Fine Dining in Phuket on the Romantic Moon Terrace
A sweet, pine-like smell of the decorative dwarf conifer wafts on the breeze as you gaze over the roofs to the sea. The sun sinks orange behind the horizon as an Asian koel pipes up from a tree. Mynas whistle and warble, and seabirds give shrill calls in flight. It’s the nature that makes fine dining in Phuket on the Moon Terrace one of the most romantic experiences in Kata.
Framed by the jungle-draped Nakkerd Hill with the Big Buddha sitting atop, the Moon Terrace is part of Metadee Concept Hotel in the Kata Beach area. But it’s not just the rambling vistas that make it one of the best restaurants in Phuket with a view. The food is also of the highest quality.
I ate at this rooftop restaurant in Kata recently and was keen to write a review. I’m a Phuket-based travel writer specialising in round-ups and features that centre on Thailand. My work has appeared in titles worldwide, including National Geographic Traveller India, South China Morning Post, Sawasdee Thai Airways, and Culture Trip. Here’s a flavour of what al fresco dining on the Moon Terrace is like.
The Atmospheric Setting
‘Do you want to sit inside or outside?’ the waitress Tan asks, giving me a friendly smile. Peeping inside, I admire the gold-blue interior, which places people within time and space. Think thousands of tiny lights like the spellbinding Rolls-Royce starlight headliner, blue and amber planets, and angular lamps reminiscent of art deco. For all the rattan and cushioned, golden brass chairs that create an inviting mood, I decide to eat on the sunset deck and watch twilight fall over the ocean.
‘Where would you like to sit?’ Tan asks, seeing me at the tables that face the bubbling hotel pool below. As the wind dishevels my hair on the top floor’s 360-degree deck, I choose a table on the lower level near a dwarf conifer and aloe vera plant growing in garden pots. Tan pulls a chair out from the table, motioning for me to sit down.
Just as the sun whispers goodbye in a pinkish hue, blue neon light comes on at this chilled-out rooftop lounge, one of the most romantic restaurants in Phuket. Relaxing piano jazz sets the scene and matches the terrace’s illuminated wall, designed like an organ pipe.
Do: Smile and carry Thai babies to demonstrate you dote on them.
The Mouth-Watering Menu
Cosying up on my rattan chair, I read the menu. While Moon Terrace is not exactly one of the Italian restaurants in Phuket, I notice that it offers several Mediterranean-inspired dishes like Napolitana Pasta – pasta tossed with tomato sauce, fresh Italian basil, and sprinkled with parmesan cheese – or Italian Minestrone, mixed vegetable soup with a pasta topping and basil pesto. Just as authentic as in Italy are the Porcini mushrooms with Italian sausage, cream, truffle salsa and stretched-curd Scamorza cheese. If only I weren’t allergic to cow milk.
‘What do you recommend?’ I ask the restaurant manager named May as I browse through the menu, looking for a specialty of Moon Terrace. Assisting the waitstaff, May says, ‘As an appetiser, I recommend the smoked duck. This dish is new; we launched it only a few days ago.’ Given the quick response, I assume he knows what foods in Phuket foreigners like and confirm that’s what I’ll have.
Meanwhile, the cicadas have woken up, chiming in with rhythmic chirping. Khun Tan sets the table and turns on the table light. ‘Excuse me kaa,’ she says in her lilting Thai accent before putting a napkin in my lap.
Since I’m so close to the sea, I want fish for my main course. On a par with the best seafood restaurants in Phuket, the Moon Terrace offers fresh white snapper. ‘We call it seabass,’ May says. Seeing my bewildered eyes, he adds, ‘It’s the same fish.’
Waiting for my appetiser, I continue to speak with the manager of Moon Terrace, the best rooftop restaurant in Kata. ‘This is a fine dining restaurant. We open music jazz slowly,’ says May. I enjoy the piano tunes as much as the soft, warm glow of neon light around me. Looking down at Metadee Concept’s signature swimming pools meandering through the premises – the neon-lit stairways reflect in the pools – I recognise the designer’s intention of underscoring the ocean’s mood with shades of beige, blue, white, and gold.
The Delicious Meals
‘Duck kab-pom (alright),’ May says as he puts the plate on the teak table. He pours olive oil from Italy and intensely flavoured balsamic vinegar on another plate, telling me to dip crispy baguette slices. The smoked duck is served cold with slices of orange, radishes, ruby-red lettuce topped with a Dijon dressing, plus raspberry compote stewed in sugar syrup. Boy! I love that smoky taste of the ultra-tender duck. And the nice bread in olive oil is an authentic taste of Italy.
In no time, May serves the white snapper. He’s super friendly and explains that delicate white fish fillets need a light white wine like Pinot Gris. ‘It’s (because of) the grape quality of white wine. It has a light body and is easy to drink; no high in tannins.’ Tucking into this low-fat fish with a firm, meaty texture, I enjoy its mild flavour and the oregano on top of it. I do as told and sip Pinot Gris. I think to myself, What a delight!
‘Moon Terrace only uses the breast,’ May says, motioning to his chest. That’s little surprise, given that the Moon Terrace is one of the best restaurants in Kata Beach Phuket. The grilled snapper fillet comes with potatoes, juicy bell pepper and courgettes, lemon and tomato salsa – fresh chopped tomatoes with onions, cilantro, lime juice, salt and herbs. May says the seabass is from the Andaman Sea. ‘From a supplier in Thailand.’
For dessert, he wants me to sample Panna Cotta, a dainty Italian custard with heavy cream, unflavoured gelatine, sugar, homemade strawberry, and peppermint topped with blueberry and orange. I tell him about my milk allergy, but he says I can eat only the upper layer. ‘It’s like a pastry.’ And I’m glad he suggests it. The homemade strawberry is so yummy; my sweet tooth begs for more. Yet I resist, cleaning my hands with a cold, wet, frangipani-scented towel. Thoroughly satisfied with this fine dining in Phuket evening, I follow May inside the restaurant, where a wine cellar, grappa, and premium whiskey from around the world await.
Written by: Philipp Meier – Travel Writer