The Regatta Restaurant at the Royal Phuket Yacht Club is something straight out of a 19th century steamy romantic novel.
With its terracotta tiled floors, potted palms and plants, overhead fans and warm sea breezes the Regatta effortlessly cuts such a Somerset Maugham-esque swathe that you'll find yourself wishing you'd brought along your cane and Panama hat.
Very retro and very stylish. Shaded lamps pour pools of light onto polished terracotta tiled floors; watercolours and fine prints line the walls; rattan chairs with off-white cotton cushions are there to sink into and outside on the terrace the views out over the beach and beyond are simply fabulous.
Highly polished wine glasses and silverware glint on the solidly built tables and all these factors add up to a wonderful and almost naughty sense of opulence.
To one side stands a teakwood, marble-topped bar with fine spirits lining its mirrored shelves.
In a setting such as this, along with the aforementioned décor, the atmosphere at the Regatta should be so heady you could serve it up on a plate.
But this is Thailand and no matter how snazzy the place, happily there's still a healthy relaxed tone to the dining procedure.
Choose from balmy al fresco terrace dining or lord it up in the fan-cooled interior and make sure you dress up for Regatta so you'll fit in well with its smart-casual dress code.
Regatta has some 16 white labels and 18 reds with prices ranging from 1,600 to 7,000 baht.
The list features an impressive array of Old World wines but we opt for a South African 'Very Sexy Shiraz' 2006 red and it is impressive with wonderful 'legs' and a robustly tannin aftertaste.
House white wines are made up of Australian Chardonnay and a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc while the house reds are an Italian Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile – all served by the bottle or glass.
Classic Thai and international cuisine is the order of the day at the Regatta. Fresh seafood is another must-try here.
After an amuse bouche of mozzarella and tomato we start with angel hair pasta topped with US sea scallop and black truffle. The dish has a wonderfully earthy taste to it while chilled ginger carrot cream soup with a tiger prawn and a light sprinkling of caviar on the top goes perfectly with the spanking fresh house bread and homemade tangy butter.
A spicy raspberry sherbet is a welcome surprise and pan-fried snow fish in champagne sauce on a bed of creamed potato prawns and parsley patty with fresh green asparagus an ideal main course.
As well-served as we are, we still find some room for a chocolate mousse with Earl Grey-flavoured chocolate tea crumble with an excellent double espresso and for some, a cheeky decaf Irish coffee. This is fine dining in impeccable style – a five-star restaurant in almost perfect surroundings.
Unobtrusive and knowledgeable, Regatta's service befits and even complements its regal surroundings – and that's really saying something.
Where Is It?
The Regatta is the flagship restaurant of the Royal Phuket Yacht Club, located at the northern end of beautiful Nai Harn Beach at the south of the island. If you are coming from a west coast destination such as Patong, simply hug the beach road all the way down (it's a stunning drive so go before dark) to Nai Harn Village and then head for the beach. The hotel has a parking lot and even a valet service.
- Opening Hours: Daily from 18:30 – last orders 22:30
- Location: in the Royal Phuket Yacht Club
- Address: 23/2 Moo 1, Vises Road Rawai
- Tel: 076 380 200