At Jahn, Conrad Koh Samui, Thai classics are approached with the sophistication and elegance of European fine dining.
By Sid Sehgal
Jahn Restaurant is set atop a plunging cliff with dramatic views of the southern Taling Ngam coast, the flagship restaurant of Conrad Koh Samui. In the crown of the island’s increasingly sophisticated dining scene, it is arguably, one of the most sparkling jewels.
Jahn means “moon” in Thai, and like its namesake, the restaurant is mostly radiant, especially in the evening. Lighting is dim, music is soft, and conversations are muted. Why? Our guess is because no one wants to steal the thunder from the main stars of the restaurant, the food.
The menu lists the usual suspects but with a definitive Western flair, especially the signature “Tasting of Jahn,” an eight-course dinner for Bt2,999++ (Bt4,999++ with wine pairing). The tasting starts with hors d’oeuvres, an appetizer of mahor chicken, rice cracker with minced pork, and betel leaf with prawns. Next, “Duo of Pacific Rock Oysters,” a dish that presents a set of innovative dressings, passion fruit with sesame, and Bloody Mary. Following this is tom kha gai (a traditional Thai coconut soup made of corn-fed chicken breast, morel mushrooms, lemongrass, galangal, and coconut). Jahn’s preparation of this common classic was absolutely delightful.
Now the palate is cleansed with cucumber and jujube sorbet before moving on to the main course, which includes a choice of massaman of wagyu beef, with potatoes, pearl onions, peanuts, and red onion or pan-fried red snapper green curry with seared scallops, butterfly jasmine rice, kaffir lime, eggplant, Thai basil, and galangal. Both options were splendid, to say the least.
We were then presented with a pre-dessert dish: coconut jackfruit shooter with macadamia ice cream. The actual dessert was pumpkin with chocolate “delice,” a chocolate fondant with caramel fudge, vanilla, and peanut ice cream. The meal ended with petit fours, which were cute bite-sized treats; assorted macaroons, fruit jellies, marshmallows, and chocolate truffles.
A mere enumeration of our chosen menu does not give justice to the care that the chef has apparently showered in the dishes, but the contented, happy faces that one notices at the other tables proved that the diners are aware of that fact. It is really no surprise then that Jahn is becoming a byword among many Samui foodies.
Now, to call Jahn a Thai restaurant is a bit misleading because while the flavor profile and the majority of the ingredients used were certainly local, the presentation and attention to detail were worthy of any Michelin-star restaurant in Paris.
It is also worth mentioning that the service staff speaks excellent English, knows the menu well, and are attentive without being intrusive. With only 28 seats, advanced reservations are highly recommended.
Conrad Koh Samui
49/8-9 Moo 4, Hillcrest Road, Tambol Taling Ngam, Koh Samui