If you like tasty Oriental food served in exotic surroundings then you’re sure to love Maya Bay Monte-Carlo. This luxurious eatery has two restaurants, one specialized in Thai cuisine and the other in Japanese food. Located on upmarket Avenue Princesse Grace, a largely residential area of Monaco, it’s a great place to take someone that you want to impress.
The decor wowed us from the moment we stepped inside. Rich hues of red and black with low lighting set the scene, transporting us far away.
We were warmly greeted and taken through to the Thai restaurant with its comfortable banquette seating.
The knowledgeable sommelier recommended a wine that would not overpower our food, Le Bel Ouvrage Savennières Damien Laureau 2011. As you can see, it’s a rather handsome bottle and the contents lived up to the presentation. Damien is experimenting with harvesting just when the grapes turn yellow, rather than when green as is traditional with the Savennières region of the Loire valley. The result is a great balance of acidity, length and richness.
Maya Bay itself has won quite a few accolades including the coveted Trip Advisor 2015 certificate of excellence. Heading up the kitchen is Christophe Dupuy, a talented young French chef who has successfully combined contemporary and traditional Asian cuisine here. The team assisting him are all from Thailand. We started our meal with some fantastic appetizers . Po pia pack or large vegetable Spring rolls were filled with a fragrant julienne of vegetables, whilst gai tod was a succulent fried chicken, coated in a flavourful marinade of lemon, kaffir leaves and coriander seeds.
Yet there were more starters to enjoy, including tom yam kung, a spicy shrimp soup. Infused with lemongrass, this is probably the most popular soup in Thailand. Fresh corn and galangal give it a unique spicy taste. Roti bread is something that you might associate more with India than Thailand and is an unleavened bread that is cooked in a frying pan then baked. It makes a great accompaniment to all the Thai dishes. One of our favourite starters was the mixed dim sum, a wonderful selection of scallop, prawns, smoked clam and seafood dumplings.
Next up was an unusual bream salad or yam pla, whose delicate flavour was enhanced by the addition of fresh mint and broccoli.
The homard sauce prik prao was a true highlight – the exquisite lobster was complemented by green beans, peppers and mushrooms, all cooked to perfection.
We also devoured a moreish nua pack o lapa – sautéed beef with Thai basil. Only the best Charolais beef is used and it’s marinated before being grilled, so is extremely tender. The Thai basil gives it a particularly lively taste and onion adds texture.
Desserts at Maya Bay are just as good, and their pâtisserie chef has successfully blended Asian and European influences. Soufflé au Grand Marnier is a personal favourite and I always pick it when I see it on a menu. Here it was wonderfully light and the orange flavour of the Grand Marnier came through really well. The most spectacular dish was probably the flambéed Maya sphere. The blend of dark chocolate casing with a coconut ice cream centre, crispy praline and roasted pineapple chunks couldn’t be bettered…until the maître d’ proceeded to flambé it in coconut flavoured vodka!
We had such a relaxing evening at Maya Bay and the resident DJ’s mellow tunes certainly added to the vibe.
Whilst the proliferation of buddhas left us feeling very zen. We visited in December, but there’s an exotic garden that I’d certainly love to see, inspired by Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand and designed by Sylvestre Murigneux. Definitely a good reason to return! Maya Bay is a great choice for lunch or dinner when you’re visiting Monaco’s many attractions. I’d definitely return to try their Japanese restaurant!
Are you a fan of Thai cuisine?
Maya Bay Monte-Carlo, 24 Av. Princesse Grace, 98000 Monaco
Our dinner was complimentary for the purposes of this review