This is a review of the hotel's RESTAURANT ONLY.
Wine experts will remember this place mentioned in wine review magazines, where it is praised for its surprisingly wide selection. This is true. It's also true that the wine captain, hired at the lowest level in the kitchen and gradually moved up through the ranks, has impeccable taste and an incredible nose for identifying the wines available on the menu. I have heard that a wealthy local often bets him that he cannot identify a wine from the restaurant by taste and bouquet alone... but the guest has yet to win the bet.
A great selection, however, does not imply a correspondingly great price-- unless "great" means only 'big', not 'pleasing'. A wine expert, former winery owner, I brought there refused to order, saying that he wouldn't honor the place by buying at those prices. A "grocery store US$10 bottle of wine, for US$100... and correspondingly high prices up and down the menu", is how he described Mom Tri's Boathouse wine list.
Service, with the tiny fault that the wine list and lunch menu are brought WITHOUT the regular drinks menu, is beyond reproach. They are Thai, but speak English wonderfully and understand Western attitudes. They are wonderfully helpful and attentive, though at one point it was difficult to get any waiter's attention.
It's also worth noting what's MISSING because of the wait-staff's attention to atmosphere and comfort. Almost all restaurants in Thailand permit local walkabout souvenir salesmen, including shockingly underage children selling flowers, to wander unobstructed through the dining area, pestering every guest who'd rather be left alone thankyouverymuch. There are laws against these salesmen entering a restaurant unless bidden to do so by a patron, yet almost all restaurants still permit this offense. Mom Tri's boathouse does an excellent job at preventing these annoying salesmen from entering to pester guests.
Fair warning, though-- if you're a guest of their hotel, simply going out onto the sandy beach will invite CONSTANT (at least once every three to five minutes) attention from salespeople cruising up and down the beach, selling bricabrac, grass mats, rental beachchairs, food, hats, parasailing and other option tours, massages, and cheap plastic jewelry. STAY ON THE GROUNDS 'til you're ready to rush into the water...and take heed of the red flags in summertime, as Phuket loses a tourist every week in the turbulent west-shore summer waters.
The location is likewise lovely, like the staff. Large open window/doors along the beachside porch allow fresh sea breezes to cool you off, while ceiling fans flutter uselessly 'til the breezes go on breaktime, when the fans are obligated to pick up where the breezes left off.
The food, though... WHAT A TRAGEDY. Fire the chef. Seriously. The chef is as uninspired as a grammar school cafeteria worker. The ingredients are wonderfully fresh-- do NOT fault the restaurant's buyer-- but fire the chef immediately, for being an uninspired, uninterested dolt....and charging offensively high prices despite being so ... useless in the kitchen.
Some examples: Most dishes are accompanied by... thin McDonald's-like french fries, with ketchup that SAYS it's "Heinz" (a famous, trusted American brand) but tastes like sugarwater, the Thai style ketchup. FRENCH FRIES??!! Another potato disaster is the "crushed potatoes" accompanying the BBQ pork chop: it's pure boiled potato, shredded and entirely without spice or garnish, pressed into what can only be described as a CAT FOOD CAN shape and dumped on the plate. The "BBQ" sauce is watery tomato sauce, with none of the taste one associates with a barbecue sauce. The "club sandwich", though it's wonderfully fresh, is so small and uninspired that it should appear on a children's menu at Denny's, rather than buried under french fries and a 280 baht pricetag.
The breadbowl was uncharacteristically imaginative, with a wide variety of unusual breads. It was accompanied by butter, though, which I can only guess the chef has never tasted: it was so salty that I wondered if it had been dragged through the surf, and designed to assassinate patrons with heart problems.
For every item on the food menu, I felt either the undeniable image of a hairnetted, grandmotherly, minimum-wage school cafeteria worker behind its creation, or at best, the feeling that this is something I would have thrown together in 5 minutes in my own kitchen if I were rushed to make myself a quick lunch with fresh ingredients.
A US$5 glass of "orange juice" was not orange juice; it was the same tangerine juice I could have gotten down the street in a sidewalk cafe for US$0.70 or by the liter in the supermarket for US$0.70.
The only item I found with an element of elegance was a dessert item described as "fruit salad with a scoop of lemon sherbet". I'd seen another guest with what appeared to be a fair-sized bowl of fresh fruit slices, so I mistakenly ordered this waste of space. It was a large plate made "busy" by glazing gthe plate with a tictactoe pattern of raspberry sauce painted on it (to hide the tiiiininess of the actual food), with a teeny-tiny crunchy cup in the center. The "fruit salad" component, smaller than a tablespoon full of finely diced apple and some lonely tropical fruit bits, hid timidly in the bottom of the cup. The fruit was no doubt afraid of the comparatively big, big world around it. The "scoop" of lemon sherbet, though tolerably tasty, was only about two tablespoons in size.
A man shouldn't struggle with losing his temper, in a fresh sea breeze surrounded by kind staff... but DAMN, PEOPLE! Fire the chef, unless you were expecting anorexic pygmies to sit at my table. Style and setting are not an excuse for overcharging AND starving AND boring your patrons.
Shouldn't paying far, far more than normal for your food ensure some kind of heightened QUALITY? At Mom Tri's Boathouse, it does not. Far, far from it! Stay at the hotel, sure-- but eat elsewhere if you don't want to be reduced to tears by a spectacularly unimaginative, unskilled chef and an unashamed, unearned assault on your wallet.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Boathouse Phuket, Thailand, has been an architectural and culinary landmark on Kata Beach since 1989. A favorite with discerning visitors, it appears on numerous lists of the world’s best small hotels. The Boathouse Wine & Grill has been distinguished with Wine Spectator Awards since 1995 and has been credited with the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence since 2006. New additions to the property include extended family suites, a 2-bedroom beachfront Penthouse suite and a rooftop Sunset Lounge. A beach club and spa and a chic boutique shop with a gourmet café. The fantastic beach location, personal friendly service, intimate atmosphere and stylish gourmet restaurant with one of the best wine cellars in Thailand make it the ideal location for beach, food and wine buffs. Weekend Thai cooking workshops from 10 am - 1 pm. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Orbitz, Booking.com, Hotels.com, Hotel.de, Priceline, Asiatravel.com Holdings and Agoda so you can book your Boathouse by Montara reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Boathouse Hotel Kata Beach
- Mom Tris Boathouse Kata
- Mom Tris Boathouse Hotel Kata
- Boathouse By Montara Phuket/Kata Beach