Four Seasons Resort,Chiang Mais

Allow me to gush. I have never had a bad meal, not even a mediocre one, at the Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai. When the Dining Out team recently had lunch at the Terraces near the swimming pool, I was reminded that even lunch in so casual and comfortable a setting there is simply delightful and delicious. And I learned that if lunch at the Terrace isn’t what you fancy, the Four Seasons now has a Sunday jazz brunch every week. From 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. every Sunday, the Lanna Terrace at the fabulous cooking school serves good music, great food and unlimited martinis and/or Bloody Mary’s. Now that’s a challenge!

We began our meal with cold towels rolled up in little dishes and centered with orchids. Beautiful, and refreshing on a hot day. The ceiling fans swirled overhead and we ordered iced tea. Iced tea at the Four Seasons is not your ordinary iced tea. First of all, there’s the ice. It’s made of frozen tea so that it doesn’t dilute your drink as it melts. Then there’s the service. A small carafe of extra tea and one each of simple syrup and limejuice accompanies each glass. Next came a basket of homemade breads, accompanied by fresh tomato salsa and chili butter. We ordered the fried soft shell crab served on assorted baby lettuces with anchovy dressing at 470 baht. The crab was warm, the lettuces cold, a wonderful compliment in tastes and textures. Sun-dried tomatoes, pearl onions and capers were sprinkled into the lettuce mixture. The anchovy dressing coated the vegetables lightly but was not overwhelming. This dish could easily be a lunch in itself. The crab was quite fresh, and we read a notation on the menu that made us very happy. “Our vegetables are exclusively from the Royal Projects.” That means fresh and healthy, always. The management recommends the mozzarella and mango, served with tomatoes and aged balsamic dressing. This is a lovely dish at 360 baht.

Several dishes that were noted as (S), Spa Cuisine. Our congratulations to the chef for undertaking the development of tasty, low fat food. We tried the spaghetti Carlona and it was a delightful combination of spaghetti, fresh tomato sauce, basil and shaved Parmigiano cheese at 420 baht. Both spa and vegetarian dishes are offered at the Four Seasons, and we will be watching to see how those develop. No poolside lunch would be complete without a sandwich, and we ordered a pita sandwich filled with Shawarma beef, tahini, tomato, onion and romaine lettuce at 560 baht. This was a real treat, attractively served in a long, boat-shaped dish with potato chips. The beef was tender and the tahini fresh and flavorful. The Terraces also offers a good selection of Pizza, including three vegetarian selections. They start at 440 baht.

The Sous Chef introduced himself and asked if he could prepare a special dessert for us. Would we turn down an offer like that? Never. We eagerly anticipated its arrival. So did the table of tourists sitting next to us, who joined us in taking photographs of the beautiful presentation. It was absolutely delicious. A small, layered chocolate and mascarpone cheese terrine on a granola crust was sprinkled with a few drops of raspberry sauce. Next to it sat several lovely cookies, just waiting to be dipped into coffee. Then we were amazed. Tomato sorbet. Yes, you read that correctly. The color and flavor were definitely tomato, and it was amazingly sweet and light. The final offering was dark cherries drizzled with chocolate sauce. Dessert was a decadent delight. We completely forgot about spa cuisine.

Service at the Four Seasons Resort is attentive without being intrusive, friendly and never pretentious. Prices at lunch range from 210 baht for the chilled tomato soup with marinated artichoke to 675 baht for the grilled river prawns gremolata with lemon and parsley sauce. Dinner is also served at the Terraces. The view is lovely and the delicious menu expanded.

The Terraces at the Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai, Mae Rim-Samoeng Road, Mae Rim. 053-298-181 or www.fourseasons.com. Open daily for lunch and dinner, or enjoy the Sunday Jazz Brunch. Parking just inside the gate.