What can a thousand baht get you? A couple of t-shirts? A decent bottle of wine? A tankful of gas? How about an evening of culinary surprises from a chef with a golden touch, served at one of Phuket’s favorite restaurants, during an event with a vibe few others can match? Now, that’s money well spent!

Having read this first paragraph, you’d be wise to do two things. First: take a thousand baht note and save it for later; Second: follow Taste Bar & Grill on Facebook, because that’s where Tasters, the event series mentioned above, takes place – no, not on Facebook, but at Taste Bar & Grill in Cherngtalay – the Facebook page is for bookings.

And book you should, as soon as the next installment is announced – because it’s totally worth it and because Tasters events are strictly intimate affairs, with limited seating and an ambiance to match.

Having mentioned the splendid food, the splendid vibe and the splendid value of Tasters, I could probably finish writing this story – it’s simply a package too good to be missed for anyone with a taste for great food, great cocktails, and great company. But let me give you some more details. Not just because it’s my job, but because some events are fun to write about and easy to recommend, and that’s without a doubt one of them.

Tasters is a dining event, but instead of a table, the food is served by the restaurant’s long, semicircular bar. It’s a brilliant idea which turns what might have been a standard tasting menu dinner into a sort of a show, where us, guests sitting at the bar, are the audience; the dishes delivered by smiling waiters with the help of the chef’s wife Jade Lama, are the acts; and chef Martin Ostlind himself, operating from the kitchen, is the director. Their performance? Deserving of a standing ovation!

The food? Just delicious. It’s been a few days since I joined Tasters, but I still gush over the fresh clean flavors of dill cured tuna with mango and roasted shallots, the crunch of olive crumbles served atop Buffalo mozzarella with freshly-squeezed cherry tomato juice or the mind-blowingly tasty pea soup w popcorn shrimp. And these are just three of ten dishes served that evening!

The drinks? We were welcomed with a delightful lychee-based cocktail and then were free to buy whatever we liked from Taste’s celebrated drinks menu. Some opted for bottles of wine, others sipped on craft beers, I gave a few cocktails a try and was not let down – prepared by a skilled barman right in front of my eyes they were delightful, strong and went surprisingly well with the food.

And finally – the vibe. Every now and then the chef and his wife pop out of the kitchen to introduce the next course and have a chat with the patrons, the waiters and bartenders are always there when you need them, the background music mixes with the clinking of glasses, guests’ chatter and their frequent oh’s and ah’s – it’s all friendly, relaxed and genuinely fun.

And best of all, it all seems effortless. I’m sure a lot of work goes into making the food so yummy and the whole experience so smooth. But it’s a mark of a great event that this effort doesn’t show. On an island where pompous international hotels throw ostentatious wine dinners and flashy Sunday brunches, Tasters is refreshingly unassuming, fun and… tasty!

Learn more on tastebargrill.com

Maciek Klimowicz
Maciek Klimowicz

Maciek Klimowicz is the former Editor in Chief at Real Life Phuket. Food, wine, culture and travel are some of the things he enjoys and writes about. Contact Maciek on klimowicz.maciej@gmail.com


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