Enticed by the attractive 20% discounts off food, accommodation and spa treatments offered by the Banyan Tree Phuket in celebration of their 20th anniversary as well as the super deals of Silkair, we decided to take some time off from our chaotic Lion City to spend some R & R time in the tropical resort at Phuket. We have many tales to tell, but this being a food blog, we will confine our sharing to the eating adventures we experienced during our short trip. Today, we take you with us on our dinner adventure at the Tre restaurant at the Banyan Tree. Stay tuned for more stories over the next few days.
For those of you who may not be so familiar with Phuket, let us first give you some orientation points. Phuket International Airport, as some of you know, is near the northern tip of Phuket island. About 20 km south of the airport and along the western coast of the island is an area called Bang Tao Bay. Here a huge integrated resort known as the Laguna Phuket was apparently created out of former mining wasteland. There are six large hotels within the resort, including the Banyan Tree and its sister hotel, Angsana Laguna, Phuket. Accommodation at the Banyan Tree is provided in the form of 135 villas which range from small humble ones to some which look like mansions. No prizes for guessing which end of the scale we ordinary patrons stayed at 🙁 . These large villas (which you can see in the distance in the top photo) are located in the exclusive sector 9 of the resort and some of these stand along a lake, enjoying lakefront views. Situated within the vicinity of these super villas is the Tre restaurant, which serves Vietnamese cuisine with French colonial influence.
Acting on the recommendations of the staff and the indicated specialities on the menu, we selected the Vietnamese spring rolls (580 Baht) and the pan-seared scallop (580 Baht). Both were beautifully presented but were let down by the taste. Our expectations were justifiably high, this being the top restaurant in the best resort in the area. The spring rolls were of two types, vegetarian and duck. Unfortunately both were very ordinary. The scallops were cold and had to be sent back for a second round of heating.
For the main course, we tried the pan-roasted cod-fish with spicy ginger sauce (1,100 Bt) and the three-hour oven duck (1,250 Bt). These were a big improvement over the starters. The fish was fresh and the ginger sauce nicely enhanced the natural taste of the fish. The duck was really delicious. The meat was very delicate and moist. Having been cooked for three hours, it has the-melt-in-your-mouth feeling. It came with a very sweet sauce. We recommend you try the duck without any of the sauce first. You may prefer it without any sauce (as we did). We think this was the only dish that was worthy of the high reputation of the restaurant (and the even higher prices). So if we are in the area again, we would be happy to make a detour to this restaurant but only to order the duck and perhaps some fries by the side.
One final note. Dining alfresco in the resort has its obvious attractions – the gentle breeze, beautiful lake side views etc. But there are insects. And where there are insects there are lizards. So while they did not directly interfere with us (other than the couple of glasses that need to be changed because some insects decided to go swimming), they provided enough distractions to mar the dining experience. To add insult to injury, we found out at the end of the meal that there is an indoor air-conditioned section tucked away at the end of the restaurant. No one suggested we move to that section despite seeing our obvious discomfort!
Banyan Tree Hotel