Words: Kirsten Durward Photos: Monica Tindall
The thing about restaurants when travelling is that you never really know what to expect. And despite descriptions from raving local residents, The Siam Supper Club is a surprising revelation to us. There’s only one word for The Siam Supper Club and its audacious owner, Sean Power, and that is unique. Simply unique.
|The Siam Supper Club, Phuket Town|
|The Siam Supper Club, Phuket Town|
Monica arrives with flash reflector in tow, and as the door opens we are pounced on with a cheeky twinkle, ‘So you brought your big white thing with you?’ Instantly we know this is Sean. Who confesses without drawing breath, ‘There’s been a change of plan! We’re fully booked, you know. I put you in the hot seat, at the bar. But don’t worry, because everyone sits at the bar!’ And immediately we are laughing and seated, soaking up the atmosphere. Sean waves a hand in the air, and, as if by magic two glasses of Prosecco appear. Ah, he knows us so well early on! We’re already a little bit in love with The Siam Supper Club.
|Desiderio Jeio Prosecco|
As we sip, we also nibble on a very smoky mutabal, and listen to Sean’s sparkling reminiscences of his childhood in Ipoh (yes, Malaysia, you can claim this denizen), and adventures around the world. We’re intrigued to learn that The Siam Supper Club is his first ever restaurant. ‘People thought I was mad you know, this was a bike shop, surrounded by rice paddies. I first opened a ‘boom boom joint, blasting music, you know that’s what I thought people wanted. But then I thought no, I want to do this my way! So I ripped it all out. This is it, this is me.’ He waves around at the simple black white and chrome interior. What makes it special are the natural style series photos black and white photographs of the well known that adorn the wall. No. What truly makes it special, is Sean’s droll monologue, flirting with us, and making us laugh. We know that his regulars come back, again and again, not just for the simply great food, but for a bit of Sean’s chat. He knows it too, and ruefully tells us, ‘If I did it again, I’d leave myself out of the mix.’ But we don’t believe him.
|Crisp Pita and Mutabal|
We ask about cocktails. ‘We only do classics. Just good alcohol! I’m not into any of that modern mixology. No keep it simple, keep it clean,’ he wafts a hand at his own pristine Martini. Ok then, a chance at that straight up lime daiquiri I’m always longing for. Yes it’s good, sharp, sweet, limy balance. Easy sipping. I do prefer them iceless though. A couple at the bar create their own drink, the pink tinges of which catch my attention. ‘A Martini sort,’ he says, ‘no’ she cuts in, ‘it’s like a Cosmo with no Cointreau.’ They move onto an expertly decanted bottle of wine as Sean continues his good-natured commentary.
|Shaking a Cocktail|
‘I just sell what people like. That’s it! Salt, grease and butter. But you know, it’s quality salt, grease and butter. That’s what they like! Just ask them!’ So we do – the tables are a friendly distance apart so it’s easy to chat, part of the ambience. We ask what’s good to eat? The responses come back, anything, everything, it’s all good, the lamb the beef, you know just all of it. Any of it! OK then. How to choose? We ask Sean what his favourite dish is, but he’s kind of slippery too. ‘You know it really depends on your mood, right now I’m in love with the Goat’s Cheese but it could be any thing really, anything, the menu’s yours just have what you like.’ Well, as it happens, we both adore Goat’s Cheese too. So we have that.
Ooh! Mmmmhm! It’s toasty, bubbly and warm. Tasting, that oozy slightly sharp tang is simply scrummy. I scrape a little of the darkly caramelized edge onto toast with just a smidge of the truffle honey, and wow! Monica is moaning in that particular way for the tastes she really loves. And soon we are scrabbling over the crumbs. A deceptively simple dish that’s a welcome reminder of how to focus on taste, taste, taste! We’re here to eat after all!
|Goat’s Cheese Salad|
And drink too; don’t forget that! We love our wine. Tonight a crisp, fresh and fruity Haymaker Sauvignon Blanc, cuts through the creamy cheese, complementing it beautifully. I love the concentrated fruit flavours with a slightly elevated note of grapefruit and guava. Yes twenty-five years down the road and the Marlborough Sauvignons are still my favourite. There’s a great selection of wines by the glass, the whites splendidly arrayed in a vast silver bowl of ice, centrally on the bar. And you get a good big glassful too. Happy.
|Hay Maker Sauvignon Blanc|
An overflowing dish of black mussels and clams has Monica counting and estimating the shells, she thinks about a hundred, I think eighty. Whatever. It’s certainly a hearty portion. And delicately delicious too. I adore the sweetness of the locally sourced green-lipped mussels, they’re the same family as the famed New Zealand ones, but the warm water means they grow fatter and sweeter. The Pernod in the broth gives a fullness and tang that you don’t get from just white wine and garlic, and we’re really enjoying soaking the toasty bread in it and slurping happily at the bar. No prizes for decorum here, just get stuck in, elbows up. Slurpilicious!
|Mussels and Clams|
It’s not often though I get a chance at Chablis by the glass so I decide to try the one that’s on offer here. Just to check its quality for our readers of course! This old world white burgundy is perfect for seafood with pleasant notes of summer fruit and a delicate minerality.
|Louis Max Chablis Saint Jean 2013|
I’m feeling in the mood for nostalgic comfort food, which is good, because that’s what’s on offer. I peruse the menu, pausing over Lobster Ravioli, but I find it’s Truffle Honey Roast Chicken that finally calls my name tonight. Monica settles on Snapper, which promises to come with a side of her beloved eggplant. But Sean’s not convinced. ‘You know what? I’m changing that to Barramundi. Look, I just saw them slicing it in the kitchen and it’s fresh so fresh, it was just in the water this morning. No that’s what you are going to have!’ Well that’s us told!
Of course, he’s right. The baby barramundi fillet is so desperately fresh that it really needs no accompaniment as it flakes onto the fork. But I do pour out a little of the caper filled buttery Meuniere, and immediately tell Mon that she just has to try it. Absolutely luscious and lifts my melting mouthful right into another dimension.
|Barramundi with Fries and Caesar Salad|
My chicken was definitely the right choice for me tonight. Crispy honey roast skin slides off to reveal soft buttery flesh adorned with truffle cream. I’m in soul food heaven again. And I’m fussy about mash. But this is proper mash. Not creamed potato or puree or anything else. Good old fashioned, buttery, fluffy mash. Well done. A double Yum!
|Truffle Honey Roast Chicken|
Sean has persuaded us to a bottle of red. Well you know how easily persuadable we are when we get together! He opens a bottle of La Brancaia Chianti Classico. ‘Good wine eh – that’s a good drop, that’s an enjoyable drop! Full bodied Chianti, very good thing!’ And it is. My very full glass carries intense aromas of red fruit and bitter cherry with a slight herby undertone. ‘Nothing better than a wine poured from a bottle,’ Sean rattles on. I can’t resist. ‘Nothing better than a wine poured down my throat!’ I retort. Clink Clink!
All good wines aside, it’s time for dessert. SCC’s website makes the bold claim that their cheesecake is the best under the sun. That gets cheesecake aficionado Monica watering at the mouth, and the challenge is on! As for me, I meander between my two greatest loves, Crème Brulee and Chocolate Pot. I ask Sean which of these delights would be best to taste, and his response, ‘Have it all, then you’ll have no regrets,’ is a terrible thing to say to a pudding loving lass. But hey, we only live once! And I have a Muah Thai class tomorrow to deal with the fall out on the hips…
So glad we listened. So glad we came. Some of the best dessert. Ever. The sheer simplicity wins us over. Chocolate Pot claims our attention from the get go. Monica needs one of those shots where I have to hold the spoon and, well, you know what we do with full spoons… Then it’s all over, as we both moan with delight as it seamlessly slips down, the texture so meltingly fine that resistance is futile.
You already know I’m the queen of Crème Brulee, and if you love it too, you should treat your taste buds to this classic. It’s so, so, so silky that it glides across my tongue with a sensuous vanilla lick. Yummy! I’m just glad Caning isn’t around or our spoons would be clashing, No this is mine all mine! Ha! (Sorry Caning, but Monica can bring you back another time for sure!)
Monica raises an eyebrow at the cheesecake and nods. I try a smidgeon and immediately go back for more. Wow smooth and light, a slippery crumbly delight! Cheesecake comes in many styles and shapes, but in this one sparks with crunchy fresh passion fruit sharp against the creamy textured filling. Monica mumbles between spoons that it reminds her of her mother’s cheesecake, and that dear reader, is praise indeed! ‘Best under the sun’? Maybe. You’ll just have to visit and judge for yourselves.
We’ve had a great time; this was the best all round night out of our time in Phuket. I only wish I had a The Siam Supper Club around the corner from me in Kuala Lumpur. But you know, it wouldn’t be the same at all.
The Siam Supper Club is open every day from 6:30pm til late. Be sure to book in advance.
Reasons to visit: unique experience; best atmosphere on Phuket; great tasting quality food; chance to meet Sean 😉
The Siam Supper Club
36-40 Lagoon Road
+66 76 270 936