Joe’s Downstairs is just out of Patong in fashionable Kalim Bay and as the name suggests it’s down stairs, in fact all the way down the side of a cliff almost as far as the beach itself.
The dining area is a beautiful white deck extending out over the sand and rocks and we choose a table right at the edge to take it all in. Today we’re a small group with a couple of overseas guests who have had a long flight, so we just opt for tapas to enjoy with cocktails and a sunset while we all catch up. First to arrive is the Japanese style White White Snapper & Leek Tempura Rolls with Citrus Soy Syrup a tasty seafood and sushi roll served with wasabi and soy sauce.
The Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Tamarind / Chili Dipping Sauce is just as yummy and a hit with everyone, something about the texture makes it perfect for cocktail hour.
The Szechwan Long Beans with Toasted Almonds has a slightly sweet taste and is delicious and the green vegetable portion seems to round out our “tapas meal” nicely. Ahi Tuna Tartar with Ginger Chili Soy on Crispy Wonton Crackers, the freshness of the raw fish with soy and ginger and the crunch of the crackers is irresistible.
Foie Gras “Shu Mei” with Toasted Pistachios and Tamarind/Plum Sauce is a little heavier than the other dishes, being duck liver, but beautifully presented with a nod to Chinese culture; it’s a “duck liver dim sum”.
Everyone’s eyes light up as the Pineapple BBQ glazed Baby Back Ribs are placed on the table and the meat just falls off the bone as we start munching away. The Rock Lobster Quesadilla with Monterey Jack Cheese and fresh Tropical Fruit Salsa has gorgeous flavors; the slightly indulgent pan fried quesadilla is delightfully balanced by the lightness of the tomato, mango and oregano salsa.
Just as some of us think we might be full our Grilled Certified Wagyu Beef ‘Yakitori’ with Sesame Eggplant arrived and just on sight we decide to make room for a few bites. It is worth it. The beef is absolutely perfectly cooked medium rare and barely needs to be chewed. It’s yakitori style so it’s skewered along with eggplant, bell peppers and onion, the perfect accompaniments.
There are just so many flavors in our little banquet and as we chatter excitedly about the taste sensation and how refreshingly light everything is the sun is beginning its descent and no one can resist a few photos. A couple of stone’s throw away is a lone fisherman on the rocks and slightly further along Kalim Beach a bride and groom pose for their first photos together as a married couple. One of our guests wonders aloud if Joe’s is always such a romantic place to be.
As the sun sets and casts a fiery glow across the shimmering waters of the Andaman we tend to think it probably is.
Written By Alison, E-Table Asia