Marketing experts agree – you will forget what a product looked like, what it smelled like or what was its taste; you’re likely to forget what it was called, what colour it was, maybe even what you used it for. But one thing you’ll definitely remember is how it made you feel.
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about cars or hotels, clothes or gadgets – we attach emotions to them, we use them not just to get from point A to B or to dress ourselves up; we use them to produce certain emotions, to get ourselves feeling better. And what better way to boost your mood, than at a good restaurant? One that was designed with your good mood in mind.
23 Restaurant in Cherng Talay’s Boat Avenue is precisely such a place. First opened in April 2017, it’s been in sort of a “beta-mode” for the last couple of months, preparing to deliver to its guests exactly what they are looking for. And judging from what it feels like to dine at 23, they got it right.
The design of the place was formed in the mind of the 23’s owner Marco, a Serbian entrepreneur who, previous to moving to Phuket, run a number of businesses across Europe (Germany, Italy, Spain are just some of the countries where he resided). Not a professional designer, he set out to create something different at 23, and it’s maybe due to his lack of experience in interior design, that he succeeded.
23 is one of those places where you enter and instantly reach for your phone to snap a few photos. Occupying a large plot of land on a lakeshore, it immediately strikes one as unique. From the fairytale-like garden dining section, with decorative white furniture, a gossamer, airy sala and dreamy lighting, to the generous indoors section set within a brightly-lit glasshouse, it all makes 23 one of the most romantic and stylish spaces to dine at in Phuket.
And what’s more, 23 is more than a restaurant. With all that real estate available as his creative playground, Marco decided to use the rear side of his land plot to create a club area. Style-wise, the only thing it shares with the restaurant is the predominating white colour, but instead of the rather classic style of the dining section, it goes for a more futuristic, spaceship-like look. Popping in there for an after-dinner cocktail gives one a feeling of travelling through a space portal.
But enough about the design, let’s talk food. A few months back, the menu started off long and a tad confusing, with the aim of giving guests a chance to find their favourites and eliminate what was redundant over the course of 23’s “test run”. The resulting carte still provides plenty of choices, but is much more manageable and focused. What dominates it are classic continental dishes – steaks, pasta, salads – all prepared using top quality produce. Then there is the Thai selection, of similarly bespoke quality, and according to the Thai chef to whom I had a chance to chat – 100% authentic. However, I will have to take his word for it, as during my visit I focused on western cuisine. The T-bone steak came exactly as I asked – rare and juicy; my companion’s slow cooked lamb could challenge any I’ve had in Phuket and the starters that preceded the mains – beef tartare and a bowl of refreshing ceviche – left nothing to be desired. If the Thai food at 23 is half as good as the western selection than it’s great.
The waiters, while a tad lacking in experience, were making up for their shortcoming with heartwarming friendliness; the wine list deserves a separate, more in-depth write-up (though probably not under Thailand’s anti-alcohol laws) and the restaurant itself, is just something different. From daily live music performances to custom themed events they offer to guests looking to celebrate a special occasion in a unique, fun fashion, 23 gets a lot of things right.
23 Restaurant is open 7 days a week, from 11 am to 2 am. Learn more at 23restaurant.com