I was fortunate enough to get to interview a Thai Instagram star (called Pondrudy) here in Phuket before Christmas last year, and I was really taken aback by the location we chose. I remember thinking that the venue was a bit special and I asked the manager if I could return and do a review to which he gladly agreed.
Bucha Gallery Restaurant is a fine dining establishment that is a bit of a hidden gem in its locale. It is positioned opposite a Chalong temple on Chaofa road. Being a detached building with unrelated businesses on either side one could easily miss it when passing by. You have to have been told about it to know it’s there.
“At Bucha we focus heavily on service, I have a great team”.Earl – Owner/Manager of Bucha Gallery Restaurant.
I sat with owner/manager Earl and got to hear a bit of his background. He has a bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management and a master’s in Human Resource Management, both attained in Florida in the USA. Although he is not a chef, he did confess to loving food.
The name Bucha (pronounced Boo Cha) apparently means to worship and respect. His parents came up with the idea of merging his mother’s love of traditional Thai cooking, with his father’s passion for collecting Thai amulets and antiques. Bucha is the result of this fusion of passions.
The Bucha Gallery Restaurant is an impressive place. There has been no expense spared in the materials used. The impeccable design and the quality of the finish resonates. Beautiful ornaments are well placed throughout, and walls are adorned with amulets. I asked Earl how long it took to decorate the restaurant to such a high standard. He laughed and said “It was supposed to be a 7-month project, however, it took 1.5 years to complete. Well worth the wait in my opinion.
In the two times that I have been here, I have always been impressed by the level of service from the staff and I asked Earl how they were trained. “At Bucha, we focus heavily on service, I have a great team” he replied. He added that staff are all selected by himself, and it is his responsibility to train them. A job I believe he is doing particularly well.
Moving on to the other important members of staff, namely the chefs, I asked how they were acquired. Earl informed me that the kitchen is run by his mother, a delightful lady who conducts the whole kitchen. All the chefs are family aunties and have a real passion for cooking. The food served in Bucha is Southern Thai and native to Nakhon Si Thammarat. And it is all home-cooked recipes meaning that this is the ultimate authentic experience.
Getting hungrier by the minute I couldn’t help but ask Earl what food he could suggest I try. His answer was Khao Yam, a favorite of his. It contains rice in one dish that is mixed with several vegetables, including Pomelo fruit, and a fish sauce reserve to bind it all together. A second dish with condiments had available his mother’s famous chili paste, more fish sauce, and some chopped morning glory vegetables.
The Khao Yam was delivered to the table and a member of staff kindly mixed the dish for me. I added some chili paste and ate several mouthfuls. There was a particular sweetness that I enjoyed, accompanied by the warmth of the chili paste. If I wasn’t filming and conducting a review, I could have easily finished this dish.
I met with Earls’s mother after the tasting and thanked her for an incredible meal. This was a great experience, and I will certainly be returning.
Thank you to everyone at Bucha for making the Farangbowl feel so welcome.
To all supporters of the Farangbowl, thank you for reading.
Bucha Gallery Restaurant
Address: 26, 156 Chaofa Road, Phuket, Thailand, 83100.
Call: 061 176 5562
Instagram ID: @instagram.com/bucha_restaurant
IG Link: https://www.instagram.com/bucha_restaurant/?fbclid=IwAR1BSpwP84x_TrhOYj7YmC2d1G8K3hzInEjho6lhLqidsu-xkWTr_LxsLPo
Google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/qfPAzJgP9vhD5sPRA
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