My greeting from Khun Koy on arrival at the Hua Hin Hills Bistro and Wine Cellar for a 1 PM lunch was “I hope that you are feeing hungry!” Skipping breakfast and any earlier temptations meant that was an absolute YES; several hours later, the same question would have been answered with an emphatic no!
Our dining and wining experience included these three courses of exquisite Thai cuisine featuring dishes from the very north of Thailand; just one of the regions being ‘visited’ monthly. But then an unexpected finale that really meant ‘im laew;’ or to put it politely in English, more than an elegant sufficiency. Krabong: This is a favorite kind of crispy fried snack in the north of Thailand and a great entree. Variations can be made by replacing the pumpkin or other vegetables with banana flowers, green papayas, green squash, tiny fish or prawns. Aeb Pla: Fillets of fish, coated in spices and herbs, wrapped into a banana leaf package, and grilled. An eruption of spice, aromatic herb, and steam, it was sensationally delicious – I loved how the fish was moist and oily, yet is still had the smoky flavour of being grilled. Gang Hung Lae: This dish has a wonderful exotic aroma especially from garlic and ginger. The pork is simmered to tenderise and traditionally there is no need to use expensive cuts.
Perhaps something like a Thai version of massaman curry although it is said to have originated in Myanmar then introduced to Thailand and modified to suit local tastes. Wine pairings, included the initial sparkling Mionetto Prosecco Brut, through Kellermeister Reisling, Chilean Chardonnay, ‘Mud House’ New Zealand Pinot Noir and probably a few other fine wines. Thai food has proven it’s compatibility with not only both the local Monsoon variety from Siam Wines, but with the best drop from every continent available. Sometime during the course of my lunchtime conversation with gracious host Khun Koy, I asked her about the best local source of beef, specifically steak for the home barbecue. Pon Yang Kham beef was the advice, from Sakhon Nakhon Province. This is the home of livestock cooperative Thailand’s best beef, thanks to its French hybrid cows between two best breeds Charolais and Limosin sponsored by the French government. Some 15 minutes after that topic of conversation was concluded, I was presented with another course, absolutely without any suggestion from me. Just to show how a steak can be tender and succulent in Thailand, a magnificent medium rare steak arrived. I was too amazed to ask about the preparation and use of the herbs and spices which made this yet anuther memorable component of the dinner. The only issue was my inability to finish more than half of the steak, definitely im laew!
We are often asked for fine dining recommendations, particularly by those wishing to impress important visitors by taking them to the best of Thailand’s wining and dining establishments. The Hua Hin Hills Bistro and Wine Cellar offers not only traditional regional dishes but an opportunity to experience the burgeoning Thai wine culture. As my ‘steak experience showed, western menu items are also superb. The Bistro is located at the Villa Market on the second floor with seating for 40+ patrons. You can now enjoy the free flow wine promotion every Thursday to Saturday from 6 to 8 PM. Sparkling, white
or red wines with a dish of appertiser or salad can be savored at 499 THB. Where: Villa Market Hua Hin, second floor, 218/1-4 Petchkasem Rd. Open: Noon to 9.30 PM. Contact for bookings: +66 (0) 32 511 496/7/8, Email winecellar@huahinhills. com. Footnote: To visit the Hua Hin Hills Vineyard, including the refurbished Sala Wine Bar and Bistro, you can join the shuttle service from the Villa Market premises at either 10.30 AM or 3 PM. Bookings are advised.