There’s a new kid in town, and this one is said to have an irreverent and playful style in its design, detail and service. Even the upside-down bright red logo suggests to expect something different. We are talking about The Standard Hua Hin, the newest addition to the Royal Resort towns international hotel offerings.
Always wanting to be in the know, the “Let’s Eat” team ventured in to check out their dining options, and specifically Lido, their Italian all-day dining spot.
The Beachfront is where the restaurants, bars and general recreational facilities are, requiring a stroll through the hotel, consisting of several low rise accommodation buildings. All overlook tranquil lawns shaded by long-established mature trees. Bright stark white of the buildings, the calming green of nature and splashes of canary yellow in seemingly casually left garden furniture is the colour palate as we wander through the resort.
That is until you emerge to the pool and beachfront area, where colours burst through – the yellows of the deck chairs, light blues of the sunbeds, green of the expansive lawns and dark blues of the inviting resort pool. And as the ultimate backdrop, the beach, ocean and blue sky.
The open-air Lido pool bar with twin flat-top mushroom-like roofs is immediately inviting, with mixologists shaking away. The bar operates from 10 am to 7 pm, with happy hour between 4 and 6 pm. Buy 2 get 1 free on Draft Beers like Stella Artois or Hoegaarden, and Signature Cocktails including Pink or Frozen Mango Margaritas, or the Obligatory Aperol Spritz.
Lido restaurant is directly adjacent to the pool with its alfresco feel, inside and outside dining, light timber tones of the walls and chairs, splashes of burnt orange, muted mint green and tropical prints interspersed across the upholstered chairs and bench seats. Vibrant prints dominate some of the walls. And with the pool, garden, and beach outlook, this is what a relaxed resort dining vibe is all about.
Lido’s Italian themed menu offers Small Bites, Starters, Soups & Salads plus Pasta, Pizza, Main, and Grills. So, if you want a snack, a quick lunch or a full meal, you have an abundance of choice. The complimentary selection of in-house-made bread delivered to the table once we placed our orders was an appreciated touch. Lido’s wine list offers a diverse and comprehensive though not overwhelming, selection of white, red and sparkling bottles, plus wines by the glass.
Our Lido food journey started with Artichoke Salad, a delightful mix of salad leaves shavings of Parmesan Reggiano, olives and a white balsamic dressing accompanying the artichoke hearts. Next, warm Arancini with their crunchy crust, rice and a centre of mushroom, cheese and hints of truffle. Arancini has to be the best southern Italian street food ever.
Gazpacho rounded out our first course. Though more associated with Spain than Italy, this pureed chilled soup of tomato, cucumber and bell peppers was made even more luxurious with the generous addition of large pieces of succulent crab meat and just a lingering chilli heat at the end. All three dishes were delightful offerings of Mediterranean yum!
We chose a dish each from the pasta, pizza, and grill selections for our main meals. Crab & Chili – Angel Hair Pasta, chilli, extra-virgin olive oil, parmesan, and generous portions of crab meat. The generosity of the crab made the dish, and according to our server, this is their most popular pasta dish.
Red or White Pizzas are the choice presented to diners, and we chose the 4 Cheeses from the white pizza offerings. The made-in-house pizza dough comes crisp with just the right thickness and a lightness of the base we prefer. Ricotta, also made in-house, parmesan, mozzarella, and gorgonzola were blended with an outstanding balance. The gorgonzola came in little pops of blue cheese flavour in every other mouthful.
Wagyu Striploin Tagliata is 220 grams of tender-as and grilled to our liking, wagyu beef served sliced on the plate, or ‘tagliata’ in Italian. The meat is covered with a light textured, though piquant, pepper sauce accompanied by roasted celeriac and tomatoes, plus mixed salad greens. The roasted celeriac with its delicate bite and slightly sweet overtones was a perfect foil for the edge of the pepper sauce.
Our Lido food journey was ending, though not before desserts, of course. Two Italian classics and, well, a combination of two classics on one plate is how this tasty Mediterranean sojourn edges towards the finish line.
First, that combination, rich dark chocolate cake, near brownie-like in texture, accompanied by zabaglione (or sabayon in French). Zabaglione is a luscious Italian custard-like sauce made by whisking egg yolks, sugar, and often a sweet wine like Marsala over a gentle heat. Lido’s version sees punchy Grappa used as the flavouring for this warm sauce adding an extra oomph to the dessert.
Next, Panna Cotta (Italian for “cooked cream”) is said to have originated in the northern Italian region of Piedmont. Warmed sweetened cream thickened with gelatine and flavoured with vanilla is cooled and set. With Lido’s version, this is served with a zingy raspberry granita, which had more of a sorbet texture and is a suitable counterpoint to the creamy sweetness of the Panna Cotta.
To round out our sweet samplings, Tiramisù, one of Italy’s most famous desserts with the word translated to “pick me up.” And how could a combination of spongy ladyfinger biscuits soaked in coffee, surrounded by a mixture of eggs, creamy mascarpone cheese, and a little sweet wine, coated with cocoa, not be the ultimate end of meal lift? Lido’s pastry chef even makes the ladyfinger biscuits in-house for this plate of delight.
A Vegetarian Menu with a choice of seven dishes, all distinctly Mediterranean in style, is available. The little ones are also catered for with a Kids Menu filled with crowd (child) pleasing Little, Big and Sweet Bites.
A new addition to Lido’s offering is their Wine Buffet. Available each evening from 6 to 10 pm, the Wine Buffet offers two hours of unlimited access to the selected wines for THB 1,000 per person. An attractive option if you enjoy a few glasses of wine with your meal or for friends gathering together over snacks or a pizza.
Lido is not just all fab food and drinks as they bring Not Your Standard BINGO, direct from New York to Hua Hin. Forget what you know about old-school bingo, and meet the very rowdy affair that is Not Your Standard BINGO. Hosted by Thailand’s celebrated Drag Queen, the fabulous Pangina Heals. Entry is free though reservations will be necessary once word gets out, with music provided by the resident DJ. This will be an afternoon of fab frivolity to remember and one for your calendars. Happening monthly from 2.30 pm – 4.00 pm so check here for the next dates.
For those looking for fun ways to welcome in the New Year, The Standard Hua Hin has an enticing array of activities on offer. Visit here for more information or call +66 32 535 999 or email STHH.FB@standardhotels.com.
The not so standard The Standard has arrived in Hua Hin, and it looks like it will bring a new sense of fun to the Royal Resort town.
By Michael Cullen