One of the delights of coming to Thailand is to dig out those restaurants that have something special about them. It may be the food, the service, the ambience; in fact any manner of things but the problem is what to do when you do find them.
Our first instinct is to tell everyone how great the restaurant is but then the doubts step in especially if it is a small restaurant …… what happens if there is no room for me next time I want to go?
In many instances these restaurants become iconic secrets and can only be discovered when chatting with the locals, be they Thai or foreigner. So it was that I discovered one of Samui’s best kept secrets whilst attending the Samui Regatta and was looking for some where special to dine with friends. So good was the food that I had to go back and share it with you.
The Larder is a small restaurant located at the north end of Chaweng as you head off towards the airport. Easy to find it has both al fresco and air-conditioned and is one of those rarities where the chairs are so comfortable you will want to stay for a while. Light Jazz music welcomes you as you enter and are shown to your table by very efficient staff.
The menu is eclectic with a selection of daily specials to further entice you. Described as “gastro pub but higher class” by the owners who joined me for dinner the choice is which dishes not to have rather than which one do I like which is so often the case in some restaurants.
I cheated and asked the owners to make recommendations as I just could not make up my mind. A good choice as it turned out and chatted about how the restaurant came in to being whilst sipping on a Signature Mojo from a jam jar, one of their little quirks that added to the dining experience.
First up was Tuna Tarter tacos served on a slate plate with teriyaki Sauce and an avocado salsa. Flown in from Japan the Tuna was both fresh and firm with that beautiful taste that can only come from quality fish and blended well with the crisp tacos and slightly spicy avocado.
There are 2 signature starters at The Larder with the other being their homemade Scotch Egg. The owners, Martin and Damian could also not choose which to recommend so served me both and I was so glad that they did. Their pork sausage meat was of the highest quality, as are all their products, and sourced from a friend’s farm in Chang Mai, the location of which is a closely guarded secret.
A crispy outside shell hid a succulent sausage meat that in turn was wrapped around a perfectly cooked egg with the yolk still runny…perfection. Served with asparagus and a slightly sweet pickled relish this dish is certainly for those that enjoy quality meat and seeing if they can identify the hints of spices that are added to the meat.
Main course was to be the Loins Den, a lamb tenderloin seared to hold in the juices and served with the Larder’s unique black pudding croquettes. A slight caramelising of the meat lifted the flavours and allowed you to appreciate again the quality of the raw ingredients. No fancy sauces here, just good quality foods cooked well. The black pudding for the croquettes came from the same farm as the sausage meat and surprisingly did not overpower the lamb but instead added another layer of flavour to be enjoyed.
All the courses were served with an Argentinian Malbec from Signos which provided and earthy component to the dishes without swamping them. This is a much underrated wine that compliments strong flavours and is very well priced as are all of the wines in the cellar.
Although feeling slightly full I can always find room for a dessert, especially when they are as appetizing as those at The Larder. The problem really is which to choose. After a degree of contemplation I decided on the Apple and Rhubarb crumble although looked wistfully at a the chocolate brownie that was served to the table adjacent.
Served in its own ceramic dish the crumble was a delightful blend of slight tartness from the rhubarb accompanying the sweetness of the apple and a divine crumble topping all of which was served with an artisan ice cream produced on the island
Over 80% of the guests at The Larder are holiday makers, many of whom are returning guests returning time after time, with the others loyal locals who appreciate quality food at sensible prices.
As their website says – no fuss, no fancy terms, no pretension … it’s just all quality.
Open 12-11pm Monday to Saturday, The Larder is located at:
9/144 Moo 2 | Chaweng | Koh Samui | Surat Thani 84320 | Telephone: 077601259
The restaurant can be found opposite Anantara Lawana at the top of the Chaweng Beach Rd.