The Ao Chalong Yacht Club (aka ACYC) is a genial gathering place for boat lovers on Phuket’s east coast. Its relatively new location is down a rickety back lane – a journey your vehicle’s not going to forget in a hurry. That said, once there, the magic of the place starts working on you.
The 70-seater restaurant here is open sided, covered with an all-weather white canvas and supported by white pillars. Waves lap and slap up against a retaining wall to the side of the restaurant and a brisk breeze blows through and out into the ample car park.
Out to the east lies picturesque Lone Island, a 20-minute sail away, while Chalong Bay is dotted with the masts and spinnakers of yachts from all destinations. The Yacht Club Restaurant faces due east and is therefore perfect for sunny breakfasts with a good selection of cereals, hash browns, banana bread, crepes and much more.
Entering the restaurant you pass a well-equipped bar and take a seat at one of the rattan chairs at glass-topped tables. To the side is a sand pit for the little ones and a stage is built at the end of the restaurant for party and Sunday roast dinner entertainment.
This is the place to meet world travellers and truly fascinating individuals. New Zealand born Kim, the yacht club’s chef and manager, has been in this line of work for more than 40 years all over the world and in his last position had 30 chefs under him in three separate restaurants. He says he’s met several outstanding personalities in his tenure here, including several top-flight yachtsmen and a couple who’d been at sea for a staggering 22 years.
We arrive for lunch and sample baguette and dips – a troika of pesto, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a sun-dried tomato sauce. The bread is perfectly grilled and infused with olive oil.
For mains we choose a ploughman’s platter and a hamburger. Don’t start conjuring up images of a British ploughman’s lunch though; the ACYC platter has three different cheeses, Parma ham, cherry tomatoes, pickled onions and gherkins and chutney on a bed of arugula – far removed from the gristle and rind of the typical UK lunch version. An Aussie beef Yacht Club burger with chips is as equally well presented and this is all washed down with ice-cold beer and orange juice.
Other recommended dishes at ACYC are spaghetti with marinara sauce, fish and chips with traditional tartare sauce, and chicken schnitzel with chips and salad; all in all a good cross-section of international dishes, along with genuine Thai food cooked by Thai chefs. You can get a decent tipple here with a choice of beers and cocktails, a 15-label wine list (“with a few ‘specials’ set aside,” says Kim) along with freshly brewed tea and coffee.
The Ao Chalong Yacht Club restaurant has undergone a metamorphosis under Kim’s direction and is certainly recommended as a place to go, not only for salty sea dogs with endless yarns about the sea but also for a good, well-presented and reasonably priced meal in a pretty unique location.
Ao Chalong Yacht Club
- Opening Hours: 08:00 - late
- Location: 150 metres on the left after Wine Connection when coming from Phuket Town. Look for the sign.