Monday, 28 July 2014 01:44

Triumph of Taste

At the ultra luxury residential spa, The Barai at Hyatt Regency, Hua Hin, Thailand, Purabi Shridhar was spoilt for choice when it came to the taste element!

It was visually stunning and looked so inviting that I almost felt guilty picking up my knife and fork. But naturally the salivating desire won and I cut into the scrumptious sesame crusted tuna served with a perky sauce and two rice paper cones housing refreshing salad.  Just before that I had cleared out the entire bowl of salad with greens, thin crispy slices of green apples, diced succulent mangoes and more with two crispy sesame sprinkled wafers. The taste buds had travelled the entire gamut from sweet, tangy, a touch of salt to more elusive, tantalizing flavours.  Sitting on the top floor of McFarland House, the two-storey pavilion breezy restaurant overlooking the Gulf of Thailand at the residential The Barai  at Hyatt Regency, Hua Hin, Thailand, I realize why there is so much emphasis on ‘taste’, one of the five elements besides sight, touch, sound and smell.

McFarland House, The Barai, Thailand

McFarland House

Indeed The Barai is a celebration of the five elements with stunning architecture, tropical gardens, spa treatments that take one to another level, specially selected music in sync with that from nature, the aroma of Thai herbs and amazing menus.  When the premier luxury residential spa in Thailand says The Barai journey is a harmony of the senses combining all the five elements to create a highly personalized and impressionable experience that leads to inner peace and tranquility, you realize that it is true every which way. And in keeping with the basic philosophy of nothing artificial, everything pure and natural, Chef Jackrit Gunmol tells me that McFarland House, that serves creative meals, does not believe in fusions.  It serves Thai and Western cuisines served tapas-style with a wide range of beverages. My breakfast and meal on the first day with fresh juices combining apples, strawberry, orange beetroot, ginger and more fruits reaffirms that. What is impressing is that while being totally healthy and calorie conscious, there is no compromise on taste. My main course of black sesame crusted salmon with ginger and light soy (Barai specialities) with crispy skin, lightly sauteed vegetables that include asparagus and mushrooms with a finger licking light sauce confirms that Chef Gunmol walks the talk thoroughly.

 

Black sesame crusted salmon ; Crab spring rolls

Incidentally McFarland House has an interesting history. Dr George McFarland, the American medic missionary, who was commissioned to open the Royal Medical College, the first government medical school and who did much dedicated work in Thailand, was granted a pension, the title of Phra Ajvidyakom by King Rama VI and the 4.5 acre land in Hua Hin where he built his holiday home. The Barai has come up on that land and the present McFarland, though newly built, has floorboards from the original house. In renovating the old property, The Barai at the Hyatt Regency has retained the old essence and there is indeed, old world charm about McFarland House that blends in so well in the contemporary setting.

Afternoon tea at The Barai

For my next dinner I pick the Talay Thai restaurant. For appetizer it was the Green Papaya salad with crunchy soft shell crabs; there were peanuts, tomatoes, string beans and a dressing that was a mélange of sweet, salty, citrusy with underlining chili spice. The morning glory greens is that something that I had to dine on and so for the mains it was the greens with Crispy Pork and red rice, authentic Thai, authentic taste and delicious.  The finale was a giant bowl of coconut ice cream with water chestnuts and sticky rice. I dug in; I knew it was power walk on the 12 km white beach fronting The Barai the next morning!

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