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Maenam has probably never been thought of as the culinary epicenter of Koh Samui, although for those who know where to find them, this rather sleepy village has a handful of both Thai and western restaurants that offer a great range of dining opportunities, often at far lower prices than can be found in comparable restaurants in the more frequented parts of Koh Samui.
One restaurant that is not hard to find and that has taken the village up a notch in terms of fine dining is the newly opened Café Mathis. Previously a rather unpopular sports bar the new owner of Café Mathis has completely transformed this imposing building with some incredibly unique décor. Now luxuriously decked in its own unique style the centerpiece of the bar/restaurant with its treble height ceilings is a semi-abstract sculpture based on the work of Henry Spencer Moore, an English sculpture and artists best known for his monumental bronze sculptures which are located around the world. This abstraction of the female human figure has a fascinating appeal which changes from each angle it is viewed.
The interior walls have been adorned with murals in the Alphonse Maria Mucha style, an artist who was born in Moravia, the present Czech Republic, whose works frequently featured beautiful young women in flowing robes often surrounded by flowers. The thought that has gone into the incredible design and style of Café Mathis is immediately apparent the second you step inside. Curiously the fine artworks and the central sculpture blend perfectly with the three, modern, flat panel TV’s one of which shows off the cuisine that can be found in this hedonistic environment, an inspiration for your taste buds as well as an excellent tool for non French and English speakers who may find the language barrier frustrating.
The large modern, black granite bar area has plenty of comfortable seating for a pre dinner cocktail, and a stylish pool table with charcoal black cloth and a darts board can be found to the rear of the dining area for your entertainment.
When it comes to dining you have the option of indoors or on the wooden terrace where one can indulge in a spot of people watching while enjoying sumptuous dishes created with fresh and organic ingredients. The stylish red and black velvet chairs have been designed to offer diners the ultimate in comfort while adding yet more creative style to this up-market environment.
The menu at Café Mathis is large enough to provide something for any taste while at the same time being concise enough not to confuse the diners. What is particularly impressive is just how much of the menu is homemade, even down to the individual sauces. The appetizers menu contains Tempura king prawns, Chicken skewers with homemade sate sauce, Homemade spring rolls with plum sauce and gigantic Chicken wings that unusually encompass the entire wing rather than the just the drum stick. These dishes can be ordered individually as a starter or as a set that is ideal for friend sharing or for a snack at the bar if you are not visiting for a sit down meal.
For lovers of salad there is plenty to choose from, Nicoise, a hearty Farmer Salad with lettuce, chicken, egg, goat cheese on toast, cheese and potatoes, the delicious Mathis Salad with Rice, ham, cheese, tomatoes, egg, avocado, green peppers and onions, a delectable Italian Salad with Pasta, parma ham, tomatoes, parmesan and basil, an exciting Exotic Salad with lettuce, smoked salmon, king prawns, avocado, tomatoes and cucumber, a rich Goat Cheese Salad and a Fresh Salad of tomatoes, king prawns, cucumber, melon and watermelon.
Carnivores will not fail to be impressed by the 500g Australian T-bone steak, the 250g Charolais Rib Eye or the 250g Australian Striploin. Lovers of lamb are in for a real treat with the 400g lamb chop plate that offers large on the bone chops with perfectly seared rind. The 300g Pork Chops and Chicken legs grilled with provincial herbs like the other meat dishes come with French fries, baked potato, steamed rice or salad and a choice of green pepper or blue cheese sauce.
The humble burger has been completely transformed into a gourmet feast at the Café Mathis with a chicken burger, a 150g Wagyu Beef Burger, a 300g double Wagyu beef burger, a 150g Waguy cheese burger, a 300g Double Wagyu cheese burger, a 150g Wagyu bacon and cheese burger, a 300g Double Wagyu bacon and cheese burger and the delicious Mathis Burger with a crispy red snapper fillet with tartar sauce and cucumber.
Pasta lovers can choose from Linguine Carbonara or Bolognaise, Linguine Pesto for Linguine Royal Seafood. Taking of seafood those who love the fruits of the sea will be happy to indulge in Jumbo tiger prawns fried with garlic, pepper and butter sauce, a 700g White snapper steamed with lemon sauce, or the Deep fried whole pomfret with black pepper and garlic. If you really fancy a treat then try the Red snapper fillets marinated in coconut served with eggplant and pumpkin or the incredibly house special Barracuda fillets that have been beautifully marinated and come with light, golden brown stunning roesti potatoes, capers and sesame cream sauce. Jasmine rice, green salad, steamed vegetables, French fries and baked potatoes make great side dishes for the perfectly prepared, cooked and presented fish dishes. The Thai menu at Café Mathis is bursting with flavors that have not been overwhelmed with spices, idea for those who love the tastes of Thailand without the intense heat.
When it comes to desserts, decadence is the word, if you want to indulge in some serious decadence then the house special Chocolate fondant with vanilla bourbon ice cream is a chocolate lovers dream and would perhaps be more aptly named orgasmic chocolate fondant. If your tastes run for something a little more fruity then the Fresh mango sorbet with vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberry coulis with whipped cream and almond should leave you more than pleasantly satisfied, for a splash of old fashioned fun try the Mathis take on a Banana split with strawberry, chocolate and vanilla ice cream, chocolate fudge, whipped cream and cherry. The Chocolate Liegeois of chocolate and vanilla ice cream with chocolate fudge, whipped cream and chocolate chip is another firm favorite and comes as a coffee version if you prefer.
If you fancy a bit of ‘cheers’ in your puddings then try Colonel lemon sorbet with vodka and lime slice, the Samui Coconut ice cream and banana sorbet with white rum and whipped cream, the Gringo with Lemon and mango sorbet, tequila and fresh strawberry coulis or the Canbou a Coconut sorbet with rum raisins ice cream, Malibu, fresh strawberry coulis, choc chip and whipped cream. It is worth nothing that all of the dishes on the dessert menu are homemade.
The well chosen wine list includes a superb Goiya Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa, an Argentinean Alma Mora Pinot Grigio, a light and refreshing French Les Embrunes Rose. Diners can choose from an elegant selection of reds and sparkling wines.
The drinks menu contains all of the popular local and imported beers as well as Memminger Weissbier and Memminger Premium from Germany, Alcopops, House wines, soft drinks and juices, Perrier, premium spirits Liquors, Vermouth’s, Cognac’s and Brandy as well as alcoholic and non alcoholic fresh fruit cocktails. Specialty teas and coffees are also available.
Café Mathis is a truly spectacular place to enjoy an evening, be it shooting some pool, enjoying drinks at the chic bar with friends or indulging in some luxurious food in a luxurious environment its hard to imagine anybody leaving feeling disappointed. The style, sophistication, attention to detail and beautifully thought out menu make this one dining experience that is quite unexpected in the unassuming village of Maenam.
Café Mathis is open from 3pm until midnight, closed on Mondays in low season.
For more information or to book a table call 087 693 1284 or visit the Facebook page by clicking here
Cafe Mathis is in on the main walking street road in Maenam. If you are coming from Bohuput drive into Maenam, go past Dan Auto on your right, then past the police station also on your right, then past the PTT petrol station on your right, when you come to the traffic lights take a right onto the main street. Cafe Mathis will then be on your left hand side next to Jordans and opposite Henkee store.
If you are coming from Nathon drive into Maenam, past Index furniture on your left, you will then pass a 7 Eleven on the right, a Family Mart and a Fresh Mart, on your right .You will pass The Deli and a 7 Eleven on your left before arriving at the traffic lights. Turn left at the traffic lights and you will find Cafe Mathis on your left hand side after Jordans and opposite Henkee Store.