One of the early characters on the restaurant scene in Phuket was Tom McNamara a very alive American who had a small white wooden cottage on a cliff overlooking the northern end of Patong. He held dinner parties and friends convinced him to open a restaurant and just over 25 years later that restaurant with just 32 seats is the landmark Thai restaurant called Baan Rim Pa that serves Royal Thai cuisine. Tom had help from friends in the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok and that included Khun Das who runs the place still today and is now a shareholder along with Tom’s widow Khun Pensri and 2 children from previous marriages
Whilst Tom passed away about 8 years ago, his approach to menus, service layout and most details is still carried on. The old adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” probably applies very much to Tom’s vision and the evolution of Baan Rim Pa. General Manager, Khun Das is very much thee guardian of that vision. Even to the extent of the color of the railings. He really is an amazing low key guy who knows all the detail and is always around overseeing things
So is the Legend Tom McNamara or the restaurant he created back in March 1990? I will let you decide
So Baan Rim Pa #2 or Baan Rim Pa Kalim has just opened just 1.8 Km further north but with probably better views and higher ceilings. It has seating for 250 spread over 3 levels, 2 bars, the famous grand piano, a wine cellar the equal of the original that has resulted in a “2 Glasses” Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator- only 10 establishments in Thailand have achieved that and there are 2 in Phuket the other being Boat House with Wine Guru George Ciret. Wine Consultant Randy Chin says they have about 370 different wines and about 1,000 bottles in total. Their Wine Sommelier Khun Ta was recently placed second in a wine competition so don’t let this young lady fool you- she is very good on wines
Fresh Red roses are delivered daily, there are 103 different dishes, 25 car parking spots and over 60 fans, so with the sea-breeze there is no need for aircon. Many staff have been around for years and perhaps I can let readers into a secret. The new place was created as the lease had expired on the old place but the landlord had second thoughts so instead of a new location, the new location is just a “cut and paste and photo shop” duplicate of the old place (this is the way long term Marketing Director Sue Ultmann describes them).
It is amazing how similar they are and you really have to try both to determine which you prefer.
There are only 30 staff but they make the place hum- my tip is ask for table B5- provided I’m not sitting there. Even if you are on a diet it is worth visiting just to see the detail on this typical old style wooden Thai building. But then again you’d be crazy as the food is very different to most Thai restaurants