Bon Ton's Nam restaurant was recommended by a fellow guest in a poolside chat at the Westin resort. We made a 25-minute taxi ride from Kuah to try it out. Before we'd finished the first course we'd decided to rebook. The Bon Ton resort is a curious one, made up of old Malay wooden houses relocated to this small site by the Australiann owner. The accommodation clusters in a deceptively bohemian manner around a pool next to a natural lagoon. The aesthetic of the place is understated but real.To arrive for dinner just before service and bring your aperatif up into an adjacent wooden house to watch the sunset over the lagoon is to get into the spirit of the place. The food that follows is delightful. We had a mixed starter of Bali-style seafood satay on a lemongrass stick; fragrant fishcakes; grilled tail of rock lobster (very like Aussie 'bay bugs'). Then a a lightly coconut-flavoured fish soup and a grilled haloumeh salad. For mains we had the 'Nyonya' mixed platter both nights, varying it with a prawn pineapple curry once and a seafood grill mix the other. The Nyona is a kind of Malay / Thai equivalent of a rijsttafel or tapas platter, with curried lamb and beef, casseroled aubergine, cubed lightly fried fish, grilled prawns and curried pineapple arrayed on a large banana leaf. Every item was rich but delicate in flavour, inviting slow but very satisfied eating. Staff were very friendly and good expert advice was available though levels of English-speaking varied. Yes there were some cats about but they weren't a problem (and I'm not a big fan!). Prices - not cheap. Pretty much western levels. But so good. The place and ambience are a real asset, but the food matches and surpasses. Bonus moment - as we came down the laneway in our taxi to the restaurant, a huge water monitor lizard paced across the grass nearby. Looked like a 3/4 size komodo dragon. Stunning. In Bon Ton you are in no doubt you are in south-east Asia, visually and on the palate. Great place.
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