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The name Kanda has origins in Native America and denotes magical powers, in Hindu it means a wise person and in Thai it means beloved.
The Kanda Residences in Koh Samui are nothing if not magical. This five star terrace resort enjoys an incredible location in a serene cove and the RockPool restaurant within the resort has to be one of the most elegant dining spots in Koh Samui that sits just inches away from the turquoise sea of the Gulf.
There are three dining areas at the RockPool and each one has its own charm. Just meters above the beach there is a formal dining area that has tables set on a semi al fresco hard wood verandah with a marquee style roof structure and an open plan kitchen where the fine art of exquisite food preparation can be seen taking place. Weather permitting a superb spot to enjoy some al-fresco dinning is around the swimming pool complete with its magical views, however to really enjoy the unsurpassed RockPool experience you should head towards the sophisticated bar/lounge facility has a two hundred meter deck that extends over the water’s edge adorned with luxurious furniture. This is the most perfect spot for enjoying a pre-dinner sunset, exotic cocktail, delicious tapas and immerse yourself in the top rung of dining experiences by choosing exquisite dishes from the exciting menu while that the same time enjoying unsurpassed service.
What makes enjoying the terrace such a fabulous experience is the combination of fine dining, with relaxing but indulgent comfort. The terrace sits under the shade of the branches of a beautiful ancient tree. The rocks below the deck are surrounded by interesting shadows created from imaginative floodlights that also give you a visual experience of the waves lapping onto the shore. The low level ambient music and low level imaginative lighting and use of candles creates the most romantic and magical ambiance and the use of sofas rather than chairs provide sumptuous comfort and take the formality out of fine dining. This is not to say that you will end up feeling as if you are having a couch dinner in front of the television, far from it, the sofas at the RockPool are stacked with cushions to ensure you can adjust your position from formal to informal as the evening progresses or as your mood takes you.
There is something about this incredible location that makes you feel as if you are on the only inhabited corner of the island and the attentiveness of the staff certainly makes you feel as if you are the only diners in the restaurant even when you are not. Here dining under the stars and the protection of the tree, starts when the bread arrives at the table and gives you the first hint of the sort of quality you can expect for the rest of your meal. Bread is bread you might be thinking but not here, the bread here is baked to perfection and when mixed with oil and balsamic, fully light butter or the delicate flavors of the salsa certainly wets your appetite for what is to come.
As you ponder the menu, your taste buds will be tantalized yet again with a complimentary amuse bouche, such as crispy tuna, that like every other dish is presented beautifully and is a master piece of colours, flavors and textures. It is clear from the offset that more than a little bit of imagination, thought and passion has gone into each and every one of the dishes served at the RockPool.
So, just what is on the menu? Well, no review of the RockPool would be complete without a mention of the oysters that this restaurant is famous for, and that are flown in from France, Ireland, Japan and the US alive and packed on ice and seaweed to ensure the freshness and quality. You can chose from Fine de Claire, Marennes, Coffin Bay or Irish oysters, all of which can be enjoyed can be enjoyed with Classic mignonette, Kilpatrick – with bacon, shallots, tomato coulis, Tabasco Rockefeller – with English spinach, cream, onion and panko breadcrumbs, Watermelon – with fresh watermelon sorbet & yuzu tapioca, Wasabi – with fresh wasabi mayo and teriyaki caviar or simply with Cucumber and mint salsa.
If decadence is your thing then another impressive sight on the menu is the Canadian lobster that comes grilled with either a thermidor sauce or with garlic butter, fires and salad.
If you would like to try several dishes or you fancy something light the tapas menu is just brimming with delights such as Mussels with bacon and leeks, Crackle prawns, Crispy squid, Spicy Atlantic scallop, Salmon tartare, Octopus a la plancha, Crispy pork belly, Chicken wings & chorizo, Lamb chops, Jamon Iberico de bellota, Lamb beignets, Haloumi, Mixed olives, Edamame, Grilled aubergine, and Wild mushrooms.
The starter menu includes some fabulous salads such as the, goats cheese and local honeycomb salad that is an extravaganza of tastes, flavors, textures and colours that are presented on a slate in such an impressive way it is almost a shame to dig in and spoil the show, however you will be pleased that you did when you feel the indulgence this imaginative dish provides. The earthy flavors of the beetroot combine perfectly with the richness and decadence of molten goat’s cheese and the warm sweetness of the honeycomb. The poached lobster salad and the fresh salmon gravadlax salad are also more than worth a mention. Other great choices of starter are the Truffle risotto, the Foie gras, the Seafood crepe with scallops, prawn, salmon and crab chive with a carrot and ginger emulsion and pea shoot salad and of course the ‘cooked to perfection’ King scallops with celeriac, pear and crisp ham, yet another masterpiece of taste and texture combinations.
After you have enjoyed a pallet cleanser, such as the cool and refreshing Watermelon sorbet it is time to move on to the main course.
On the main course menu for meat lovers there is plenty to get excited about from the land. The grade 6 wagyu is certainly eye catching both in terms of quality and presentation. The crispy pork belly and free range chicken with black truffles and Jerusalem artichokes are also impressively put together in terms of taste and presentation. The rack of Australian lamb that comes with mashed and crispy potato, confit byaldi, courgette puree and pickled shallot will delight any lamb lovers, not to mention fine dining lover as will the wagyu beef cheek that is braised in red wine and barley and comes with glazed root vegetables, spinach and horse radish cream dumpling. The sharpest instrument you will need to cut this meat is your tongue.
For those who enjoy the riches of the sea the choice is equally impressive, with White snapper, Steamed seabass with risotto of king prawns and peas, lemon and caper butter, Salmon with sautéed mushrooms, Japanese egg plant and pink ginger and Red snapper with onion puree, chorizo, mussels, king prawns, olives, a tomato concasse and a rich bouliliabaise sauce.
Vegetarians, or non vegetarians for that matter will be equally impressed with the Wild mushroom duxelle that comes stuffed with kia lan, celeriac puree and baby vegetables in a mushroom sauce, the crisp polenta and roasted pumpkin parpdelle is also a delightful vegetarian dish.
If you are after a taste of Thailand then the Royal Thai Cuisine menu is also packed full of culinary delights. The Miang Trio of wild pepper leaves stuffed with a fine dice of ginger, chili, like toasted coconut, one tuna ceviche, one crispy pork and one classic with roasted galangal jam should hit the mark. Other notable dishes include Thai beef salad made with Australian rib eye, Banana blossom salad, Yam saab snapper with tangy young mango salad, shallots and cashew nuts and Tom kha salmon – a classic coconut galangal soup with a salmon and a pumpkin twist.
The Penang beef curry is made with tender wagyu and other curries include Kao sio, Green curry, a Penang style curry with prawns and Massamum with beef cheek. For noodle and rice lovers there is also Pad Thai, Pad See Eiw and Kao Pad. If treats from the wok are your thing try the wok fried Aussie beef with garlic and pepper or the Twice cooked chicken breast with cashew nuts or even the Mussels and clams with chili jam, spring onions and sweet basil. You will find organic brown jasmine rice, crunchy vegetables and crispy polenta on the sides menu.
If you have room for dessert, and it is worth keeping some room, then cheese lovers will be please to see an assortment of continental cheeses with quince jelly grapes, chutney and biscuits. Chocolate lovers will be tempted by the Chocolate valrhona warm chocolate soufflé that is served with macadamia nut ice cream and the decadent Triple chocolate brownies. If you like fruit then try the passion fruit Malibu panna cotta or the Feuillantine of strawberry and if it a taste of home you are after then the warm apple tart will certainly hit the mark.
In terms of liquid refreshment the drinks menu is just as impressive as the food. The menu has a fabulous range of aperitifs, whisky and bourbons, rum, vodka, gin and an amazing selection of beers that includes Stella Artois, Asahi and Leffe Blonde. There is plenty to shout about on the cocktails menu too with every classic you would expect to find in a restaurant of this quality as well as a superb range of signature cocktails such as Grilled pineapple and cardamom martini, Burnt lemon and vanilla margarita, Split roasted Mekong Mary and the delicious RockPool Martini.
The impressive wine menu is not only bursting with the treasures of the grape but also includes a piece on ‘A balanced approach to good wine, ‘The techniques of wine tasting’ and a guide to champagne. The well thought out and extensive wine menu includes whites, reds, roses’ and champagnes. After your meal you have the opportunity to indulge in an equally impressive range of cognac, calvados, Armagnac, liqueurs, port, pimm’s and grappa and of course coffee’s and, less obviously, rare and beautiful teas as well as homemade ice teas.
Dining at the RockPool is a truly unique experience. From the moment you enter the Kanda estates you will feel relaxed, pampered and delighted by the spectacular surroundings and well as the extremely professional and extremely warm welcome you will receive by the reception staff. The trip down to the RockPool restaurant involves a warm evening stroll or a trip on a buggy that meanders its way through tree lined avenues full of colourful bourgevilla that will put you in mind of quaint European villages. Another warm welcome awaits at the restaurant itself and the staff here are as inviting as those you will find at the reception desk. The restaurant staff are highly trained and highly efficient and seem to magically appear when you want them and equally magically disappear when you are enjoying some romantic privacy. The team here are willing, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about both the dishes and the wines. Dining at the RockPool is a must for any visitor to Koh Samui and a treat for anybody who lives here who is after something extra special but at a price that won’t put you off your food.
RockPool Samui is located at 80/32 Moo 5, Tambon Bophut on Koh Samui 84320 077 234 500 just 5 minutes drive from Chaweng Beach heading towards Choeng Mon.
For more information visit the RockPool website by clicking Here
The Samui Times would like to thank Executive Chef Christopher and his team for their wonderful hospitality.