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Phuket's iconic Boathouse Wine and Grill to be born again

It was a scribbler’s worst nightmare. A sensational sunset overlooking Kata Beach and Poo Island; pre-dinner drinks on the glorious outdoor terrace overlooking the broad swathe of Kata Beach’s magnificent sands; a fabulous seafood buffet supper featuring Phuket lobster Thermidor cooked to perfection and complemented by the most piquant Sauvignon Blanc; cool serenades of live music, and the wonderful hospitality of genial GM Max Chin and his team of consummate professionals.

tourism
By Baz Daniel

Saturday 27 May 2017, 09:00AM


What was I to do?

Undoubtedly words such as “paradise”, “perfection” and “iconic” have become clichéd where Boathouse is concerned, but it is challenging indeed to attend such an event as this without resorting to them.

And let’s be honest here, the reason that they have become Boathouse clichés is because they are so damn apposite in describing this wonderful resort and its iconic (sorry!) restaurant.

Boathouse temporarily closed its illustrious portals last Saturday (May 13), in order to undertake some five months of renovations and upgrades, planning to re-open in suitably splendid fashion at the start of November to welcome the high season.

I was genuinely perplexed. How can you upgrade and embellish something as resolutely perfect as Boathouse? I wondered.

The first time I reviewed Boathouse for the Thailand Tatler Best Restaurants Awards, back in 2007, I rated the “location and ambience” as a perfect 10.

“We don’t generally give out ‘10s’” said the rather po-faced editrix of this august publication, to which I couldn’t help replying, paraphrasing the incomparable John Cleese in Fawlty Towers, “Why, because Krakatoa wasn’t erupting on the horizon?”

It’s not just me who thinks this way.

My partner, Madame Pattie, who is as astute a judge of fine dining as you will meet in Thailand, rated our experience last Saturday as one of the best din­ners we’ve ever enjoyed together and her Facebook posting (yes, she’s Thai, and posting on Facebook is mandated by the new constitution, it seems) immediately garnered over 60 “Likes”.

So, is the word “iconic” justified?

Boathouse proudly opened its welcoming doors in February 1989 and has since played host to a star-studded cast of the rich, famous and discerning down through the years.

I could name drop the likes of Peter Ustinov, Rudolph Nureyev and more Thai and international royalty than you can shake a scepter at, but I won’t.

Suffice to say, that such a luminary cast beating a consistent path to the doors of Boathouse must have something to do with achieving iconic status.

Then there’s the wine. Boathouse has Phuket’s, and indeed one of Thailand’s, most comprehensive wine cellars boasting over 800 labels and 8,000 bottles, and its wine dinners and events are the stuff of palette-caressing legend.

Again, don’t just take my word for this.

Since 1981, the Wine Spectator magazine has honoured the world’s best wine lists with its awards and become the global standard by which cellars are judged.

Boathouse Wine and Grill has been included in their honours list every year since 1995 and in 2012 received the world’s ultimate oenophilic accolade: Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence – one of only two restaurants in Phuket ever to do so

Over coffee and a port I asked Boathouse’s energetic General Manager Max Chin, who was also celebrating two years and a day in his high profile position, how on Earth could they improve upon perfection?

He answered me with a mischievous smile, “You’ll have to wait and see what we come up with for next November, but I can tell you that it will be extraordinary and I will be a big part of making it truly iconic.” I can hardly wait!

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