A khantoke dinner is named after the pedestal tray that it is served on. Traditionally the khantoke was a short round table with several legs and made from wood or rattan, adorned with carvings and finished with lacquer. It was originally used as a small dining table by the Lanna people, a Kingdom that ruled over Northern Thailand from the end of the 13th century until the 18th century. Different dishes sat atop the khantoke in separate serving bowls, and families shared their meal together. Wealthy families, at that time, had their tables decorated with gold, and khantoke dinners were held for special occasions such as festivals and weddings, or the ordination of a son into monkhood.

Silavadee Resort is in a stunning location, cascading downhill through lush tropical vegetation all the way to the sea. The Height, as the name suggests, is a restaurant perched high up at the top of the resort. You have a choice of dining locations; a glass-walled air-conditioned dining room with high wooden ceilings, or a breezy alfresco open-air terrace. Both overlook the stunning Gulf of Thailand, with blissful uninterrupted sea views all the way to the horizon. The décor is sleek, modern and contemporary, with a clean homely feel. The Height is a specialist Thai restaurant, and focuses on providing you with an authentic experience of both traditional Thai food as well as their unique ‘modern Thai’ dishes. No pasta or pizza available here. Only pure, unadulterated, perfectly cooked Thai cuisine to savour, as you soak up the amazing view.

Adding to their already amazing menu, The Height has brought the traditional khantoke dinner right up to date, with its own modern-day versions. Five dishes are presented in clay pots, arranged on a silver pedestal tray and are designed to be shared between two people. It’s the perfect way to sample a number of different Thai styles and flavours in one meal. There are two choices of khantoke; Southern Style or Central Style, and both are set menus. The five dishes represent unique traditional recipes, using a mix of ingredients, spices and herbs specifically found in these two distinct regions of Thailand. Steamed rice is served seperately, as is the dessert, which brings the total number of dishes to a lucky seven!

Geographically, southern Thailand is a slender peninsula stretching down to Malaysia and includes the island of Koh Samui. It is dramatically different from the rest of the country. Lush jungle, craggy limestone mountains and long stretches of beach are the most familiar features of this fertile landscape. Cultivated areas tend to be huge rubber and coconut plantations. Coconut is used to the full in this region, its milk thickening soups and curries, its oil for frying, its grated flesh as a condiment. Southern Thai’s prefer their food chilli-hot, sharp and intense, and are fond of the bitter taste imparted by a flat, native green bean called sataw, also known as stink beans! The long coastline means seafood traditionally dominates many dishes.

The Height’s Southern Style Khantoke includes; green mango salad with dried coconut and minced prawn, stir-fried local green leaves with egg, local chicken soup with fresh turmeric, spicy red minced chicken curry with galangal and kaffir lime leaves, stir-fried prawn with Samui local green beans (not stink beans!), and for a little sweetness to finish; tapioca balls in coconut milk.

In comparison, the central region of Thailand has many canals and rivers, and is the most densely populated. Its fertile soil benefits from the yearly flood which occurs around November, allowing rice and vegetables as well as aquatic life, to flourish. Recipes here call for shrimp, crab, fish and vegetables in addition to rice and pork. Spices such as dried red pepper, onion, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, bergamot, sweet basil, and turmeric are widely used, as is the abundant coconut cream. Thai food in the central region is a combination of various tastes; hot, salty, sweet and a little oily. Main courses are usually quite peppery and desserts, succulently sweet.

The Central Style Khantoke offers; Thai fish cakes with plum sauce, grilled beef salad with cucumber and celery, spicy and sour prawn soup with lemongrass and galangal, red curry with roast duck and mixed fruit, stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts, and the all-time favourite Thai sweet and succulent dessert – mango with sticky rice.

The Height is open from midday until 11.00 pm, and outside guests are very welcome. Silavadee residents can also enjoy khantoke dining in the comfort of their own villa. Silavadee is located at the northern end of Lamai. Travelling from Chaweng, follow the ring-road towards Lamai. After descending the hills, take the first turning on your left after the big modern glass IT Complex building. Follow the road bearing right at the top of a slight hill, and the resort is on your left, about 200 metres further along.

Chefs at The Height specialise in cooking authentic regional Thai food. Khantoke dining allows you to experience the traditional Thai way of sharing dishes. Come with your partner, friends or family members and sample the many tastes and flavours of Thai food in one dining experience. Because after all, sharing is caring!

Karan Ladd

For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7796 0555.