Usually when I travel to resort towns, my expectation for high quality dining will drop a notch. Catering for tourists in large groups, the F&B quality usually gets compromised for efficiency and cost savings, even at most five star hotels. Do you think the fish that you are eating is really caught off the beach by the restaurant you are dining at? I am not saying the food is necessarily bad at resort towns, but it’s harder to find restaurants serving really high quality food due to cut-throat price competition and even the competition for fresh ingredients.
Hence Acqua Restaurant at Kalim Bay, Patong, Phuket, was a pleasant surprise. The restaurant is helmed by chef-owner, Chef Alessandro Frau who was winner of Iron Chef Thailand in 2013. The restaurant is one of the most highly awarded restaurants in Phuket and Thailand and has been presented in many major restaurant guides in Asia like Thailand Tatler Best Restaurant Guide and Miele Asia Finest Restaurant Guide. The Michelin guide is not in Phuket yet, otherwise I am almost quite certain Acqua will get a nod of approval from them too.
Chef Alessadro hails from Sardinia, Italy and worked his way up as an apprentice chef in various kitchens till he reached the kitchen of the Italian restaurant at the famous Grosvenor House Hotel of London. He had worked in Mexico, Sweden, Finland, Paris and than in 2004 arrived in Phuket –Thailand. At the age of 28 years old Alessandro was appointed Executive Chef at the Sheraton Grande Laguna in Phuket, where he was running 12 outlets and 130 Chefs. He served for 4 years at Sheraton before venturing out on his own with Acqua Restaurant.
The restaurant seeks to serve authentic Italian cuisine with a touch of the chef’s hometown, Sardinia, but reinterpreted in a continue evolution of new and modern cooking techniques, ingredients and artistic presentations.
“As the people and the world is in continue evolution so food, ingredients and dining are following the same trend and for this we have to update ourselves with the time, but keeping origins and authenticity as the base of our cooking inspirations and creations without been extreme,” shares Chef Alessandro.
The dining experience at Acqua extends to the restaurant’s decor and aesthetic, marked by clean lines, following a black-and-white theme. The friendly wait staff are all smartly attired in thematic uniforms, prompt in service and always attentive.
Most importantly, the food was fantastic. I tried two of their signatures degustation menu and these were the items served.
The 2,500 THB (~S$100) degustation menu:
The 3,500 THB (~S$140) degustation menu:
As you can see, the presentation of all the dishes are very exquisite and unique in presentation. Having a meal at Acqua is akin to enjoying culinary art – you marvel at each of the item served before finding out about them from the server and then tuck in to sample the flavours.
The dishes may look modern, but the flavours are traditional and familiar, making them all the more delightful. The ingredients are freshly prepared, both local and international, sourced and flown into Phuket from different parts of the world. The full menu leaves you satisfied without the bloated feel of having overeaten.
Standout dishes for me include the slow cooked egg, octopus, prawn and scallops. The egg dish is not only beautiful to admire but strong and rich in flavours. The two seafood dishes stand out for the light touch when dealing with raw ingredients, bringing out the seafood goodness without overpowering it with the accompaniment.
If you are interested to visit Acqua Restaurant in Phuket, here are the details:
324/15 Prabaramee Road – Kalim Bay
Patong – Kathu – 83150 Phuket
Tel. 076 618127
Fax. 076 618130
Open daily from 5.00 pm until 11.00 pm