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I have said it before and I will say it again, just when you think you have found the best dining opportunity in Koh Samui another one pops up and raises that bar just a little higher! Introducing Zama, a fabulous rooftop restaurant in Bangrak.
I can honestly say that there is really nowhere else in Samui quite like Zama. Located on a rooftop on the new wing of the Prana Resort in Bangrak this restaurant has it all, ambience, ocean views, style, sophistication, and Fine Thai and Modern European Cuisines. And better still it is brought to you by our very own boys from the ever popular The Larder!
One of the things that I consider, when thinking about where to indulge my senses in fine cuisine, is parking, it seems to be in short supply these days, so the first thing that impressed me here was the more than ample parking both in the resort and street side.
There are two options when it comes to making your way up to this fabulous rooftop restaurant, a rather enchanting spiral staircase or a rather ‘quirky’ lift. Get ready to take a deep breath in when you reach the top, it really is quite breathtaking. There is nothing quite like being in a restaurant that offers an air of sophistication, well chosen and very comfortable seating combined with high end fixtures and fittings, but still has a warm and inviting atmosphere. What is even more impressive is that you can enjoy this splendid environment to relax and sip a few cocktails if you don’t feel like eating, however one glance at the menu and it would seem unlikely that anybody could pass up the opportunity to indulge in such culinary riches.
But let’s start with those cocktails!
As you would expect all of the classics can be found on the menu mixed to perfection using high quality spirits, however, it’s the Funky Cocktails list that should immediately draw your attention! I started out my journey of discovery with a swanky little number called The Toffee Apple. This incredible blend of House Infused Toffee Vodka, Apple Juice, Lemon and Caramel really pack a toffee apple flavor and is a very adult way of revisiting your youth. Playful and exciting, smooth and refreshing this is a cocktail you have to be a tad careful with as it goes down just a little too easily!
My next pre dinner delight was something that at first glance sounded rather bizarre on the menu, the Trick or Treat, a rather weird sounding blend of Pumpkin Puree, Maple Syrup, Coconut Milk, Cinnamon, White Rum and Whiskey. It was too intriguing not to try, but I am oh so glad that I did and I would highly recommend it to anybody, this drink gives you a different flavor with every sip as you roll the exquisite combination around your tongue. It put me in mind of jumping around in autumn leaves, it’s rich, deep and incredibly satisfying and very hard to put down.
Of course there are plenty more to choose from such as the Rosie’s Zippy Rhubarb with Gold Tequila, Homemade Rhubarb Syrup, Fresh Rosemary, Chili, Fresh lime and Sea Salt and the Electric Soup that blends Vodka, Malibu, Fresh Ginger, Kaffir Lime Leaf, Lemongrass and Chili! Simply divine. As hard as it is to move on with so much left on the list –move on we must.
The water at Zama comes still or sparkling and is the classy Speyside Glenlivet variety! Everything here shouts good taste and the water is of course no exception. There are some temping coolers and shakes that include the a delightful Honey Lavender Lemonade made with local honey and a rather decadent Mint Choc Chip made with fresh banana, dark chocolate, milk, homemade yoghurt and peppermint. As well as soft drinks and spirits a very nice selection of coffee and Ronnefeldt teas have also been loving included in the drinks menu.
Choosing from the dinner menu is rather an agonizing affair with so many incredible dishes to choose from. All have been put together with love, creativity and culinary mastery. Being something of a cheese fanatic the Cheddar Cheese Brulee immediately caught my attention; it is created with parsley & almond pesto and served with green asparagus which works perfectly with this humble cheese that has been tended by excellence to reach the dizzy heights of the fine dining table. Of course with my cheese affliction it was very hard to ignore the Pan Fried Feta Cheese that comes with a well balanced combination of tastes and festival of flavours, namely green beans, hazelnut and soused apple, simply sublime. The Wild Mushroom Fricassee with grilled garlic toast and thyme crème fraiche is anther cheeky little number that is hard to ignore as is the Salt Beef and a rather up-market Seared Hokkaido Scallop, King Prawn & Crispy Baby Squid temptation.
If it’s a taste of Thai that sets your senses alight then try the Laab Tuna, a devilish combination of Tuna tartare, mint, roasted rice and red onion or the Tom Kha Hoy Dum with Australian mussels, coconut milk, galangal and lemongrass.
The main course is just as tricky to choose from with dishes such as Slow Cooked Leg of Duck with carrot and potato puree and braised red cabbage, a delicious Pan fried red snapper and the most incredible Maple Soy Marinated Salmon that is joyfully uncomplicated, thee tendency to overcomplicate this beautiful fish has been ignored here and the salmon steak is the star of the show, the elegance of this dish comes from its simplicity and is served with Olive oil poached fennel, feta cheese and garlic peas, the subtle flavor of maple is pure culinary genius.
A rather less uncomplicated but equally impressive dish is the Roasted Rump of Lamb served with garlic risotto and roasted root vegetables. The sweetness of the roots, the tenderness of the lamb and the creaminess of the risotto interact beautifully with each other and allow you to create a different taste sensation as you mix different elements of this well balanced dish together on your fork for the next oral explosion of delight. Watch out for the risotto though, it is rather trying to steal the show and would make a worthy dish in itself with no other elements required. The Serrano Wrapped Pork Tenderloin and the Seared Sea Prawns are also very tempting as indeed are the rest of the dishes on the western mains menu. Bringing back the influence of the east the Mussaman Veal Cheek is a hard dish to ignore as is the Twice Cooked Pork Belly, Fried Tiger Prawns and the Chilli Crab with Singapore Chili Sauce and Mud Crab.
Western sides include Buttered Mashed Potato, Herb Sauteed Potatoes, Herb Fries, Buttered Asparagus, Broccoli & Toasted Almond, Garlic Sautéed Mushrooms, Cheddar Creamed Corn and Thyme & Parmesan Flat Bread. Eastern sides include Stir Fried Vegetables, Thai Kale with Oyster Sauce Rice Noodles, Green Mango Salad, Cucumber Chili Salad and Mushroom, Chili & Hot Basil.
So, if after just reading that you can handle dessert let us have a look at what is on offer.
Well for a start ‘Burnt’ Lemon Tarte with Vanilla Crème Fraiche and Candied Lemon is packed full of appeal, the Black Pepper Strawberries with Rosemary Shortbread and Gin and Tonic sorbet are also screaming for attention, the Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake and White Chocolate Cremeux will appeal to chocolate lovers, the Cardamon Iced Parfait will no doubt tempt those with a taste for the exotic, the Hazelnut & Hennessy Cream Float will float the boat of those who enjoy decadent luxury and the Zama Cheese Selection will have cheese lovers such as myself quivering! Of course there is a good selection of locally made Rossini Ice cream for those who like to end their evenings keeping it simple.
The wine list is well chosen and has bottles and glasses that pair perfectly with each dish, if you are unsure then all you have to do is ask. The staff at Zama are incredibly friendly without being over familiar and have a ‘nothing is too much trouble’ approach to being an integral part of your Zama dining experience. One suspects, that like every other element of this well put together dining haven, they have been rather carefully selected.
Another impressive element of this roof top dining extravaganza is the music, loud enough to enhance the atmosphere and quiet enough not to intrude on your conversation. The tracks a varied with something to appeal to every diner and will no doubt have your toes tapping, if you don’t quite feel that busting out the odd move would be appropriate, but in this friendly atmosphere you would more than likely get away with it, I personally muttered “oh I love this track” more than once during our splendid evening.
The décor here is chic and clearly chosen by a person of taste; the lighting is low level and blends in with a good selection of plants. Table lighting is by way of (non smelly) ceresin lamps that can be adjusted to suit your mood, and turned up to read the menu.
There really is nothing not to like about Zama and if like me you are very reluctant to leave you can console yourself with the fact that it is also open for breakfast with menu that will not fail to delight those who like to add a touch of class to the best meal of the day. Zama is open for lunch when yet another fine array of dishes can be enjoyed and it has a swim up pool bar that nonresident guests are welcome to enjoy.
What more could one ask?
The rooftop Bar is open from 7am until 11pm, the kitchen from 7am until 10pm, the pool bar from 11m until 7pm and the lower floor wine bar from 4pm until 11pm.
The only thing left I have to say about this restaurant, other than the surprisingly affordable prices is that I loved the cow, but will leave you to work that one out for yourself!