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Inside a box that opens each evening, beside Kalim Bay

The White Box Restaurant and Bar, Kalim Bay

Thursday, July 24, 2008
Best Restaurant of 2008 contender

Telephone: 076 346271 ext 1

Open: 5pm to midnight (Restaurant opens 6pm. Bookings from 9am.)

Address: 247/5 Prabaramee Road, Patong, Kathu, Phuket 83150

Style: Thai Mediterranean, restaurant and lounge bar.

Price range: Five-star prices, but with service charge and tax already added to listings in the menu. Chicken satay (280 baht) spicy pork neck salad (320 baht) scallop salad (450 baht) red duck curry (450 baht) lobster (350baht/100 gm) lobster ravilioli (520 baht) pan fried duck liver (620 baht) beef carpaccio (380 baht) beef tenderloin salad (520 baht) homemade gnocchi (450 baht) roast lamb rack (1150 baht) french duck breast (650 baht) veal chop (1250 baht) Australian beef tenderloin (950 baht) grilled red tuna (580 baht) red snapper (550 baht) cheese plate with grapes (550 baht) fruit juice (110 baht) cocktails (280 baht) shooter (200 baht) signature white box martini (300 baht) Singha beer (120 baht) Asahi (120 baht).

Specialty: Jazz bands and DJs, together with an excellent sound system, help to make music an essential part of the menu. We would quibble, though, about the need for any music at all before 7pm. Located by the sea for convivial gatherings and events.

What Phuketwan says: The White Box already has the makings of an important Phuket landmark, signifying the beginning of a new era. Note it down with the Tesco Lotus supermarket and the Central Festival shopping mall. Yes, seriously. While the White Box is a good deal more attractive than those two, the advent of each highlights the island's transition to a fresh phase of growth. Each also marks the introduction of Western concepts, albeit with Thai involvement. In terms of design, of course, the White Box stands alone. Here, as close as possible to the waves of Kalim Bay, is an erection, or more precisely a resurrection, that says boldly: ''The tsunami could not beat us. Nothing ever will.''
Apart from all that meaningful stuff, how about the food and the ambience? Well, we arrived embarrassingly early, in time to catch the sunset and, as a bonus, the waitresses powdering their noses. It was as though they were getting ready for a performance, and perhaps that is not so far from the truth. Drinks in the bar first, time to ponder the place before moving down to eat on the rocks. The music was a little loud for daytime, and not really in keeping with the mood (jazz for sunsets, if anything). Stark white with blue offsets, this restaurant and lounge is made to impress. It has more layers than most wedding cakes. How about the taste? We moved down to the front spot on a platform that extends seawards, over a large rock. The outlook from here is Phuket dreamy, among the finest locations on the island. Metres away, a fisherman stood in the water and cast his net. Momentarily, we wondered how it could be possible to obtain planning permission so close to the sand. But we let that thought dissolve, overtaken by the outlook. The menu, Thai on one side, Mediterranean on the other, came almost as a diversion. Then some great aromas wafted out from the kitchen and we started to pay attention. Being so early in the evening, we settled for pasta. Birds flitted to and fro from the tree above us, a couple of children played on the shore. Two small, unexpected serves of antipasto were delivered, with a dish of olives, a pleasant surprise. The tagliatelle with smoked salmon and the green vegetarian lasagna vanished without effort, appealing and palatable. The service was impeccable. As we left, the lights were going on and the White Box was changing character. Having caught the matinee and clapped, we plan to return sometime after dark for a regular performance.

How to find it: At the northern end of Kalim Bay, which is the bay next to Patong Bay, heading towards Kamala.

Parking: A small strip alongside the restaurant, or by the roadside.

Phuketwan restaurant reviewers pay for their meals. If someone else does, we tell you so

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Wednesday June 19, 2019
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