Dusit Thani and the Royal Resort Beach Town of Hua Hin have a long connection, with their Hua Hin Resort recently celebrating its 30th year of operations. Not content with that milestone, this is a hotel that’s definitely moving forward with purpose and innovation, particularly on the food side. The ‘Let’s Eat Hua Hin’ team visited to learn more.
Offering a choice of four restaurants from authentic Royal Thai at ‘Ban Benjarong’, Italian and Mediterranean fare at ‘San Marco’, oceanfront seafood and grill at ‘Rim Talay,’ and the focus of our visit – the extensive offering from the resort’s all-day dining ‘The Restaurant.’
Twinkling and gleaming gold, the two-story-high spiralling cone-shaped glass chandelier is undoubtedly attention-grabbing and an impressive feature of ‘The Restaurant’. The dark polished timber floorboards fan out from the central point in this octagon-shaped room. Double story high windows give a glorious sense of space and light. As we settle at our socially distanced table, our outlook is the resort’s Olympic sized pool, sun decks, and ocean. Deck and garden lights bring a romantic ambience as day passes into evening.
Our menu regularly references DO Farm and DO Farm Organic, so we had to know more. The story goes that in early 2019, General Manager Pipat Patthananusorn had the idea to transform an area of unused land that was once the resort’s iconic Polo grounds and stables into something more appealing and valuable to resort staff and guests. Brainstorming sessions delivered the idea of a vegetable garden.
Though early efforts were not very fruitful, with the guidance of local experts, the initial concept has now evolved into an expansive 2 rai (close to an acre) certified organic farm supplying a myriad of salad and other vegetables, herbs, and fruit for the resort. Emboldened with their success, a further 1 rai of underutilised land is now producing organic Thai Fragrant rice. The first harvest in January of this year delivered an impressive 220 kg of milled grain, feeding resort staff and guests. Now with its own rescued water buffalo, the title of Farm can be used quite literally.
And so, to our food journey, starting in Italy with a Burrata, Tomato and Basil salad. Fresh, soft, and creamy Hua Hin produced Burrata, sweet tomatoes, plus Basil Pesto, and fresh Basil from the DO Farm. Continuing the Mediterranean theme is an Antipasto platter with local oven-baked mussels topped with a zesty gratin, deep-fried Hua Hin squid, a delicious selection of cured meats and cheese.
Subsequent dishes continued the theme of fresh local produce, plus bounty direct from DO (Dusit Organic) Farm.
We started with Grilled Tiger Prawns with a Spicy Vegetable-fern Salad. The light crunch of the blanched and sauteed indigenous paco-fern with Thai chilli and spice heat was a tremendous partner to the luscious, perfectly grilled prawns. The grilled salmon with DO Farm salad and a sesame dressing was well-balanced and prepared. It is designated as a “Live Well, Eat Well” dish on the menu, meaning ideally suited to healthy food focused diners.
For mains, we sampled three dishes. A Surf ‘n’ Turf of local tiger prawns, fish roe, and Australian ribeye accompanied by homemade potato gnocchi with DO Farm Pesto sauce. The light and fluffy pesto gnocchi was a great companion for quality beef and sweet prawns. Next were Barracuda fillets, caught in the waters just in front of the resort and served with seared scallops in a spicy coconut curry sauce, Southern Thailand style prawn and sea blight fritters and DO Farm organic rice. The soft crunch of the fritter added a nice texture to an already tasty dish.
‘Best seller’, this dish has been on every menu for the resort’s 30-year history. Pan-fried fillets of Pla Kapong (Sea Bass) with turned potatoes, garlic spinach, and a sauce of tomato, capers, lemon, and sea salt. Flavours of the Mediterranean on one plate and presented on a distinctly ocean themed tray.
Three desserts to bring this fab food journey to its conclusion. A pie of Phetchaburi Rose-Apples with homemade vanilla ice cream. Slices of the crispy, slightly sour apple and ground almond are set in concentric circles within the buttery pastry case and baked. Our verdict. A plate of yummy deliciousness. We also indulged in straight from the oven Green Tea Souffle with Raspberry Sorbet.
And finally, a playful combination of two Thai favourites. Mango Sticky Rice with Thai Cotton Candy. Juicy slices of ripe mango presented rose petal-like atop a layer of sticky rice and accompanied by a miniature version of Roti Sai Mai. This street food is synonymous with Ayutthaya and is a colourful and flavourful dessert in which cotton candy is combined with soft, paper-thin, Pandan-flavoured crepes.
Another innovation, brought on in response to the current tourism downtown, is a Food Stall Pop-up on Petchkasem Road outside the main resort entrance. Happening daily from 6 am to 6 pm, you can purchase takeaway resort produced meals and snacks at exceptionally affordable prices, plus fresh produce from the DO Farm. During our restaurant visit, we sampled three dishes – an egg noodle with pork ribs, Thai beef shanks with rice, and a selection of Chinese dumplings – all of which we would happily take home.
To ensure variety for guests and Hua Hin residents alike, the hotel also offers weekly food promotions. For example, at San Marco on Friday evening, an Antipasto platter for THB 450++, or poolside at the Thai Yam Bar on Saturday evenings, a Seafood Platter for THB 750++ including a free dessert.
For more information on the resort’s promotions, any of its restaurant offerings, or reservations, visit the resort’s website, email email@example.com or phone 032 520 009. Dusit Thani Hua Hin is located on Petchkasem Road north of the airport.
By Michael Cullen