A short while ago, Bampot Kitchen & Bar celebrated its second birthday. But if you didn’t know that and just happened to pop in there on a random Friday evening, you might get the impression that it has been there much longer.
The place is buzzing, full of people and life. Not just any people though, but friends – at least half of the crowd knows each other, and it’s obvious that it’s not the first time they meet at Bampot. The waitresses, the bartenders and the kitchen team headed by Chef Jamie Wakeford, welcome the guests, address them by their names and sometimes have a moment to spare for a chat. It feels like a party at your friend’s house – especially if you’re friend’s house is designed in the style of an urban bistro.
To ask Bampot’s guests – or figure it out for myself – what draws them there, I used an excuse of one in line of Bampot’s wine-centered events, to visit the restaurant. I dressed up a bit from my everyday shorts and flip flops (not too much though, Bampot is by no means a formal place) and headed for the road leading to Phuket’s Laguna, for an evening of Bampot’s food paired with Feudo Maccari Sicilian wines.
About three minutes into the experience, my plan of interviewing the gusts, went up in smoke. Surrounded by friends old and new, glass of prosecco in hand, I let myself get carried away by the restaurants chilled-out ambiance, forgetting that I was supposed to be working.
What followed was a series of glassfuls of excellent wine and platefuls of excellent food, accompanied by laughter and chit-chat with some people that I know – because if you’ve lived in Phuket for a while, you will encounter familiar faces at Bampot – as well as with complete strangers. And as it’s rather difficult to make tasting notes in those conditions, I didn’t. Still, I do remember some of the pairings – a feather-light chilled pea soup with Sicily’s own Grillo, a delicious Mushroom Risotto paired with top of the line Nero d’Avola, a slab of DOP gorgonzola served with a rose of the same grape variety – no notes needed to memorize those.
I remember talking to Chef Jamie two years back, a few weeks before Bampot’s grand opening. He told me then, that what he wanted Bampot to be, was more than a restaurant. He wanted to create a social spot for both locals and tourists. A meeting place. Has he succeeded? Best if you see for yourself. I’ll meet you there.
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