Ka Jok See is the sort of place you can stroll past and not even notice, yet it’s one of Phuket’s most popular restaurants. How is this? Well, this enigma is largely due to the fact that Ka Jok See (meaning ‘stained glass window’) does not advertise nor solicit reviews in fancy magazines.
The owner, Khun Lek, keeps away from that sort of thing, preferring word of mouth recommendations and, perhaps as a result, the restaurant is packed every night and it’s not at all that unusual to spot a celebrity or two dining there. Serving mostly Thai food, for a fixed price you can order as much as you want – an unusual yet successful arrangement but then again ‘unusual yet successful’ are words that succinctly describe this restaurant.
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Set in a Sino-Portuguese converted shop-house and cleverly decorated with Thai and European touches, Ka Jok See emulates certain Dutch steak houses with newspapers on the tables, thick wooden beam ceilings, large plants and low lighting; all it needs is sawdust on the floor to round the impression off but no, this is Thailand after all.
The food (expect large portions and far more than you can handle) is served Thai style, meaning that everyone at the table shares and this enhances the fun factor here. But come past nine o’clock at night the fun factor goes through the roof as a camper than camp cabaret kicks in, the mood escalates, shirts are thrown off and absolute party mayhem ensues.
It’s not unknown for diners to dance on the tables (so that’s why the newspapers are there…) and the restaurant’s fun reputation is consolidated by nightly happenings. Of course it’s gayer than a pink cigar but straights are welcomed here just as avidly by the extremely friendly and attentive staff.
Just how Ka Jok See manages to pull this off on a nightly basis for more years than they’d like to admit is one of Phuket’s great mysteries but handing out bongo drums, party hats and tambourines and pumping up the volume is a pretty shrewd strategy in getting shy diners to boogie along.
Think conga lines, limbo dancing over a candle, hip-swinging partiers swilling mojitos and you’ll have a fair idea of how zany things get here. It’s most certainly not recommended for blue-nosed teetotalers who have to be in the office at eight the next morning as the party swings here till very late indeed.
Ka Jok See Restaurant
- Opening Hours: Tue – Sat 18:30 – late
- Location: 26 Takua Pa Road, Phuket Town (off Rassada Road, past Michael’s bar)
- Remarks: Reservations essential
- Tel: +66 (0)7 621 7903
- Cuisine: Thai