At Betelnut, Lord is as much an attraction as the food. He's an exuberant raconteur who delights in overruling his guest's orders. For starters, Lord firmly suggests either the crab cakes mingled with kangaroo and served with nori or the tortillalike summer roll stuffed with scallops, shrimp and sesame sauce. And when my dinner companion chooses the blackened mackerel, Lord refuses to give it to him. "You'll be much happier with the soft-shell crab," he says as he walks away with the menus. Grudgingly, my tablemate later concurs that the soft-shell crabs with green papaya and mango were like nothing he'd ever tasted.
At one point during the meal, Lord tells the table that he has been reviewed positively in the Dutch edition of Playboy. He runs to the kitchen and returns with the well-thumbed magazine. No one at the table can read Dutch, but the review is adjacent to a photo of a universally understood naked Naomi Campbell. Who wouldn't be happy with such placement?
Dessert is a selection of homemade sorbets, our favorite the thrilling chili-flavored offering. Made with tiny pri kee noo chilies, the spark behind Thai cuisine's fire, the sorbet lives a life on the tongue. It enters the mouth cool, heats up to a pleasant buzz and then warms the throat and belly on its way down. Much like a meal at Betelnut. Dinner for two with starters, dessert and a bottle of wine will cost $100. Betelnut is located at 46/27 Chaweng Boulevard, Soi Colibri. Call (66-77) 413 370 for reservations.