This beautifully-designed hotel welcomes business travellers, couples and families alike into its stunning location overlooking a secluded stretch of bite-shaped Tri-Tang Beach with its dramatic headlands rearing skyward on either side.
While all the hedonistic attractions and excitement of Patong are just ten minutes’ drive to the north, the hotel’s tranquil surroundings and extensive grounds provide a secluded and peaceful sanctuary seemingly a world away from the bright lights.
At the heart of this happy, bustling resort sits the friendly, welcoming restaurant named D.O.C.G.
This is, at first sight, rather a strange name, that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Naturally I asked why an Italian restaurant would be so named. It was my old mate Mister Wikipedia who quickly came up with the answer, as he so often does when I stand flummoxed by arcana. He informed me that it stands for Denominazione di origine controllata and is in fact a quality assurance label for Italian wines. So, now we know.
In fact this authentic Italianate eatery is cleverly-named as the quality of produce, cuisine, beverages and the friendly, smiling service are all second-to-none and reflect the essence of fine Italian-style hospitality. Just the sort of restaurant, in fact, which would get an official seal of approval from an Italian Quality Control Authority assessing authenticity!
This resort has eight dining outlets no less, clustered at the heart of the pools and aquamarine canalisations that interweave the grounds and building of this lovely complex. It is a buzzy, friendly hub at the centre of which sits D.O.C.G. and into which we gratefully plunged on a recent Friday evening.
It had been another torrid work week in Phuket and Madame was in no mood to be trifled with. This had better be good, I thought, or there could be trouble afoot from my beloved. I need not have worried. D.O.C.G. was immediately relaxing and welcoming, as the smiling staff seated us amidst the throng of happy families and couples.
With fruit-flavoured sparkling beverage to hand…. Rossini (strawberry) for Madame and Bellini (peach) for me, I could see Her Ladyship visibly relax and knew that all was going to be well in her world this evening.
The menu fairly brims with authentic Italian offerings from design-your-own pizzas in adult and kiddie sizes, to zesty pastas, fresh seafood and healthy complementary salads. Throngs of happy families around us were tucking into this abundance with heartfelt enthusiasm.
D.O.C.G. also offer T-bone steak nights with a drink for just B1,200 net, and meatballs and mash nights too. The menu features clear, simple, down-to-earth fare with great pricing, making it highly accessible and good value for couples, families and kiddies alike.
With crooners serenading us from the sound-system and Italian posters and chalk drawings on the wall, Madame was soon in the local swing of things with her Mellanzone alla Parmigiana (baked aubergine) starter, followed by succulent baked New Zealand mussels, while my own beef Carpaccio with rocket and shaved Parmesan, all swimming in a river of fresh lemon juice, was a superb way to dispel Friday night’s stresses.
All this lovely faire was accompanied by grape-based libations from Italy and Marlborough New Zealand, served at reasonable prices and by-the-glass, which helped the evening go with a swing.
My main event arrived – Tiger Prawns with garlic, white wine and black-ink tagliolini, while Madame’s seafood soup fairly brimmed with enticingly tasty oceanic denizens.
We sat with coffees and scoops of delicious gelato surveying the happy throng around us in the warren of restaurants in which D.O.C.G. is central. Music played, a chanteuse belted out a Dolly Parton favourite and the laughter of replete stomachs echoed through the poolside palm trees.
I think I even heard a chuckle emanate from Madame’s lips. D.O.C.G. has that effect!
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