Hua Hin has a new chic and sophisticated beachside restaurant in a stylish setting, pairing contemporary Thai cuisine with traditional service and promising a unique fine dining experience. We are talking about Jaras Hua Hin at the InterContinental Hua Hin Resort. Newly opened in April 2021, the Jaras vision was initially conceived and tested at the InterContinental Phuket Resort and has now been introduced to Hua Hin. In fact, Jaras Phuket’s Restaurant Manager, Khun Pla, made a move to Hua Hin to ensure a successful opening and ongoing implementation.
Jaras is about creatively reimagined and prepared Thai dishes using the freshest local and regional ingredients. Menus take inspiration from Thai culinary traditions and emphasise organic garden produce, fresh-caught seafood, along with free-range and hormone-free poultry and pork.
An intimate restaurant, Jaras has alfresco covered dining overlooking the beach and resort pool with the sea breeze for cooling. Excellent for tropical evening dining. The indoor air-conditioned dining room walls are resplendently decorated with hand-painted murals depicting Thai rural scenes in hues of dusky pinks and palm greens.
Our Jaras food experience starts with a complimentary, perfectly balanced and refreshing welcome drink of cucumber, lime, elderflower and Thai basil. Chef Pantit Jindajitawat, who goes by the nickname “Et,” also served a complimentary amuse-bouche – typically a bite-sized hors d’œuvre. For our visit, it was a marinated and grilled beef skewer, served over coals for effect, and accompanied by crispy rice cracker artistically topped with drops of seafood emulsion. This dish gave us an introduction to Chef Et’s modern and artistic plating and food presentation style.
First, for starters, is Yum Som O Goong Yang or grilled tiger prawn nestled back together in an intimate embrace and topped with a refreshing warm salad of pomelo, roasted coconut, kaffir lime leaves, and crushed cashew nuts. Next, Phla Hoi Shell or seared scallops in a piquant sauce of lemongrass, crispy shallot, chilli paste, mint, kaffir lime, and topped with a scallop shell. The final starter was Tom Kha Pla Sine. Imaginatively presented with a rosette of sandfish fillets, topped with the aromatic galangal and coconut milk soup with lemongrass, galangal, coriander and chilli oil.
Our main dishes showcase Jaras Hua Hin’s commitment to purposely selected quality produce suppliers. First was Sturgeon fish from Hua Hin and Thailand’s only producer of Black Caviar. A Thai- Russian enterprise already five years in operation and supplying export-grade black caviar internationally plus to Thailand based consumers, hotels and restaurants.
While female Sturgeon are essential for caviar production, male fish are sold for consumption in restaurants. Chef cooked our filet of Sturgeon sous vide (slow-cooked in a water bath) and presented it with a tamarind glaze, coconut oil, herbs, and a sampling of the highly appealing and extravagant black caviar.
The chicken used in the Gaeng Kaew Waan Gai comes from Khao Yai based specialist poultry producer Klong Phai Farm. Their chickens are free-range and certified hormone, and antibiotic-free. The fresh herbs for the homemade green curry paste come from Hua Hin found organic Palisa Farm, as does the eggplant in the sauce.
Hor Mok Khun Ya is our final main dish, with the recipe coming from the matriarch of the Liptapanlop family, Khun Ya Jaraspim Liptapanlop. The Liptapanlop family’s Proud Group own the Phuket and Hua Hin InterContinental properties. Khun Ya Jaraspim’s recipe has the steamed fish with homemade red curry kept chunkier rather than the fine mousse of a typical Hor Mok Pla, giving the dish a more substantive feel. As is the tradition, it is served on banana leaf topped with rich coconut cream and julienned chilli. A fitting end to our savoury Thai food journey.
Two desserts finish our dining experience. The first is Ka Nom Mor Gaeng or taro custard cake, taro purée, crispy shallot and coconut gel which the restaurant sources directly from famous Hua Hin local, Mae Gabe. Our final dessert, Ka Nom Baa Bin Goong, is mini coconut pancakes presented in a small coconut shell garnished with sweet and salted shrimps, coconut cracker, and an espuma-created foam of coconut milk. There is also Thailand’s famous dessert, Mango Sticky Rice.
We sampled dishes from Jaras Hua Hin’s a la carte menu. They also offer a choice of 5 and 8-course set menus with the 5-course menu currently available for THB 1,400++ per person. And to take the dining experience one step further, these set menus can be matched with specially selected wine pairings.
Initially opening for both lunch and dinner, Jaras Hua Hin currently only operates from 18.00 – 22.00 hours daily. To learn more, visit www.huahin.intercontinental.com/jaras, and for reservations, phone 032 616 999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To stay up to date with their latest promotions, check out their Facebook page.
Hua Hin certainly has a new chic and sophisticated Thai restaurant with Jaras Hua Hin. Keep an eye out for the funky Coco Bar, which will further extend the restaurant’s offering in the coming months.
By Michael Cullen