ever-present General Manager setting the culinary bar extremely high for his Executive Chef, Mark Jones, I was delighted to join them both for a tasting session coinciding with the resort’s reopening in October.

I and other ‘foodies’ have invariably focused on extolling the virtues of Rock Salt, the hotel’s Mediterranean beach-side eatery. I was therefore intrigued that our venue for lunch was to be Cosmo, the hotel’s ‘all day dining’, a rather sterile expression I truly abhor. One of the umpteen challenges with hotel dining is that the ‘main’ restaurant has to cater for breakfast in usually high numbers and the rest of the day requires menus which provide everything from snacks and sandwiches to more adventurous plates. Simply put, it must cater for everyone at all times of the day, this in itself restricting a Chef’s ability and inherent desire to provide the very best.  

Seated with both Frank and Mark, my sight is drawn to the majestic views of the ocean and Nai Harn beach afforded by the restaurant’s elevation, certainly competing with Rock Salt. They begin by telling me that during this quieter period, they have both been brainstorming to come up with a new approach to Cosmo to attract both new diners and indeed diners who previously were only loyal to Rock Salt. 

Whilst Mark pops into the kitchen to do what he does best, Frank shares with me the first of these new initiatives, Saturday Social, which has just started. Every Saturday at Cosmo, a three-course menu with oodles of choices and drink options is offered with suitably classy live background music, at a tremendously attractive price and if booked for two, the lucky diners can stay the night for an extremely competitive rate in a Grand Ocean View room no less, the next day, to enjoy, world class breakfast for two; truly tempting.

Mark duly arrives with service staff carrying a multitude of Saturday Social dishes which include a delectable plate of Prosciutto ham with a poached organic egg, asparagus and a decadent Hollandaise sauce, a roasted wahoo mackerel with tomato ceviche and a wickedly tasty seared squid on a bed of chorizo risotto and Port Phillip bay mussels. I have always marveled at chefs who manage to present dishes where the complexity in combination, depth of flavour and textures is intelligently disguised to appear truly simple; this is evident in all the aforementioned. Whilst enthusiastically tasting all on offer, I try but fail in maintaining a level of mature control as they all just taste so good. Menus will change every week.

QSI International School Phuket

The second initiative follows closely behind as Mark arrives with a couple of new a la carte dishes, a lovingly just-cooked pizza inspired by his learnings from visiting chef last year, Salvatore de Rinaldi, the pizza master himself. This is one from a selection of four on Cosmo’s new a la carte menu. 

The second dish is a perfectly executed appetiser of pan-seared Okinawa scallops with green apple, roasted hazelnuts and pea shoots. These dishes have Mark Jones’ name written all over them; meticulous attention to detail reigns. I finish with yet another recent creation of ethereally light, glazed passion fruit parfait and rather greedily, a banana clafoutis from the Saturday Social selection; positively, a tad retro and yes, simply to die for.

I depart thanking both Frank and Mark for a preview of The Nai Harn’s latest. It is clear, The Nai Harn is not resting on their laurels, new dishes abound to continue their position at the leading edge of culinary prowess not only in Phuket, but in fairness across Thailand. Cosmo has come of age, shattering the urban myth of the predictable all-day dining.


Chris is a former Michelin Guide Inspector who following an international career in hospitality spanning 30 years in both the Middle East and Asia, has now settled in Thailand and contributes a monthly restaurant column.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

CAPTCHA

Be the first to comment.

 

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Phuket officials present autopsy on Sandbox tourism success

Nowhere near the magic calculator's calculations then- who'da thunk it! As pointed out below...(Read More)


Phuket officials present autopsy on Sandbox tourism success

I wonder how many were actual “tourists” and how many were expat returnees, or residents going o...(Read More)


Walkout protest at APEC meeting over Russian invasion

Will Thailand's attitude towards Russian aggression have any effect on its western tourism? May...(Read More)


TAT targeting 50% occupancy rate

Would Thailand's tourism industry and treasury be better served by TAT if it used realistic numb...(Read More)


Lost and found German tourist discharged from hospital

Someone must have paid her hospital bill because the hospitals refuse to let anyone go until they do...(Read More)


Extra charge laid in Chon Buri Russian attack case

@Kurt Of course she won't get attacked , because people probably think that she carries a machi...(Read More)


Phuket marks 21 new COVID cases, no deaths

Why is this still newsworthy ? ...(Read More)


Extra charge laid in Chon Buri Russian attack case

@JohnC. Gosh! Nice one. Blame it on the victim because she is a female!!!...(Read More)


Soapbox Satire: Let’s lose the riff-raff

"Cheap, young and gorgeous prostitiutes.." really is the only ad slogan Thailand need purs...(Read More)