“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” Buddha
The traditional festival of Songkran, also known as the Thai New Year or Thailand Water Festival, was originally celebrated as a way for the Thai people to sprinkle water on their family members and elders for good fortune and pay their respects to their beloved Buddha. Today, the festival has transitioned into a three-day celebration in Thailand of water fun, splashing locals and visitors with water as they gather in the streets. It also denotes the beginning of spring and a time to throw away all old and useless things, a Thai spring clean as it were.
Here in Abu Dhabi, Songkran was celebrated at the beautiful Sontaya (meaning sunset in Thai) South East Asian restaurant located at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort with a celebration of Thai food, music and dance. The impressive candle lit glass walled restaurant has stunning floating pavilions and looks out across the beach and the Arabian Gulf beyond, offering a menu of both Thai and Chinese cuisine. Sontaya hosted the traditional Thai festival in conjunction with the Royal Thai Embassy that began on the red carpet covered outside deck between the bar and restaurant. The other half, myself and other invited guests were treated to Thai canapés and drinks, while enjoying a show by Thai dancers in beautiful traditional costumes.
Thai Chef de Cuisine Peter Peerpong created a special seven-course Songkran celebration menu that started with Eastern style raw salmon trout salad served in an impressive ice bowl illuminated by a colour changing led light. The other half then enjoyed Thai spiced and coconut marinated barbecue chicken (Had Yai), Hot and sour tiger prawn soup served in a coconut shell (Ayutthaya), a steamed green curry scallop dusted with coconut air (Ma Ha Chai) and a braised Veal brisket served in ‘hang lay’ sauce (Doi Sa Ket). I joined in the feast again with the Tamarind stir fried rice noodles with egg (minus the smoked duck breast) which was beautifully presented in a tied newspaper package. The final course was a dessert platter called ‘Bankok Life’ a colourful and flavourful assault on the taste buds of mango espuma, black burnt coconut cake, meringue on bean tulle, green pandan jelly and fragrant jasmine sand.
Awarding winning Sontaya restaurant, winner of Time Out Abu Dhabi’s Best Romantic Restaurant 2012 and Best Southeast Asian Restaurant in 2012 & 2013 is featuring the special Discover Thailand seven-course dinner that we experienced until Sunday 19th April from 6.30pm-10.30pm for AED 300++ per person. The dinner will celebrate Thai culture with food, traditional dancing and boats. Diners will also be entered in a raffle to win fantastic prizes at the hotel including a one night stay for two people in a Thai Spa Suite, four weekday pool and beach access passes at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort and a brunch for two people at Olea restaurant. If you like Thai cuisine this is the perfect place for you, I recommend you start with an aperitif in the lavish bar and then sit outside on the deck to dine so you can experience the restaurant’s full ambience and amazing location.
For more information about Sontaya, the Discover Thailand promotion and to book a table, please telephone 02 498 8008 or visit www.sontayaabudhabi.com
This is a sponsored post but all the views are my own. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved.