Ian’s Restaurant & Black Angus Steak House near Cicada Market is a standout addition to Hua Hin’s, well-served dining repertoire. It is achieving quite a reputation. The first impression on stepping into Chef Ian’s premises is its distinctive ambience. The two-story, neo-colonial bungalow is set back from bustling Khao Takiab Road. Entry is via a canopy of mature, Frangipani trees shading the bromeliads and lending their waft to the evening air.
Diners enjoy choices of setting: indoor air-conditioned, courtyard alfresco, or an annex for larger groups. Cuisine is Euro-centric or Thai-style, or Western-with-Thai-flair (from two separate kitchens) – while the menu is à la carte or of daily, ‘Chef’s creations’.
But make no mistake. As the name suggests, the major feature of this Hua Hin restaurant marching smartly up the league tables, is the masterful, creative and Savoy-trained, Chef Ian Jones, this is Ian’s show and Ian’s passion.
In addition to being proprietor, Ian personally attends the local markets daily, selecting the finest ingredients (some gleaned from scarce & prized sources). Local knowledge and seasonal availability provide the inspiration for famed daily ‘Specials’, complementing an already diverse menu. Somehow, Chef Ian still generally finds time to emerge from his kitchen to personally introduce himself to diners.
First up on the night we dined was a selection of Appetizers; a creation-of-the-day being a type of ‘gâteau d’aubergine’ with goat’s cheese centre, artfully surrounded by refreshing Beetroot and topped with Thai Basil – sourced from the back garden. This was followed by the shared Asian Platter; individual tempura prawns, calamari, spring rolls and samosa accompanied by a selection of three dipping sauces – tartare, aioli or lime pickle with mayonnaise.
This was followed by a Soup course – delicious Fennel & Carrot – accompanied by crostini.
Mains sampled were also a combination of ‘Chef’s creation’ and à la carte. First up was the Special; roasted Codfish on spring onion mash, dressed with an exquisite vierge made from sun dried tomatoes (prepared on the estate), olive oil & capers, and garnished with estate-growth asparagus. A second main dish melded the cultures; slow-roasted Pork Belly (superbly crackled) served with Asian greens, Shitake mushrooms and served in green pepper sauce on a pilaf of one-year-old, Thai Hom Mali Rice. Also from the menu, a perfect, Black Angus tenderloin steak, served with Portobello mushrooms and asparagus, with a red-wine sauce on the side. The steak came with a side-dish of what may be Hua Hin’s finest chips – chunky-cut and crispy.
Our event concluded with two Desert dishes. First up was the to-die-for trio of three chocolate desserts. Next came Ian’s signature desert – Sticky Toffee Pudding liberally coated with warm toffee sauce and topped with ice-cream (all guaranteed calorie-free unless somebody sees you eating it).
Chef Ian Jones trained at the Savoy in London, and worked in Portugal and Jersey, prior to venturing to pursue his profession in Asia. The comprehensive dinner menu is impossible to categorize – more ‘global’ than simply fusion – reflecting as it does Chef Ian’s vast and widespread experience. The very best of Thai herbs, spices and local or seasonal delights; British (obviously); hints of French (Duck foie gras, parfaits & confit); Italian (Mushroom ravioli); Australian Beef; NZ Lamb, though nothing identifiable from Antarctica.
Food critique, Bill Marsano, opined, “The British Empire was created as a by-product of desperate Englishmen roaming the world in search of a decent meal.”
Whatever, that historic global pursuit for good cuisine was wildly successful. Chef Ian Jones has combined the best of that earlier global roaming, in a part of the world offering the very freshest of tropical and temperate ingredients, and spiced with Thailand’s emphasis on cuisine. Ian’s Restaurant & Steak House in Hua Hin, Thailand is the outcome.
Due to Covid, the Restaurant seats only 20 people, and Reservations are recommended – phone 099 497 3040, or Messenger: @ianrestaurant.
Business Hours are 13:00 to 22:30 daily except Mondays.
Ian’s Restaurant is located on Khao Takiab Road just south of Cicada Market on the opposite side – Parking is on the street.
By Norman Stacey