Our vehicle passes inspection at the entrance and we drive up through the beautiful tree lined grounds of the very exclusive Sri Panwa Hotel in Phuket, Thailand. We pass spectacular villas, in all likelihood harboring a few celebrities and it’s obvious security is tight.
We park near reception where we are warmly welcomed and guided up a staircase to the incredible rooftop restaurant; Baba Iki Restaurant Phuket. As we take in the view we feel as though we’ve reached the edge of the world and actually we have.Sri Panwa is located at the tip of Cape Panwa Peninsula. Phuket and once you get up to the roof it’s all panoramic views, you can watch the sun rise and set overhead from here.
As we are handed menus we are told that in the name “Iki” has been taken from the Japanese drinking chant “iki nomi” which means “bottoms up” so accordingly we order a round from the signature cocktail list. Our Sake Mojitos are divine and go down beautifully with the Yakitori that swiftly arrives.
Yakitori translated means “grilled chicken’ but also skewered food in general and our plate has different parts of chicken charcoal grilled with shiitake mushrooms and eggplant carrying the same delightful smoky flavor and served with a selection of Thai and Japanese sauces.
Next to arrive is the Sashimi Delight; beautifully tender pieces of raw seafood. There is Salmon, Toro (tuna belly), Akami (bluefin tuna) , Tako (octopus), Hamachi (yellowtail fish), Ama Ebi (sweet shrimp), Hokkigai (surf clam) and Ikura (Salmon roe) all served with seaweed and wasabi.
This really is the freshest food any of us can remember tasting and it seems fitting “ends of the earth” fare. We are told everything is imported directly from Japan. This prompts a discussion of the famed longevity of Japanese people and certainly someone eating from this selection regularly would enjoy very robust health.
Even the Beef Teppanyaki seems to dissolve into our tongues, tender doesn’t even describe it, it’s beyond that, you barely chew it. The beef is served with 3 condiments and also Miso Soup, Garlic Rice and tasty Stir Fry Vegetables with a touch of peanut oil, all impeccable.
We order more cocktails as Chef Kim treats us to a show; knives and flames are being thrown around with flair in the open Teppanyaki kitchen and our photographer captures it all as we continue to munch away, pausing every now and then to applaud the brilliant chef.
Our group is divided on our appreciation of wasabi, half of us love it , half of us can only tolerate the smallest dose of it, so some dip and some don’t, but we all enjoy trying every kind of Sushi on our Maki Roll platter.
As always with Japanese cuisine there are so many flavors but here at Iki they seem to stand out more, it must be the freshness of the food; from the salmon to the cucumber and asparagus garnished with chilli mayo and soy sauce, it’s all exquisite.
We know we’ve eaten loads but nobody feels uncomfortable, the food feels nourishing but extremely light and we could probably all hang around for what’s sure to be a stunning sunset at 6pm if it weren’t for other commitments.
Baba Iki at Sri Panwa might not be in every traveler’s usual dining budget but it is well deserving of a place on everyone’s bucket list.
Written By Alison, E-Table Asia