Delicious dishes from Kata Beach, Thailand

One of the greatest pleasures about a holiday in Thailand is the food. Kata Beach in Phuket offers a versatile array of menus in a wide range of different settings. And it’s all such great value.

We went to Malila twice for dinner. It’s the first restaurant you come to in a street full of them…so many choices.

I’ve long wanted to try a larb salad in Thailand but have been scared off by concerned waiters shaking their heads and saying “Very chilli”. Well, tonight I threw caution to the wind and we ordered one to share as a starter.

There’s no denying this is a hot baby! Cleverly, it’s served with raw vegetables, as you can see, and mixing in the cucumber, cabbage, green beans and lettuce helps to cool it down. I loved it and managed my fair share – my chilli-ometer is definitely on the rise. As well as having a serious chilli bite, it’s also beautifully herby, with delightful minty flavours.

Spicy, herby minced pork served with crunchy veg

The Phad Bai Graprao is an exquisite minced beef dish with sweet and spicy flavours, the most amazing texture and silken sauce all topped with deliciously crispy deep fried basil leaf. The dish of the holiday – my next challenge is to make it myself to that same standard. Wish me luck.

Our first dinner at Malila happened to be a day with 30% off the bill – so we ended up paying less than £20 for two courses each (really good ones, too) and a bottle of wine! No wonder we went back. Keep an eye out for special offers in restaurants. It was late in October and the main holiday season hadn’t quite started, so there were lots of deals around.

An absolutely amazing beef dish topped with sweet Thai basil

Further down the road is Tom Yam Koong. Another comprehensive range of Thai and European dishes to choose from. These wonderful king prawns were quickly deep fried, giving them a wonderfully crunchy texture and served with a delicate red curry sauce drizzled over them.

A different take on king prawn red curry

This simple and deceptively delicious rock lobster salad was served with a curry mayonnaise. My light dinner on the first night in Kata – the perfect welcome to Thailand.

rock lobster
Sweet rock lobster, crunchy salad and a delectable curry mayo

There are several fine dining options in Kata and The Boathouse is widely recommended as being one of the best in the area. Plus you get to sit right on the edge of the beach which is always a good thing!

The menu offers French and Thai cuisine and you can opt for a tasting menu or go a la carte, which is what we did. We shared a starter which was a platter of Siam tapas. Grilled chicken satay with peanut sauce, deep fried crab claw, spiced scallop salad served in the shell and deep fried duck spring roll served with sweet chilli sauce. All fabulous, especially the deliciously sweet and delicate scallops and the spicy crab claws. This is a substantial starter – plenty for two to share and a great mix of flavours.

A starter platter of lovely flavours and textures

Being chilli-acclimatised by this stage I ordered the roasted duck in red curry with pineapple, grapes and tomatoes. It was pretty spicy but the combo of the fruit (who knew grapes could taste so nice in a curry), the chilli bite and the tender duck were just perfect.

duck curry
Tender roast duck, sweet fruit and sauce with a serious bite

There’s a section on the menu entitled Boathouse Legends, and one of them is their rock lobster ravioli served with shellfish morel. Rock lobster’s big in this part of Thailand and this wonderfully fishy, creamy and rich dish is a classic.

A more gourmet eating experience, The Boathouse is obviously a bit more expensive than your average Kata restaurant, but still great value. And it has a good wine list.

Seafood ravioli in a silken sauce

Almost directly opposite the Kata Beach Resort, where we stayed, sits the Horn Grill Steakhouse. Through a narrow passageway and you emerge into a magical garden area with twinkling lights and live jazz playing. As is obvious from the name, they specialise in steaks here, though there is a comprehensive selection of Thai dishes, too.

Choose your cut of steak and select your sides and sauce. I had a tasty sirloin with roast vegetables and fried mushrooms and requested a Thai sauce from a different part of the menu, which they were happy to do. A beautifully tranquil place for a steak dinner.

The oasis that is the Horn Grill Steakhouse’s garden

One night that desire for Indian food overtook us – luckily we’d already spotted Curry Delight. This delightful little restaurant serves an impressive array of authentic Indian food. We started with a large plate of spicy tandoori prawns, then tucked into chicken and mutton curries with rice and freshly made garlic naan. The menu offers small or large portions of the curries, such a good idea, I wish more restaurants did this. If you need an curry fix when you’re in Kata, this is undoubtedly the place to go.

Beautifully fresh garlic naan straight from the tandoor
My tasty smaller portion of Bhuna Gosht

And then there’s the lunches! At the one end of beautiful Kata Beach is a cluster of restaurants, where we wandered when the hunger pangs began, barefoot along the beach. A table with a sea view (well, all of them had sea views!), a bottle of Singha and we were settled. I’d recommend any of these restaurants, which are open for lunch and dinner.

Our favourite was Kata B-B-Q where we ate several times. We loved the spicy salads and sampled plenty of seafood and satays. Here are some of the mouth-watering lunches we enjoyed.

green papya salad
A firm favourite – green papaya salad
prawn cocktail
Pretty in pink – a luscious prawn cocktail
Tender chicken satays and crispy chips
seafood salad
Spicy seafood salad and the beach
pork satays
The satays of the week – beautifully tender and flavoursome pork
More green papaya salad with seafood, wine and sea

Thank you Kata for all the glorious food.

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