Eating western cooking in a beautiful Thai resort is like wearing a waistcoat to the beach. Phuket is relaxed, unstuffy, and baking hot. Thai food is sensational, and perfect for the climate.
Even so, the Grill at the Regent entertained us, and fed us fabulously well.
The restaurant is run by chef Justin Baziuk. It occupies a tasteful, if unexciting, beige room. If not for the charming Thai waiting staff, we felt we could have been in any dining room in the western world.
The menu was not very adventurous, but was well executed. There was exceptionally light, crunchy bread and smooth butter, both made by the resort staff.
There were three plump scallops (from New Zealand, because apparently, local scallops are too puny).
There was a delicious sharing plate, meant as a starter for two. This had a few local touches like crunchy salted prawn crackers, and diced ripe mango (served beside a caramelised slab of foie gras), as well as the Thai sweet/sour/spicy flavour combo, but in two shot glasses of gazpacho. It also featured a delicate sashimi tuna raviolo with caviar, and a couple of silken slices of salmon, cured in whisky and smoked on the premises.
We had been served an amuse bouche of gazpacho before our starters. Before our main course, we were also given a passionfruit sorbet with a surprise of a dusting of popping candy.
The mains were a generous chunk of (marginally overcooked) salmon with intensely sweet roasted tomatoes. The sides outshone the fish: fresh, nutty asparagus with hollandaise sauce, and fluffy potatoes with rosemary and garlic and perfectly salted.
Seafood risotto, the other main course, was as creamy and toothsome as anyone might wish for, but the rice, prawns, scallops and mussels were a bit under-seasoned. The risotto came with (slightly incongruous) shavings of parmesan, or possibly manchego.
Dessert came early with a couple of glasses of complimentary mojito granita, festooned with pink cotton candy.
We then demolished a Valrhona chocolate platter with milk ice cream. An accompanying espresso was one of the best we've had in Thailand.
There was a well-chosen wine list (with the usual high wine prices for Thailand). We had a dry, tingly prosecco.
Service was perfect - thoughtful and efficient.
The Grill has a set menu that offers good value for three courses, as well as a la carte dishes, including grilled Wagyu and Australian steaks, rack of lamb, duck breast and chicken.
The restaurant gives no sense of locally sourced or seasonal Thai cuisine, but it certainly provided us with very accomplished, playful and refined cooking, a warm welcome, and some very happy, near-the-beach memories.
If you own or manage The Grill at Regent Phuket Cape Panwa, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.