InterContinental Phuket Resort, north of Kamala Beach
Sitting amongst the pine trees overlooking the spectacular Kamala Beach, Jaras is a sophisticated contemporary restaurant, combining authentic flavours and progressive presentation throughout the dining experience.
Open time: 6-10pm
Reservation: 24 hours in advance
Resevation: Tel: 0 7662 9999phuket.intercontinental.com/dining/jaras
The recently launched Jaras is the signature restaurant at the equally newly opened InterContinental Phuket Resort in Kamala. With a beachfront location, ocean views add to the chic and hip ambience. A terrace overlooks the pool, affording diners outside dining whilst the wooded interior features an ever-active vista into the open kitchen – as chefs carefully prepare your chosen dishes.
The concept of Jaras centres on taking local products, painstakingly sourced from artisanal farmers and fishermen, and utilising them in modern interpretations of authentic Thai recipes. Chef de Cuisine Chatchawan Varahajeerakul, Khun ‘Bank’ is no stranger to this trending philosophy having trained in a celebrated Michelin star restaurant.
Set menus are offered in addition to a more traditional à la carte. Highlights are a twist on Thod Man Poo, traditionally a simple yet classic crab cake. Inserting a hole in the centre of the cake enables a more even cooking process, allowing the ‘doughnut’ to maintain a moist texture accentuating the sweet integrity of the crabmeat. Another dish of note is the Yum Som O Goong Yang – a grilled Andaman prawn combined with the Thai classic of refreshing pomelo salad, exquisitely presented, the salad cleverly stuffing the delicately charred prawn.
A surprising main course of Massaman Pae follows – a southern style low and slow cooked goat with potato, onion, coconut milk and tamarind; the goat sourced from a nearby sustainable farm. A fine example of the Jaras’ team’s support of the local community. Several varieties of rice accompany this dish, including butterfly pea, berry or fluffy jasmine.
Traditional Thai desserts are also reimagined with the crunchy multi-coloured cubes of Tab Tim Siam topped off with a sublime home-made coconut ice cream replacing the expected coconut milk dressing. Do not depart without sampling a coffee. From Chiang Mai farm to cup, individual farmers provide intriguing aromas and flavours to perfectly end your Jaras experience.
For the less adventurous diners, Jaras provides a multitude of choices from a temptingly extensive menu. However, to truly experience the culinary creations of Chef Bank and his team, I urge you to put yourself in their hands and select a tasting menu, you will not be disappointed!
Chris Watson is a former Michelin Guide Inspector who following an international career in hospitality spanning 30 years in both the Middle East and Asia, has now settled in Thailand and contributes various columns on Phuket dining.