Walking into the newly remodelled Coral Restaurant & Bar at Banyan The Resort, one can easily forget they are in Hua Hin. The feeling here is one of a beachside restaurant “down the shore” in an East Coast American city. White-washed picnic tables and chairs, with dark blue seat cushions piped with white, set the tone. I half expected a bucket of steamed seafood and corn on the cob to be poured in the middle of the table. Throughout the restaurant are other subtle touches – chandeliers hung with corded ropes, throw pillows printed with starfish and seahorses, blue, white and beige striped barstools – they all add to the illusion.
During a lunch time visit, I was dining with an out of town guest and we were fortunate to be served food from Coral and its sister poolside restaurant Splash. We started with a vodka-based drink from Splash called the Splash Blue Lagoon. With fresh juices and a dash of blue curacao syrup this was a refreshing and colourful treat. Then came the “Dragonita” – a margarita made with dragon fruit, this is a “don’t miss” drink. Other options included a Sea Breeze, a Strawberry Mojito, a non-alcoholic Tang Tang, and Icy Sparkling Mint. After our initial cocktails we switched to iced tea. My friend commented it was his favourite iced tea since he’d been in Thailand (on his eighth day at that point).
Then the feast began. First up was a Roma Sandwich from Splash. On top of fresh-baked bread was melted mozzarella cheese, plump tomatoes and fresh pesto. On the side was a small salad, and a generous basket of French fries. Next up was the Massaman Lamb Shank (Massaman Gae) from Coral. Full disclosure – I love lamb shank, and this dish did not disappoint. This was a first massaman-lamb pairing for me, and I will definitely be back for more. After the lamb, we were presented with another Coral specialty: Pan Seared Hokkaido Scallops. Perfectly cooked scallops sat beside a river of green pea puree. Also dotting the plate were pieces of pan-seared pork belly. The combination was delightful and my dining companion couldn’t get enough.
Finishing off our meal, we chose the Pineapple Crumble with Vanilla Ice-cream for dessert. It was even better than it sounds. I wanted to order a side of the vanilla sauce to take home and smother it over everything I could find. Splash is open daily from 11am – 6pm. There is also a Saturday night promotion called Meating & Fishing – a modern take on the classic Surf & Turf. This unique gimmick allows diners to barbecue their own meats and vegetables at various grilling stations around the perimeter of the seating area. Quite a fun concept – and yes, the staff will help you grill if you like.
Coral Restaurant & Bar is an all-day dining restaurant serving Thai and International cuisine, steaks and burgers. The restaurant is open from 6 am – 10:30 pm. There is a breakfast buffet from 6am – 10:30am, and then the regular menu takes over straight through until closing time.