The first thing that you notice as you enter The Restaurant is the giant crystal chandelier suspended below the domed ceiling. You’ll also be taken by the views available through the front windows with views across ornamental pools, lit pathways then the swimming pool and ocean beyond. ‘The Restaurant’ is the name of this dining establishment at the Dusit Thani which offers a weekly Monday night Buffet Carvery Dinner.
As well as the main large dining room, on a balmy evening, tables outside may be preferred with a tree covered terrace and beautiful garden setting. Outside you will also hear the strains of a Thai musical ensemble playing gentle music from nearby pavilion outside the Thai restaurant. I almost always prefer this sort of outdoor setting for a romantic dinner for two and this was no exception.
The word ‘carvery’ usually refers to a restaurant where roast meat is freshly sliced to order for customers, sometimes offering unlimited servings for a fixed price. Carveries are often found in pubs and hotels in European styled premises and are commonly held at weekends with traditional Sunday roasts for a large number of people. The image is one of a quantity rather than quality with diners often jostling for position and showing their own carving skills (or lack thereof!) as they load their plates with as much as they can hold. Not too sophisticated and often a ‘pig-out’ in more ways than one!
The second important word is ‘buffet’. The term buffet originally referred to the French sideboard furniture where the food was served; in other words ’help yourself’. Perhaps a style of dining which has become tainted by the image of large corporate gatherings or parties where hoards of hungry guests wander around with stacked plates.
The Restaurant’s version of a buffet carvery is much, much more; lacking nothing in sophistication and not compromising on standards of presentation or service. Of course carved roast was a main offering at the dinner, but in this case with skilled carvery staff standing by to plate your selection. Tender roasted leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic, roasted pork rack and roast Charolais grain fed beef with gravy were the features of this part of the dinner. The visible appeal of the choices is outstanding and I noticed others taking photographs before eating because the colours and presentation of the offerings were such a ‘feast for the eyes’. There’s no lack of sophistication in this buffet.
One of the advantages of a buffet is that you can see before you choose, sometimes a better alternative to choosing from the words on a menu, especially if you’re not familiar with the names of menu items or for that matter your knowledge of written English is limited. You chose from what is appealing to your eyes.
But first a glass of wine (or two) to prepare the palate. Before entering the restaurant you will see outside the front door a display of wine bottles as an indication of the world-wide choices available from the hotel cellars. In this case the chosen wine was a bottle of 2011 Californian Chardonnay. Bottled with the Dusit Thani label in California, this proved to be an ideal choice featuring light citrus aromas and delicate flavours with a creamy finish.
Service may be thought of as less important for a buffet styled dinner. However our experience at The Restaurant was really enhanced by the charming attention given to the table by Khun Maneehan. She offered explanations, advice and tasting of the wine (by us!) followed by doors being opened and smiling conversations on occasions. Never intrusive but always on hand and aware of any needs. When asked about the favourite part of her duties at the Dusit Thani, the answer was immediate. What she really likes is welcoming the guests and seeing them enjoy their dining experience. Khun Maneehan has been with the Dusit Thani since graduating from college in Udonthani 17 years ago. It is apparent that management of the hotel over the years has been doing something right to make sure they keep their staff happy, that’s important!
Before making your way to the carvery stations, a vast array of entrée selections are so visually appealing that it’s almost guaranteed that you won’t be able to resist at least one sample. I deliberately use the word ‘sample’ because that is how these tempters are presented. It’s really a matter of choosing which of the individually prepared and presented ‘samples’ you will simply collect and return to your table. Just as well the selection is in small sample size portions, as you do want to save some of your appetite for the carvery selection and dessert.
Similarly desserts offered beautifully prepared individual morsels so that you may choose more than one without damaging your waistline too much. The desert ‘samples’ are often layered within a small wine glass to extenuate the colours and show you what is on offer. A real smorgasbord (the Swedish version of a buffet) of sweet delights.
Here are some examples of what is on offer at the carvery buffet apart from the carvery itself. Not the full list but aimed to show you the variety on offer:
Shredded crab and advocado salsa, king prawns with egg and paprika filling, gado gado salad, rock lobster parisienne, scallop and shrimp thermidore, lobster bisque soup, dory fish fillet with fennel and white wine sauce, fusilli with salmon and creamed vodka sauce, braised chicory endive roll with gratinated ham and mornay sauce, assorted caviar, paprika sticks, Yorkshire pudding, tomota saba and MORE!
For such a renowned establishment as the Dusit Thani, I suppose that you should expect a fine dining experience at The Restaurant. However my expectations were exceeded to the point where I found myself constantly smiling and gazing around at the scene. Just a fabulous visual and culinary delight.
DUSIT THANI HUA HIN
MONDAY EVENINGS: CARVERY BUFFET (6.30 -10.30P.M.)
Phone: 66 3244 2100