Sunday, December 2, 2012

Restaurants in Koh Samui: The Page at the Library

My husband has developed a certain love affair for wagyu beef, which in my head basically translates to "really expensive beef", and when he saw it on the menu at the Page, he knew we had to go.

The Page is a high end beachside restaurant located at the Library, which is not actually a library, as you might have thought, but a trendy hotel in Ko Samui's Chaweng Beach. It's one of those contemporary places built with a specific thematic design - that of a sleek, peaceful library - that leaves luxury hotels like the Hilton seeming kind of boring. I'm not sure how the conceptual designer presented the idea to the financial backers ("You know what tourists would really like to sleep in? A big giant book.") and I was skeptical at first, but the concept really does work in distinguishing the hotel as a quite unique experience. Each hotel room is referred to as a page number, and has this overall clean white look to it, with the path down the middle of the "pages" serving as a lovely place to sit under a tree and read a book.

You can't quite tell in the photo, but the pool is covered with a neat shade of red tiles, which in the daylight kind of makes it seem like you're swimming in blood. Again, I'm not sure how the designer pitched the idea, but it's actually pretty cool.

The Page restaurant further reflected the careful thought that had been put into designing every small detail of the place. Everything from the beachside bar where you'd wait with your drink to be seated, to the bathroom interior which featured TWO WAY MIRRORS (endless fun!) to the dining tables which had drawers to contain an arsenal of cutlery to the lights - you could tell that everything served a purpose.


waiting at the beachside bar with our fancy cocktails, watching the waves

seriously...two way mirrors are so cool. the outside of the bathroom stall door looks like a mirror, while occupants inside the stall can look out the door like a window. obviously having it the other way around would be a problem. can you see me in this photo? I CAN SEE YOU.

The menu featured an "East" side and a "West" side, both quite detailed. We ordered the massaman curry of the Eastern menu, featuring beef cheeks, as well as the roast duck (which curiously appeared several times throughout the menu).

Before our meal, we were served some tasty appetizers along with our bread, as well as raspberry sorbet to cleanse the palette. I love dessert before dinner!

The main courses were full of rich flavour, almost overwhelmingly so. The beef cheek meat in the massaman curry was so soft that I barely needed to touch them with my fork before it came apart. I'd tasted massman curry before, a popular Thai Muslim dish, but now I was suddenly in love and couldn't get enough of the peanut sauce.  The roast duck was also perfectly cooked, juicy and tender, and went well with the Chinese brandy that it came in.  And of course, there was the wagyu beef, which really will kill it for you, every time you ever try to enjoy non-wagyu beef.  Even the mashed potato that came with the beef was like nothing I'd ever tasted before.  I would never have thought to describe good old mashed potato as "divine", but here we are now, at the Page.  We were getting full fast, and yet couldn't let a single bite go to waste.  We really need to start bringing other people along on our dates to help us finish our food.

Massaman curry with beef cheeks

roast duck with mushroom and Chinese greens with Chinese brandy

wagyu frickin beef

What I appreciated about our meal was that the courses were executed well; we were encouraged to dine at a leisurely place, to savour each plate slowly while also taking in the gorgeous landscape.  It was a lovely dining experience. The restaurant's seaside location allowed us to dine while listening to the sounds of the waves lapping the seashore, with the constellation Orion hanging over the sky at a downward angle like he was getting ready to dive into the Gulf of Thailand, swim up to the share and ask us for a bite of our wagyu beef.