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As anybody who has spent a considerable amount of time in Koh Samui will know, it is not often you come across somewhere you have never been before that takes your breath away, but every now and again, residents and visitors to the island stumble across somewhere truly magical that leaves one in something of a quandary as to whether to share that magic by telling all of your friends about it or keep the secret all to yourself.
The Sea La Vie Pool Bar and Restaurant at the Tango Luxe Beach Villa Resort certainly falls into the ‘magical’ category and the resort itself is enigmatic and sophisticated. The beach restaurant can be reached by a pleasant stroll that will take you through the stylish lobby and then along a plant lined wooden walkway that takes you past private, luxurious villas directly onto the pool terrace.
The wide pool sits above the beach and is surrounded by wooden decking that wraps around the palm trees that line the front of the property and edge out over the water. Here you will find what can only be described as a picture perfect hidden gem of a restaurant that as well as offering fine cuisine offers unparalleled views of the sunset in a nook and cranny of the island that is so private you could be forgiven for thinking you were the only ones on the island.
After the sun has set, imaginative and very effective mood lighting creates the most romantic atmosphere and the sounds of the waves gently lapping onto the shore combined with the relaxing, low level, emotive music in the background complete the ingredients required to create the perfect environment to enjoy cocktails, wines, beers, spirits and fresh, locally sourced, lovingly created dishes from the temping menu that has been put together in a way that only an experienced chef with a serious passion for cuisine would know how to do.
No slice of heaven on earth would be complete without angels and the team at Tango Luxe almost have wings, smiling as they take care of your every need, even before you realize that you need something, and in a such a way that at times you hardly notice they are there.
As well as everything you would expect to find on the drinks menu there are a few cocktails well worth a mention, the Chi Chi is a heady blend of frozen vodka, Malibu, pineapple juice and coconut cream, smooth, cooling and refreshing. Another great choice is the Around the World with rum, gin, vodka, tequila, 100 pipers whiskey, de menth green and lime juice but if you want something really special the only choice can be the Tom Yum Martini, the drink with a sting in its tail! However be warned this is one little tipple that is highly addictive. Like the food menu the drinks menu is surprisingly incredibly reasonably priced for a resort of this standard. And for residents of the island who enjoy fine dining but feel that high end resort prices are more suited to the budget of tourists than locals this is one place that will certainly prove you wrong. The prices at Sea Le Vie have been adjusted to allow everybody to indulge no matter what their budget and that really does make a change as refreshing as the cocktails.
Of course no decent dining establishment is complete without a well thought out wine list and you certainly won’t be left disappointed here and if the food menu does not excite your senses then there has to be something wrong with you. Slovakian Chef George joined the team at Tango Luxe in April after working in Germany, Austria and a twelve year stint in Ireland that left him feeling more of an Irish man than Slovakian. When he arrived he reduced the existing menu to focus on beautifully created dishes with subtle blends of flavors and textures that encompass local, fresh produce. George has a passion for everything homemade which includes his breads, pizzas, pastas and pickles, ice creams and plans are afoot for a range of homemade cheeses. Fresh, nutritious and organic it is very easy to see that George not only puts passion into his cooking but actually puts a little bit of his soul into each dish.
So what is on the menu? Well let’s start with the starters. First off the starting block are Deep fried vegetable spring rolls served with those ‘ever so delicious’ homemade plum sauce and mixed pickles, then Chicken satay served with peanut sauce and a delicious sweet cucumber and shallot Acar, Calamares served with lime and Tartar and the most incredible Tango sticky chicken wings in a beautiful Teriyaki sauce served with homemade tangy mango chutney. If salad is your thing you have a choice of the hearty Tango house salad that comes with incredibly fresh crunch salad leaves served with slow cooked tomatoes, orange segments, refreshing water melon cubes and caramelized cashew nuts dressed with citrus vinaigrette or an equally fresh Caesar salad garnished with herb croutons, shaved parmesan, hard boiled quail eggs and flat bacon. Another starter that is very special indeed is the Mango and crabmeat rolls severed with mango and ginger sauce and garnished with crispy bacon, however the king of starters at this superb dining establishment has to be the Mozzarella rice balls served with homemade pesto and spicy tomato chutney and like the Tom Yum Martini are highly addictive!
The delights awaiting you on the main course menu include Marinated pork loin served on a homemade white mushroom Pappardelle, Grilled chicken supreme served with mashed sweet potato, creamy oyster mushrooms, slow cooked cherry tomatoes and garnished with tempura spring onion. For lovers of seafood the Pan fried sea bass served on a white wine mussels broth has to be worth a mention as does the Seared scallops, served with a dragon fruit salsa, buttered green asparagus and roasted pumpkin with bacon, to Goong Ma-kham pan fried 2 jumbo prawns in sweet and our tamarind sauce garnished with crispy shallot and severed with plain Jasmine rice is anther seafood lovers dish not to be missed. If you are more of a carnivore then you will not miss out the Beef tenderloin steak served with honey lemon glazed prawns, prawn Hollandaise sauce and hand cut chips and slow cooked cherry tomatoes should fulfill your meaty desires. As well as the main menu you can enjoy daily specials such as Grilled pork chop served with bacon mashed potatoes, grilled baby corn and red wine jus and Grilled salmon steak served with green asparagus wrapped in bacon, sautéed potatoes and white wine-garlic butter emulsion.
If you have a taste for the oriental then you can indulge your senses in Tom kah kai, Tom yam goong and Gang kiew waan kai, Gang Masaman Nua, all cooked to perfection with the right amount of aromatic herbs and spices, don’t forget to tell your waiter your preference on spicy heat in these dishes.
It is hard to imagine that those with a sweet tooth would be disappointed with dishes such as Passion fruit Panna Cotta with homemade cookies, mango and passion fruit ice cream, Frozen yoghurt with caramel topping and roasted cashew nuts, Chocolate fondant with homemade ice cream and Tango banana fritters with wild honey topping served with homemade coconut ice cream on the menu!
This exquisite menu can also be enjoyed at the Qi Oriental cuisine lobby Bar and restaurant at the front of the resort and a separate lunch menu full of delights is also available as well as an exciting breakfast menu. If you have the fortune to be staying in one of the incredible private villas full of artifacts lovingly collected from around the country by the owner of the resort who has exquisite taste for all things oriental then your meals can be enjoyed in villa with another find range of in villa dining opportunities.
It is well worth keeping an eye on the Sea La Vie Pool Bar and Restaurant Facebook page, that can be accessed by clicking here, for daily specials and set menus that are set to hit the menu in the very near future.
So there you have it, the secret is out, the dining experience at the Sea La Vie Pool Bar and Restaurant is not to be missed and if you live on the island it will instantly become one of your favorite places to dine and thanks to the realistic prices this is one indulgence you will not have to reserve purely for special occasions or when somebody else is footing the bill.
For more information call 077 248 174 – or visit the Tango Luxe Beach Villa Resort website by clicking here