If you smell something sizzling down in southeastern Koh Samui these days, chances are it’s coming from Banyan Tree Samui’s beachfront restaurant, Sands, where Chef Rainer Roersch is rolling out his smoking hot “8-Fires” cuisine.
“We were looking for a very visual and atmospheric theme,” said Chef Rainer. “Something eye-catching that our chefs could prepare under the coconut trees and the moonlight. The key element would be fire.”
The new-look Sands restaurant — which recently reopened after a three-month renovation that includes a new retractable roof — has been adapted to include eight workstations featuring different traditional forms of cooking with fire – brick oven, charcoal grill, wok fire, stove-top, table-burner, hot stone, Santa Maria grill, and flambé.
“There is something mesmerizing about food sizzling over an open fire,” said Chef Rainer. “From the native American concept of the sacred fire pit (bara-bicu) to Japanese hibachi, meaning ‘fire bowl’, to Indonesian satay and Middle Eastern shish kebabs, it has a global appeal and has existed since time immemorial.”
Sands’ new menu has been beefed up to include a selection of meats and seafood adaptable to the 8-Fire techniques. Diners have a choice of Australian Wagyu beef and Black Angus steaks, lamb cutlets, BBQ pork ribs, chicken breast or veal cutlets. Fresh local seafood choices include lobster, jumbo prawns, scallops and squid, as well as imported Norwegian salmon and Australian barramundi.
“We can really showcase the true aromas and flavors of seafood and prime cuts by using smoke, flaming liqueurs and truffle spray,” said Chef Rainer. “And of course, the tableside presentation is spectacular. It’s fun for all the family with the sizzling fires in all directions, but it can also be a romantic evening for two with sea breezes, soft sand and fine wine.”
From the chef’s garden come the ingredients for vegetarian options including risottos, pizzas and casseroles, fresh salads, and pasta dishes such as pumpkin gnocchi. And among the many mouthwatering starters on the new menu are tuna tartar, pan-fried foie gras, beef carpaccio, Louisiana crab cakes (in green mango salad) and the overwhelming “Seafood Symphony for 2”.
Sands Restaurant overlooks the sapphire sea of the Gulf of Thailand from a secluded cove flanked by coral reefs. It is one of three signature dining venues at the award-winning Banyan Tree Samui resort, which is recognized as one of the leading hotels in Asia. The 38-acre property is nestled on a steep hillside and hosts 88 luxury villas, each with its own private infinity pool.
Sands seats 60 diners indoors and up to 42 on the open terrace. The restaurant is open to Banyan Tree guests and non-guests alike from 11:30am to 11pm, seven days a week. Reservations are recommended.
Villas at Banyan Tree Samui, each with infinity pool, start from US$550 per night.