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Salmon for starters at Bliss, among Phuket's growing number of beach clubs

Finding True Bliss on Phuket Comes at a Price

Saturday, May 25, 2013
Bliss Beach Club, Bang Tao Beach, Phuket


Open: 10am to Midnight.

Telephone: 076 510150

Address: 202/88 Moo 2, Tambon Cherng Talay, Thalang, Phuket 83130.

Style: Western, with some Thai flourishes.

Price range: Tourist prices. spring bay mussels (340 baht) tom yum seafood (260 baht) satay gai (240 baht) grilled eggplant and shrimp salad (270 baht) smoked salmon (380 baht) steak sandwich (550 baht) the burger (450 baht) crab tagliolini (380 baht) vegetable fettucine (330 baht) phad thai (340 baht) massaman curry (300 baht) sea bass (550 baht) lamb salad (680 baht) porterhouse steak (920 baht) capricciosa pizza (480 baht) tropical pizza (380 baht) tiramisu (210 baht) pineapple shore (220 baht) coke (80 baht) cocktails (220/240 baht) house spirits (170 baht) vodka tequila gin (200/400 baht) rum (180/300 baht) bourbon (200/260 baht) shots (200 baht) heineken, singha (110 baht) belgian beer selection (130/260 baht).

Specialties: Cocktails, shots, alcohol.

What Phuketwan says:
Finding Bliss can be hit and miss, whether we're talking utter joy or the Phuket beachside restaurant. We tried a couple of times to head there and failed, but the signage or our eyesight must have improved since then and here we are, about to encounter Bliss at last. What can possibly come between us and pure Bliss? This being Phuket, a big black motorcycle, parked right in the entranceway. Now, when someone's ego insists they can park right at the entrance to a restaurant, you start to wonder immediately whether paying guests are being treated the way they should be. It took a while to dispel the feeling that somebody really, really important, far more important than us, must be at the restaurant today. Bliss makes the most of an almost perfect Phuket location, well away from the rat race, tastefully back from the beach a little. The place is elongated and well appointed. We had come for a quiet late lunch but placement of the drinks menu on top of the dining menu made us think that there are probably more listings for alcohol than there are for food, and we were right. The breeze off the ocean was brilliant, carrying the smell of the sea right to our table. Sadly, the sound of the sea breaking over the beach - music to most tourists' ears - was missing because of the dance club racket. Now, what could possibly be a better beat for a beach club than the roar of the ocean? At least before sunset, we reckon the sea is what most customers at beach clubs would prefer. After dark, the customers and their tastes change. To give a 10pm drinks menu to 2pm diners shows a little confusion about the audience. One wonders whether the thick drinks menu also comes at 10am for those seeking breakfast? Quibbles aside, the food at Bliss is good. A companion raved about the ''real salmon'' piled on the appetiser. The burger was juicy, and the massaman only a notch or two below Phuket's best. The waitresses in their matelot tops smiled in all the right places. It's certainly a blissful setting. The kids have space to roam and have fun during the day, and no doubt the adults do the same at night. There are probably times when being here seems like . . . heaven, or perhaps nirvana. By the time we left, the motorcycle had gone. Ah, true bliss at last.

How to find it: Take the coast road past the Surin park frontage resorts north to Bang Tao or turn to the coast beside the Tesco Lotus from the main Cherng Talay road.

Parking: No shortage of convenient places to park, even for black motorcycles.

Phuketwan reviewers pay for their own meals. If we don't, we tell you. Bliss Beach Club is a candidate for Phuketwan's Phuket Restaurant of the Year 2013.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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If the black motorcycle was a Ducati, it belongs to Bliss's owner..... Given how much it has been raining, I am not surprised he gives it some cover....

Posted by Anonymous on May 25, 2013 18:13

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Have been to Bliss, music a definite distraction, but great location, just don't understand why the need to pump out music this loud at lunchtime. Took one look at the menu and beat a hasty retreat. This place is aimed at the unwary tourist. 550b for a burger, 260b for a tom yam? I feed 3 of us evening meal for around 70-120thb for 2-3 dishes, freshly cooked at home. This sure as hell is not aimed at expats which makes me wonder why you bother with a write up as hardly any tourists would read your esteemed paper.

Posted by swerv on May 25, 2013 19:37

Editor Comment:

''Hardly any'' tourists read our ''esteemed paper''? swerv, how would you know? We certainly don't write only for expats, nor are our restaurant reviews only for expats. You don't have any money to spend, so there's no reason why our advertisers - or any other advertisers - would target you. We try to find good value for both expats and tourists and Thais. Some of our reviews probably suit you. And certainly, our aim is to find good value restaurants . . . for everyone. But don't expect us to ignore the many readers who have more to spend.

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That prices sound to be good reason for tourist, to avoid Phuket for their holidays!

Posted by James on May 26, 2013 09:00

Editor Comment:

Add 10 percent for the service charge, and seven percent VAT. Yes, prices at some Phuket venues seem to be pitched for the top end. Market forces will determine the future of the restaurants in this bracket. Fewer ''quality'' tourists, fewer ''quality'' restaurants. The wonderful aspect of Phuket is that it caters for different budgets. And there are deals done by some top-end restaurants that include package tourists. Restaurant realism.

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Hi Editor, this is Pepe...GM and part owner of Bliss. If your writers have to go on and on about Phuket's businesses...it would be nice if they actually sign their name at the end. I do not mind fair comments on music, food and prices. The drinks menu includes all drinks we offer and is actually two A4 pages...To end the big black bike belongs to me and coming to work everyday gives me some right to park by the entrance...and not in the sand where it might fall over.

PEPE VIVA

Posted by Pepe Viva on May 26, 2013 15:37

Editor Comment:

Hello Pepe. As the owner, you can park your bike where you like. It just sends a mixed message to guests. At 2pm in the afternoon, the reviewers were presented with a hefty drinks menu that was far larger than two A4 sheets. Perhaps the evening drinks menu comes out too early? Our restaurant reviews have never carried bylines because we don't want our reviewers identified. They should be able to try any restaurant as paying customers, without being recognised as reviewers.

We only have limited control over what readers have to say. Anything over the top or unreasonable doesn't appear. Bliss seems to have plenty of fans.

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I'm an expat living in Phuket, and I see no reason to complain about the prices listed. Sure, a bit on the high side but I guess the ambience and location makes up for that.
However, parking your big black motorbike right at the entrance is just disrespectful, ESPECIALLY if you are the owner. As the manager you should be extra aware of first impressions, and the impression I would get is less positive if I saw big motorbike at the entrance. Had I found out it's the owners bike I would go elsewhere.

Posted by christian on May 26, 2013 17:41

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Why no reviewer identification? Even the Times does this!
Also what does the location of the owners bike have to do with the quality of the food & bev? Or even the service?

Posted by eezergood on May 27, 2013 09:51

Editor Comment:

Guests don't expect to encounter a large motorcycle blocking part of the entranceway to a beach club. It makes a statement. What's more important to the owner: giving guests a beach club impression, or the motorcycle? Does an idyllic daytime location need motorcycles and loud music? That's a decision for the owner to make. We've said why we don't name reviewers, i suggest you read the previous comment.

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Its, on the occasions I have visited, hardly blocking even a part of the entrance & one might say is actually visually appealing. I think the link you/your reviewer makes about customer importance is tenuous at best.

With regards to to reviewers identity or lack thereof I have read your previous comments/reasons, but frankly do not agree.

I would urge the reviwer to focus more on the job in hand as the review is hardly thorough. I would prefer more on the food, bev, service etc... than the perceived wrong, of drink menu delivery.

Posted by eezergood on May 27, 2013 10:27

Editor Comment:

Fine. We disagree. Odd, though, that you don't think the way a beach club welcomes guests - with a motorcycle in this case - is important. Perhaps reviewers and all guests should close their eyes until they are inside the restaurant? Are all guests who arrive by motorcycle entitled to park where the owner parks?

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As a guest I believe the car park is suitable, as the owner you can park wherever you damwell please!

As for closing ones eyes, this works on the assumption that ALL guests find said motorcycle offensive/eyesore. They DO NOT, I for one find that particualr machine a thing of beauty. Perhaps another one of your namless staffers could survery a random sample of guests to the place and report back your findings? Further more what I do find odd is a review of a, principally, eating and dining venue that has very little content about either. A list of various drinks hardly counts.

Posted by eezergood on May 27, 2013 10:58

Editor Comment:

We already said that it's the owner's choice, but we said it politely. And we have also already made the point that some will approve of the large black motorcycle parked in the entranceway, others will not. We'd suggest it would be more appropriate for the owner to undertake the survey you suggest, perhaps with your help. Why not ask guests what they think, as they arrive? You could sit on the motorbike. Meanwhile, our staff will check to see if any other beach clubs or restaurants have motorbikes in the entranceways. We suspect the ones that do are probably not as classy as Bliss.

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Honestly I dont see what the problem is I have been to Bliss with my wife & friends many times, I dont think that the motorbike has any Impact to the experience, the entrence is wide enough It certainly dosent come into my mind and I have been working in the industry for over 20 years, I think the food & drink Is great, Peppe is a great host, ok for some people the prices are high but with this sort of venue then thats to be expected.

As to the identities of reviewers I understand why they dont say during the meal but for any owner/chef/manager its very frustrating for people to share their comments publicly with out knowing who or what qualifications they have remeber this Is our passion and people outside of it rarely understand that.

Posted by Johno on May 27, 2013 11:11

Editor Comment:

As the review says, the presence of the motorbike - a large black lump of lead to some, a lust object to others - is a quibble. Some people will always argue about small things.

Any anonymous commenter who opines that our dining reviewers should be identified is clearly being ingenuous. Rest assured, our reviewers have been eating food all their lives.

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You seem to be missing the point entirely and intenet on bickering. Whilst I appreciate you allowing my comments to be posted, you do seem to take a very defensive position. Perhaps you could address my issues r.e the content?

Posted by eezergood on May 27, 2013 11:13

Editor Comment:

We've been reviewing Phuket restaurants in the same manner for more than five years and have never had a complaint about the style until now. Our reviews are by paying customers. Every paying customer is entitled to an honest opinion, as all good restaurateurs will tell you.

A person who takes issue with a reviewer's opinion - and a quibble at that - could fairly be considered a bickerer, unless he or she has something constructive to add.

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I have been playing football all my life, it hardly qualifies me as a footballer though.
Perhaps more focus and the food and bev, as this is what most people will come to enjoy. Not the car park or the entrance.

Posted by eezergood on May 27, 2013 11:25

Editor Comment:

You got it, eezergood. Note quibble: a minor objection.

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Well ed, after 5 years perhaps its time for a change.

Posted by eezergood on May 27, 2013 11:28

Editor Comment:

If it's promotional waffle you wish to read, there are plenty of other options. We prefer to stick with real prices and real opinions.

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"Guests don't expect to encounter a large motorcycle blocking part of the entranceway to a beach club"

Even worse, the owner/manager indicated he parks there because in the sand it might fall over. So he expects his guests to park there ...

Posted by stevenl on May 27, 2013 11:28

Editor Comment:

Indeed.

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I would love to read your reviewers opinions of the food, sadly they are scant at best.

Your reviewer is casting aspersions over the owner, not me or a friend of mine, of the black motorbike. Noting that their ego gives them freedom to act as they like.

Posted by eezergood on May 27, 2013 11:35

Editor Comment:

That's entirely your interpretation, eezergood. the reviewer had no idea it was the owner's motorcycle, so any ''aspersions'' are purely in your imagination . . . and in your imagination, we assume you park your Hummer at the entrance to your restaurant.

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Please read my comment again, I say the owner of the motorbike NOT the owner of the venue. Aspersions were, indeed, cast. I quote
"Now, when someone's ego insists they can park right "

Once again, you feel the need to make fanciful assumptions. I neither own a Hummer nor an eatery, if I did I would indeed park where I felt appropriate.

I am questioning the content of a review, where the reviewer seems overly snide about something that has very little bearing on the end product.

Posted by eezergood on May 27, 2013 12:14

Editor Comment:

''Overly snide'' is once again your imagination at work. You seem to be determined to turn a positive review into a negative one. One wonders why.

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- eezergood

Reviewers are normal people just like everyone else. They can only express their own opinions and impressions. After all, you can't expect them to conduct a poll among other patrons. Ridiculous suggestion. They didn't like the motorbike, others including you and me might not object. They said service and food was good, setting nice. Music too loud and prices high.

That's all the info I need. If I'd pay tourist prices, I would not want to hear thumping club scene music either.

It's obvious the owner is your friend but you should understand that by attacking the reviewers and PW you only cause more damage to the image of Bliss.

Accept the fact that different people have different opinions and like different things. You may discover it to be a very useful skill to master in all walks of live.

- Pepe Viva

Why would you want to know the identity of the reviewers and if you did, what do you plan to do with that information ?

Knowing their names should not make any difference whatsoever or are you perhaps asking every customer to submit their full name at the end of their meal/drink too ?

Sometimes it's better to say nothing and have people think you are a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubts.

Posted by ThaiMike on May 27, 2013 12:40

Editor Comment:

In a big city, it is possible for a reviewer to use a real name and give honest opinions. On an island like Phuket? Our choice is not to expose the authors of our reviews to unwarranted overreactions. This appears to be a wise decision. Our belief is that if a diner pays top price for a meal at any restaurant, they have every right to expect perfection. Anything that detracts from the experience deserves to be mentioned. To expect a New York Times style fine dining review of hamburgers and massaman curry seems, to us, plain ridiculous. We will, however, accurately inform future customers about the ambience, the service, and any imperfections. Others are free to judge by applying their own tastes and standards.

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I have ZERO connection to anyone at Bliss. I have met the chef & the owner, but that too could be said for many places around the island and I am quite sure many readers here have met them also.

Posted by eezergood on May 27, 2013 13:07

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To quote "By the time we left, the motorcycle had gone. Ah, true bliss at last". this deams that without the motorbike parked outside the overall experince was better which i dont get?

Posted by Johno on May 27, 2013 13:38

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Great review. Great food pictures, great place. Nice to know my kids have spaces to go. Great planning.

I think the reviewers are dead on. There was someone quite more important then them at the beach club. The general manager, part owner. The parked bike puts you in place, you come for him. At least, that would be my impression. Parking in the face of the club... "50m to go? I work here, you feel me?". Living legend.

Posted by Lena on May 27, 2013 14:17

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I think anonymous reviewers, that pay their own food is the only true reviewer, ever. Because that's the only way to guarantee they experience what any random customer would. The bike at the entrance tells me the manager is full of himself, trying to make himself look like a cool dude. Sure, he can park anywhere he damn wants, but it looks stupid. To me at least.

Posted by christian on May 27, 2013 17:37

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Ok, ok, this is my last response as my motorcycle seems to have caused a furor of debate and has drawn focus away from the actual restaurant review.
I appreciate all reviews, both positive and negative, about Bliss. Constructive criticism is always important as it allows us to see out venue in a different light or brings to attention things that we may have over looked.
Phuket is a small island with a vast selection of venues both high and low end. What we offer at Bliss is the culmination of the some sixty years of hospitality experience shared between the management team. Unfortunately, what we do may not appeal to 100% of the people in the world. Hospitality is a hugely personal industry and while everyone is welcome to their opinion, it is imperative that we maintain a consistent direction for our business and stand by both what we offer and how we offer it.
Where I park my bike is a matter of function. It has never been my intention to promote myself a ''cool dude'', nor to draw attention away from the beach club. While some people pose to take photos with the bike, others my view it with disdain. It is most certainly not parked there as a status symbol. When other guests with large, tall bikes come to Bliss, they are more than welcome to park their bike at the entrance. The car park is suitable for cars and the sand for scooters. The only stipulation we have is that nobody obstruct the actual entrance itself or the disabled ramp beside it for wheelchair access.

Posted by Pepe Viva on May 28, 2013 14:20

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give the guy a break if it was a tuk tuk parked there harrasing patrons for fares would you you aprove then.

Posted by slickmelb on June 5, 2013 22:23


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