Thursday 22 April 2010

Phuket -- Catch of the Day ... and night.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to Surin Beach, or if I have, I certainly don’t recognize it now. Surin, for the uninitiated, is about a 15 minute drive north from Patong (a mini-cab will cost about 400 baht one way).
What a cool enclave of beach bars, cafes, restaurants of varying price and quality. Being on the west coast you can enjoy brilliant sunsets every day (usually only around sunset time, though). Two of the best places are Pla, which is renowned for its seafood as its name – which means fish in Thai suggests -- and Catch Beach Club.

(Ask your driver to drop you at Marriot Courtyard Surin and walk down the torch-lit path opposite from there).

Catch wouldn’t look out of place in Sydney, Melbourne or New York with its funky sofas, cushions, and marble bars. Sleek. Minimalist. Its extensive (and somewhat expensive) cocktail list runs to a few pages, and you can get a good range beers and wines too. The Mojitos are to die for (or to die from if you over did it). After a couple of Mojitos here, it made me realize how many watered down mojitos I’d drunk elsewhere before. ‘Yeah, they’re pretty heavy-handed with their pouring here,’ says Brent, a Canadian expat photographer who lives down the road, nursing a double Bacardi.

Catch attracts a lively mix of locals and expats including property developers, overseas university marketeers, and anyone else that can make a living remote from the town and capital city. Plus a few itinerant French model and make-up types.

They also dish up a mouthwatering menu of seafood, chicken cordon bleu, etc, in hearty portions. ‘Some people say it’s a bit expensive,’ says Karen, an American who’s lived in Thailand 10 years, ‘but I’ve tried all the places along here and this place for what you get, the quality, the atmosphere, the furniture, and everything, is the best. I think it’s good value.’

This place is a real find. Certainly Brent finds his way here every evening … just to photograph the sunset, he insists, ordering yet another double Bacardi. I glance at my watch. Hell, it’s been a l-o-n-g sunset – it’s already midnight.

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