Clichéd as I am, that is exactly the image that floated into what passes for my mind these days as I set off for The Fat Chef. In fact I’d heard that the restaurant’s fun logo features exactly such a rotundiform, skillet-waving personage and so it was easy to spot amidst the hectic traffic of Thepkrassatri Rd.
Upon our arrival we were introduced to the actual culinary guru behind this new venture – Chef Narakorn “Pop” Lurtnibuna. Far from being chubby, Chef Pop is a slim, athletically-proportioned Thai fellow, who fairly crackles with creativity and energy.
“Aren’t you a little in contravention of the Trade Descriptions Act?” I joked with him as we began to chat.
“These days that old adage, ‘to never trust a skinny chef’, should probably be changed to; ‘never trust an unhealthy-looking chef’,” he said, “because the world’s tastes have swung decidedly toward the clean, fresh, healthy end of the dining spectrum.”
Chef Pop is very much at the forefront of the charge to healthy eating and the fabulous cuisine we were to dine upon that evening was a grand testament to his vision that, as he said, “You don’t have to sacrifice one iota of taste, flavour and creative flair in order to dine on fresh, healthy cuisine.”
The Fat Chef’s relaxing interior and ambiance belies the hurtling chaos of busy traffic that lies beyond its cool windows. This is indeed a sanctuary, an oasis of good taste (in every sense) amidst the clamour, and is situated near the entrances of both The Boat Lagoon and Royal Phuket Marina – a great catchment area for diners who seek new and exciting culinary adventures.
Presently, The Fat Chef is one of the few Phuket restaurants that encourages diners to bring along their own grape-based liquid refreshment to complement their wonderful food. This benign BYO policy is a terrific opportunity to bring along some great fermented grape juice without paying through the nose for it and we seized it with delight!
Chef Pop brings a wide-ranging and highly impressive breadth of experience to The Fat Chef and it shows. From cooking school in Melbourne, to broad experience gained over 12 years around the United Kingdom and even in bonnie Scotland, to managing a hotel chain back in Thailand, Chef Pop has garnered an eclectic repertoire that manifests through his exciting fusion of Thai-Asian and European cuisine that delights both for its creativity as well as its magnificent taste.
It all starts each morning with Chef Pop hunting through the markets for the finest, freshest produce for that day. He changes many of the menu’s dishes according to the best available produce charming his customers through the range of creative offerings he unearths.
Our own magical experience embraced such treasures as crab meat salad with pineapple cream, red bean and macaroon salad, three-day-cured Norwegian salmon with lime, chilli, peppercorn and brown sugar served with salad and crisp bread and a bountiful fruits de mer with pineapple and orange dressing.
Jazz notes bounced off the well-plumped furnishings and the contents of our chilled bottle of BYO worked its magic making the busy evening traffic outside seem a universe away as we continued with wanton soup with shiitake mushrooms, spicy pumpkin and Thai prawns, then consommé infused with ginger poured, appropriately enough, from a transparent Mad Hatter’s teapot!
A finale of bread and butter pudding, no less, sealed it for me. Chef Pop is not just a fit chef he’s a super-fit artist creating each dish with all the care and flamboyance of a work of art and I recommend that you pay a visit to this fit-fat chef as soon as you can!
For information and bookings call 076 609 298 or visit: thefatchefthailand.com