Beachside restaurant of The Ritz Carlton, Koh Samui
The Ritz Carlton (not to be confused with The Ritz in London and Paris that are separate) opened in Koh Samui in 2018. It has had a heavy investment and is a vast 58,000-acre footprint on the North-Eastern tip of Koh Samui. Therein lies one of the first impressions, in that you need a car just to get from the entrance to the reception area. Thankfully golf buggies are on hand here for guests just to get around the estate as you do need it. The meditation and spa outdoor area looked like a scene from Licence to Kill where Professor Joe Butcher is giving coded drug prices out television as part of a charity fundraising from his ‘sanctuary’, it’s that big. I came just for lunch at one of the 4 restaurants available here and the one I opted for was called Sea Salt which is the only one extending on to the beach. I was served attentively throughout but it is interesting how all the grandeur and wealth in the world can miss some basics.
I think there were a total of 2 other diners in the Sea Salt restaurant on my visit and therefore it was not a huge panic for staff on my visit. As lovely as it was to dine on the beach, the ‘sand’ itself is purpose brought in and more like billions of small stones the size of tomato seeds. As a result, it was excruciatingly hot when walking on or anywhere on your feet if wearing sandals (most likely), so basically the first thing to be aware of is that I would wear whatever complete shoes you have.
Once sat down, you are greeted with a beautiful beachside view and what I can only describe as the best face towel in the entire world. Not only was this obviously cool and wet, but theirs was scented with Pinocolada and was the most refreshing face wipe I think there can possibly be(!). Certainly, it was the best face towel I have ever had.
I only wanted to try a few options and so first went for the Tuna Crudo – this came with creamy yuzu, olive oil dressing, crispy garlic, trout roe, pandan mojo. Unfortunately, the yuzu was disseminated by the roe but the pandan pesto-like dressing was bitter and smooth.
Blue crab causa came with sweet potato, avocado and a spicy Tom Yum mayonnaise. This was a pleasant crab but not actually as sweet as that in Bangkok’s Jay Fai, but sweet potato was a contrast to the spice of the mayo and the combinations of avocado and crab is a classic pairing, boosted by the lemongrass.
Tuna yellow fin came was a mistaken order as I didn’t order, so was served anyway. This came with a spicy lime dressing, mint, chilli powder, red shallots and cracked rice. The overriding chilli and garlic was pleasant but oddly there was a lot less tuna than the other tuna than the previous crudos dish had, but this was put that down to the fact it was also supposed to be the scallop but replaced with tuna. The price of the dish not changed with different and less expensive fish used which seemed strange. Still, kind of the hotel to give this as a complimentary on the mistake.
Service was outstanding and the hotel has clearly recruited well – from the best on the island surrounding areas reportedly. That said, one of my orders was wrong and there was also an additional glass of white wine added to the bill when I didn’t have it and that shouldn’t. £45 for two small dishes and a glass is expensive even to London standards frankly and just shows, no matter how charming the service is or grand the place, check your bill(!).
So this was overall a good effort on the food creative side. Early days for the venue and evidently it needs to find its feet, but aside from their hiccups, this was an enjoyable set of dishes but they were also just too pricey for overall show.
Food Grade: 71%
Location (Click google logo for directions)