Emerging out of a palm canopy on a private Phuket peninsula overlooking the Andaman Sea are the distinctive pointed roofs of Amanpuri’s Pavilions, which evoke the architecture of Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam. Here, at this ‘place of peace’, Amanpuri has introduced three new culinary concepts to its restaurants and an innovative new Wellness Menu to support the Wellness Immersions. Leading Aman’s culinary vision with renowned chefs at the helm, Amanpuri now offers guests and non-residents the opportunity to experience Phuket’s abundance of natural produce in gastronomic fare from three different continents, as well as a Wellness Menu crafted by famed raw vegan chefs Ben Flowerday and Dean Gleeson.
The first of Aman’s culinary concepts, Nama, launched at Amanpuri in March 2017 and explores the intricate techniques of Washoku from Japan, while Aman’s second culinary concept Arva, celebrates the bold flavours and simple ingredients of Italy’s rich culinary heritage. Arva, befitting launched at Aman Venice in October 2017 and has now too opened its doors at Amanpuri. Unique to Amanpuri, The Lounge delivers the spirit and vibrancy of Central and South American cuisine and nightlife to Amanpuri’s shores. The menu at each of these dining venues revolves around seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients, but also features select artisanal and fresh produce from its country of inspiration. Nama, Arva and The Lounge join Amanpuri’s existing restaurant – The Terrace with its emphasis on authentic Thai cuisine, and the Beach Club, which serves a casual Mediterranean-inspired menu just steps from the sand.
As both Amanpuri and Aman approach their 30th anniversary, the launch of Nama and Arva represent the beginning of a significant, new gastronomic chapter for the brand. Nama and Arva will continue to launch thoughtfully selected Aman destinations worldwide in 2018, with their menus subtly adjusted according to the ingredient possibilities presented by each locale.
Nama, the Japanese word for ‘raw’, offers exquisitely crafted sushi and sashimi at the heart of a menu celebrating the UNESCO recognised cuisine Washoku, a style of cuisine that elevates cooking to an art form that takes years to perfect. With a respect for nature and exquisite presentation, Washoku is simultaneously simple yet complex, combining sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami flavours to perfection. Guided by the vision of Master Chef Keiji Matoba, Nama brings to Amanpuri authentic Japanese fare, celebrating its emphasis on seasonality and the freshest of ingredients. In a nod to Aman’s two properties in Japan, Aman Tokyo and Amanemu, Nama is imbued with a strong sense of place, and serves simple yet sophisticated dishes that are true to the age-old preparation techniques of the Japanese kitchen.
The core of Nama’s menu is fresh fish and seafood, an apt complement to the restaurant’s jasmine-wrapped beach setting. Alongside the comprehensive menu of nigiri sushi, maki sushi and sashimi are signature dishes such as Kobe Gyu (a Japanese Kobe Wagyu steak grilled over a tabletop charcoal brazier and served with Moshio mineral salt) and the Amanpuri Roll (tuna and salmon with spring onion, chive, avocado and onion crumbs). Nama is open from November to May.
An iconic sweep of stone stairs leads from Amanpuri’s secluded beach up to the resort’s midnight blue swimming pool and terrace. Surrounded by palm trees, it is here Arva resides, overlooking the pool with panoramic views of the Andaman Sea. Housed in a gracious structure with an Ayutthaya-inspired pitched roof and 10-metre high ceilings, the restaurant offers both indoor and alfresco dining.
Arva celebrates the bold flavours and simple ingredients of Italy’s rich culinary heritage. This style of cooking combines the conviviality and warmth of a kitchen at the heart of a home, with the ingenuity required to tease out both the most powerful and most delicate tastes from Italy’s most humble as well as precious ingredients. Arva pays tribute to this in both its name, which means ‘cultivated land’ in Latin, and its ethos: the shared enjoyment of uncomplicated flavours in a welcoming and congenial atmosphere.
Conceived by Stefano Artosin, Regional Executive Chef of Amanpuri (Thailand), Amansara (Cambodia) and Amantaka (Laos), and Andrea Torre, recently appointed Executive Chef of Amanyangyun (Shanghai), following a stint at Aman Venice. Artosin turned to Amanpuri’s community to find inspiration for Arva’s bold, heart-warming dishes and Italy’s rich culinary heritage, where cooks looked to the land and the farmers around them to source their ingredients. In Amanpuri’s fertile corner of Phuket, it was not hard to do. Every day, Khun Somnai, a fisherman from the local village of Bang Tao, brings his prized catch to Amanpuri, be it snapper, Phuket lobster, soft-shell crab, tiger prawns, mud crabs or live grouper. Squid comes straight to the Arva kitchen from Khun Somnai’s fellow fishermen’s boats, where it is fried in its own ink to preserve its ocean-fresh taste. Free-range organic chickens and eggs are supplied by a nearby farm in Phang Nga, allowing Arva to offer sharing platters of herb-roasted chicken; and the produce markets in Phuket Old Town ensure a daily supply of tropical fruits, fiery chilis and fresh vegetables. Delectable gelatos and sorbets incorporate fresh coconuts from the resort’s own plantation.
In addition to the finest local produce, Arva’s cuisine is enhanced with ingredients from some of the most respected niche suppliers in Italy. These include single-source olive oils from Tuscany and Liguria, and small-batch pastas from boutique makers. Local Thai ingredients are also used in classic recipes to offer a unique take on traditional Italian cuisine. The harmonious pairing of ingredients allows for a considered selection of cicchetti, pastas, risottos, hearty mains and sharing plates showcasing the best of Phuket.
Perched between Amanpuri’s magnificent swimming pool and the palm-silhouetted horizon, The Lounge is inspired by the street foods and spirits of Latin America. Providing a relaxed and elegant environment in which guests can enjoy small bites and cocktails – all crafted in tribute to the ingredients and techniques that have informed Mesoamerican food culture.
Mexican specialties such as crisp tostadas stuffed with blue crab, fresh salsa, and chayote and adobe sauces feature on the menu alongside tacos filled with ‘cochinita pibil’, a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork. Peruvian ceviche is made with fish from the Andaman Sea, delicate salads feature nopal cactus leaves, and heartier dishes include black-olive marinated lamb cutlets and chargrilled chilli-spiked Wagyu beef with black aubergine salsa. In keeping with Aman’s emphasis on balance and mindful living, healthy, gluten-free and vegetarian dishes are plentiful, with raw and vegan options.
Inspired by the spirits of Latin America, The Lounge also offers a varied cocktail menu inspired by the classic spirits of South America: rum, cachaca, pisco, tequila and mescal are mixed with house-made infusions, bitters and syrups, and innovative techniques such as oak-barrel ageing to create smooth, mellow flavours. Classic combinations are given inventive twists, such as the Avocado and Cilantro Margarita and the Puri Pisco Sour with homemade lemongrass syrup. Other specialty cocktails include the Negrita (a reinvented Negroni with tequila instead of gin), Smoky Waters (barrel-aged rums mixed with lime, Cointreau, tangerine juice, grenadine and bitters served in an Old Fashioned glass infused with woodsmoke from a bourbon barrel stave); and Breakfast in Jalisco (homemade orange marmalade shaken
with pineapple and cinnamon-infused tequila, Cointreau and lime juice, served in a Margarita glass rimmed with tangerine salt).
Sensitively styled to fit the minimalist Asian design of the resort, The Lounge interiors are a seamless fusion of stone and natural wood with a subtle nod to Aztec architecture. Set just above the beach, The Lounge is perfectly positioned for cool daytime drinks in the shade and at night, the mood transforms and the South American influence extends the ambience with a Latin-inflected chill-out soundtrack and guest DJs.
With its knowledge of and respect for the traditional healing philosophies of its many destinations and their focus on holistic wellbeing, Aman has long recognised the link between wellness and nutrition. Aman has been at the forefront of the healthy eating movement in the hospitality industry for many years, tailoring menus and meals to suit guests’ dietary requirements on a daily basis. With 2016’s launch of Aman Wellness and the introduction of Aman Spa’s Immersion programmes at Amanpuri, Aman has collaborated with two world renowned raw/vegan consultant chefs to launch a comprehensive wellness dining menu, catering to all those interested in maintaining, fortifying and improving their wellbeing.
A raw vegan chef, based in Byron Bay Australia, Ben Flowerday is recognised for his fine-dining take on healthy cuisine. Together with Dean Gleeson, an award-winning raw food chef with over 20 years of experience in health- promoting cuisine, he has helped curate Amanpuri’s new Wellness menu using nutritious, seasonal ingredients to create delectable, life-affirming art on a plate.
Completely gluten- and dairy-free, the wellness menu includes vegan and vegetarian options as well as several dishes featuring fish and eggs. Beginning with a vast range of smoothies and healing juices, the menu segues into healthy morning favourites such as Coconut, Almond and Chia Seed Bowl with fresh fruits and smoked salmon eggs benedict on flaxseed crackers with lime hollandaise. Soups include Thai Roasted Tomato and Bell Pepper Soup with steamed quinoa, and miso soup with wakame, shiitake and lemongrass tofu. Light meals and mains comprise gluten-free pastas, kelp noodle salads, vegetable carpaccios and Thai-inspired vegan dishes, while desserts include Chocolate Cashew Cake with blueberries and walnut cream, and a Pandan, Carrot and Coconut Slice with pineapple and coconut yoghurt.
Designed to support those taking part in Aman’s Wellness Immersions, the menu is also available to all Aman guests and non-resident restaurant patrons.
Thai at The Terrace
For those looking to sample the tastes of the country, The Terrace serves finely spiced dishes from central and southern Thailand. Overlooking the resort’s iconic swimming pool, here, classic regional dishes such as Tom Yam, Pad Thai, a medley of Thai salads and fragrant Thai curries are crafted from locally-sourced ingredients. These include soft shell crab from a sustainable mangrove farm in Phang Nga and fresh coconut cream delivered from the nearby village of Choeng Thalay twice a day, every day, for the last 30 years.
The Beach Club
Down by the Andaman shore, Amanpuri’s seasonal lunch restaurant, the Beach Club, prepares healthy salads, grilled catch of the day to order, wood-fired pizzas and other Mediterranean dishes in a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere. The Beach Club also plays host to a calendar of special-occasion and themed dinners throughout the year.
While overlooking the Andaman Sea, there’s no mistaking you’re in Thailand, even when dining on fresh sashimi at Nama, sharing an Italian-inspired dish at convivial Arva or snacking on crispy Mexican tostadas over pisco cocktails in The Lounge. Amanpuri’s array of exceptional restaurants provides guests and non-residents with not only exceptional food, but a stunning setting where it’s easy to see how Amanpuri, the original Aman resort, has captured imaginations for almost three decades.