Home cooking at Banyan Tree Phuket, Spanish chef

Comfort Food on the Terrace, Banyan Tree Phuket

Trying to give their customers a home-away-from-home feel, the Banyan Tree Phuket has developed a new experience for weekend visitors and in-house guests: Comfort Food on the Terrace, Family Style Dinners.

Home cooking at Banyan Tree Phuket, Spanish chef
Table Service by Chef Alfonso de la Dehesa

Showcasing the best-loved recipes from the homes of the international chefs on the Banyan Tree team, every dinner is a new encounter.  The menu is refreshed weekly, and the only criteria for making it to the carte du jour is that the food elicit emotions and fond memories from the chefs’ own childhood.

Executive Chef, Alfonso de la Dehesa, hails from Spain and for our experience with Comfort Food on the Terrace he shares with us recipes borrowed from his own mum and grandma. Chef is sure to tell us from the start that this is a meal “sin extravaganzas, comida honesta” – without extravagance, honest home cooking.

We begin with a classic, Jamon de Pata Negra con Melon. Juicy balls and arcs of cantaloupe are wrapped with finely shaved strips of the ham from Salamanca, which has been sliced seconds before from a large leg in the open kitchen. The meat has been aged for 24 months and provides a beautiful savoury contrast to the sweet fruit. Giving it a luxuriant splash is a fine mist of supreme quality extra virgin olive oil from Château d’Estoublon.

Home cooking at Banyan Tree Phuket, Spanish chef
Jamon Iberico con Melon

Another beloved Spanish plate, Gambas al Ajillo, makes use of tasty local prawns, which are sautéed quickly in garlic and white wine. Chili flakes, parsley and spring onions add further seasoning. Sometimes you’ll also hear this dish called pil pil, and chef shares with us that it’s onomatopoeia for the sound that’s made as the oil fries in the pan when preparing these shrimp. Yum.

Home cooking at Banyan Tree Phuket, Spanish chef
Gambas al Ajillo

Sopa de Mariscos (seafood soup) is a recipe from chef’s abuela. A rich thick seafood broth is boosted with oregano, carrot, onion and aromatic anise. Incredibly fresh mussels, squid, prawns and white snapper fill the soup with succulent bites of deliciousness. This one has us happily recalling our recent travels to the south of Spain, and chef’s smile couldn’t be bigger when he too recounts learning how to make this one with his grandma.

Home cooking at Banyan Tree Phuket, Spanish chef
Sopa de Mariscos

White meaty pieces of hake are drizzled with a green sauce in Merluza con Salsa Verde. Asparagus, clams and green peas lend weight to the white wine, garlic and parsley sauce, and the excess could easily be sopped up with a piece of crusty bread. The flavours of this dish are accentuated with a few flakes of Maldon, smoked sea salt.

Home cooking at Banyan Tree Phuket, Spanish chef
Merluza con Salsa Verde

Another recipe from chef’s abuela is found in the turkey main. This one has been stuffed with almonds, olives and foie gras before being baked until golden and crisp. A thick slice of the poultry is served atop mashed potato, and sided with a roasted cherry tomato and broccoli. If the four dishes leading up to this point didn’t fill our stomachs, this plate has guaranteed that not a single hunger pang remains.

Home cooking at Banyan Tree Phuket, Spanish chef
Turkey with Stuffing

Dessert brings puff pastry layers filled with custard cream, topped with a nut crumble and dusted with icing sugar. It’s warm, recently out of the oven, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream melts dreamily over its entirety. Pantxineta, a traditional pastry from San Sebastian, certainly puts a big smile on hubby’s face, and I’m imagining it not only as a sweet ending, but a lovely in-between-meals snack with a strong cup of coffee.

Home cooking at Banyan Tree Phuket, Spanish chef
Pantxineta con Helada de Mantequilla
Home cooking at Banyan Tree Phuket, Spanish chef
Up Close with the Pantxineta

Petite Fours end all Comfort Food on the Terrace menus, but today our conclusion is a final celebration of the Spanish theme, with one of my favourite Spanish cheeses. An alluring round of Queso Manchego, a firm matured cheese, is sliced by the chef himself, and for wine drinkers, a sweet red, port or sherry would make an excellent pairing.

Home cooking at Banyan Tree Phuket, Spanish chef
Manchego Cheese

The four-course menu is available Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 7pm – 9:30pm and is priced at BHT 2800 per person. To maintain the quality of the food, and to allow the chef to serve some dishes directly to the table, places are limited, so do book ahead.

Reasons to visit: comfort food highlighting chef’s own family’s recipes; pretty setting; excellent wine selection.

Banyan Tree Phuket
33/27 Moo 4
Srisoonthorn Road
Amphur Talang
Phuket 83110
+66 76 372 400
[email protected]

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  1. Ah ha!
    So it was Phuket for Christmas – lovely choice.
    Sure looks like you are living it all up and plenty of sea life
    and activities for “Junior” to keep him out of mischief????
    Thanks for the e-mail – no a QUIET Christmas for me here.
    I organised myself well with food and drinks ( the latter in
    somewhat of a controlled state – ha ha).
    I’m afraid that now with family get-togethers, my nerves are severely
    tested with the young’uns – one or two grand nephews or nieces are
    one thing but a “barnyard” full of them is too much for my nerves – ha ha.

    Down south – Vic and SA were subjected to horrific conditions with
    bush fires raging along the Great Ocean Road – I think 140 homes
    utterly destroyed and a couple of fatalities – God knows what the stock
    losses were. Rain came one day late – Boxing Day!
    No doubt you have been kept posted by Aussie mates and the news.
    Cheers – lovely report.
    El Colin Cordobes
    PS: Rained here overnight – the humidity is sky high but more on
    and off “rain – stuff” as I call it when like this, is expected.

    • El Caning Cordodes – I bet he had a smile on his face as wide
      as the Malacca Straits. Thank God there are very few if any Andalusian
      steeds on Phuket for him to race around on, swirling his cape and sword and
      terrifying the local population with “oles galore”.
      El Colin Cordobes who is now more placid in activities – thank God!

    • Yes, I’ve heard the weather has been unkind in the south.
      Oh dear, the Cordobes images are all a little bit much in holiday mode. No running or swirling please… I’m still in slow mode after the tropical paradise visit. 😉

  2. that’s a beautiful outdoor spot for a breezy meal! 🙂

  3. What a lovely setting, Monica, and I am getting hungry looking at the delicious and tantalizing offerings here! You look radiant, and your dress is beautiful! 🙂

  4. The meal looks nice.
    Trusting you had a lovely Christmas.

  5. Beautiful location… happy face and FABULOUS Spanish food… from his mum and grandma – never mess with success – my favourite type of food: without extravagance, honest home cooking.

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