In the middle of the lonely stretch of road in Maret is the ethereal arch of Alimundo's glowing sign. Contrasted by the vast tropical landscape of its surroundings, the restaurant draws the attention of patrons like moths to a flame. Dark wicker chairs with sharp red cushions dot the alfresco area, adding to the trendy lounge ambience.
Despite the modern surroundings, Alimundo serves traditional Thai cuisine with influences from Belgium, France and Italy. Ingredients are selectively chosen from local and international sources, resulting in what owner Il Gu describes as a 'taste of the world'.
The seared scallops were ocean fresh on top of a vegetable stack; when paired with the caramelised balsamic sauce, it made the dish refreshing and fit for an island feast. Their more traditional Thai dishes such as pad thai and green mango salad were tangy with just the right amount of spice that didn't overpower the other flavours of the dishes. The airy light ambience of Alimundo provides an environment to chill and just enjoy being on Koh Samui.
173/56 Moo 4, Maret, Koh Samui 84310, Thailand, +66 80 606 8130; www.alimundosuono.com
Nestled amongst the resort entryways, along the main road of Chaweng is the inconspicuous door front of The Larder. Glass paneled sliding doors open up into the cozy dining room. The décor inside is quiet and simple, but the excitement is reserved for the food and drink. The Old Fashioned Swine is Larder's twist on the classic cocktail, made with their house infused bacon bourbon and sweetened with maple syrup. The use of maple enhanced the flavour of the bourbon and the subtle bacon notes brought a slight smokiness to the drink. The Inside-Out Bloody Mary arrives to the table like an alchemy set with ice-chilled vodka in a flask, a glass of pickles and cherry tomatoes rimmed with Thai spices and a separate shot glass of spice to mix to your liking.
The food is just as creative and detailed. The pork wrapped in bacon in bread sauce works as well as expected, but the seasoned bread sauce absorbs the fat and juices of the meat, adding a clever way to experience the dish again with every spoonful. The food will keep patrons returning time and again to Larder, even just to sample more of their creative drinks menu.
9/144 Moo 2, Chaweng, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84320, +66 77 601 259; www.thelardersamui.com
9Gems is more than a dining experience, it's a lifestyle experience. Designed by owner Sathit Muangprom, the premises of 9Gems oozes with style and sophistication. A traditionally Thai trained chef, he has returned to Thailand after two decades of experience in Europe, and the result is a fusion of east meets west in all aspects of the restaurant and lounge. One of dining rooms is adorned with Philip Starck-designed Kartell chairs and minimalist themed rooms are dashed with local contemporary Thai art.
The top floor is the Skybar where tapas and cocktails are served with a 360 degree view of Koh Samui and Chaweng beach. A brilliant burst of projected coloured hues splashes the walls and jazzy lounge music takes the island experience to a new level of trendiness.
Dinner is served on the first floor by the iridescent pool and the plating is just as aesthetically pleasing as the premises. The menu theme is fusion with items such as tagliatelle with Australian beef massaman curry and tenderloin steak with red wine chocolate sauce and pepper. For dessert, there's Swiss chocolate ice cream and fresh mango, which is as representative of the multi-cultural background of Sahit himself as well as his designs.
141/190 Moo 6, Bophut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani, Thailand, 84320, +66 80 692 0520; www.9gemssamui.com
Two hours away from Koh Samui is the diving and snorkeling paradise of Koh Tao. Also known as Turtle Island, Koh Tao is renowned for its clear waters and untouched coral reefs. While most of the action on the small island will revolve around water activities, the Whitening Bar and Restaurant provides an oasis of elegance for those looking to thoroughly unwind.
As you enter the restaurant by the bar and barbeque area, it may feel strange when the staff take you through the kitchens to the main dining area, but any trepidations dissolve when you behold the panoramic ocean beachfront from the open wall of the dining area. As the name suggests, the whole establishment is decorated from floor to ceiling in white, which showcases the view like a contemporary art piece in a gallery.
Take the front row seat on one of the white beanbags where you can enjoy a range of wine, cocktails and Thai or western cuisine. There's nothing like eating fresh baked fish while breathing in the ocean air, and experience life imitating art.
17/2 Maehaad Moo2, Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, 84360, +66 77 456 199