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PHUKET: Our golf cart weaves through The Naka Phuket resort estate, climbing ever higher on the hill as we approach The Meka Sky Lounge. The building is a monolith with clean, modern cement walls rising up toward the vast tropical sky; a guard tower overlooking the enchanting and daringly-designed villa development by Duangrit Bunnag.

On an island where stunning sea views are served up by even some of the mom-and-pop
restaurants set up, legally or illegally, along the coastline, The Meka Sky Lounge rises above the rest.

“The Meka offers extraordinary value given the quality of the cuisine, decor and ambiance. Chef Mark and his team expertly prepare each dish with great care before it is served to guests with the genuine Thai warmth that lasts long after the sun sets,” explains Warodom Kanmaen, The Naka food and beverage director.

As evening creeps in with wave after wave of ever darkening blues, the lights of Patong begin to sparkle in the distance, creating a tiny cityscape nestled into the hills. However, it’s not Patong’s glimmer that sells the view of the sky lounge, which is one of best places on the island for an affordable cocktail or bottle of wine, it’s the resort itself. The matchbox-styled villas, unobtrusively molded into the hilly terrain, glow softly in the secluded landscape, appearing to be illuminated only by candlelight; there has been no view on the island that so perfectly matches the magic of an artist’s rendering of what a resort ‘will look like’.

An entire evening can be swept away in the magic of the setting and a few cocktails. However, it’s the food – no matter how magical a restaurant is – that matters most, and this is well taken care of by Chef Mark Web.

The appetizer list delves deep into the fusion world as Chef Mark serves up ‘Laab Tuna and Smoked Salmon Tartar’, playing off the traditional Issan dish with the inclusion of avocado, mixed greens, sesame tuile, cucumber and plenty of Thai spices.

Though the ‘Sweet Mango and Avocado Tower’ salad, ‘Hot and Sour Salmon Soup’ and ‘Chicken Consomme’ with foie gras wanton are all worth a taste, the main courses rule the roost at The Meka.

For those feeling truly decadent, or perhaps just a couple bottles into the night already, the succulent ‘Pepper Crusted Wagyu Beef Tenderloin’ is not to be missed, as it is served with foie gras medallions, red wine reduction, white truffle risotto and organic vegetables. But if turf isn’t in your flow that evening, settling in with the rich, creamy ‘Khao Soi Curry’ – a traditional Chiang Mai dish with Udon noodles and rock lobster tempura – might be the right fix.

Then again, if you’re wanting to woo a potential partner, make up for a poorly planned Valentine’s Day or just want to kick back with friends and enjoy the view, you can always contact The Meka and see what the drink specials are.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli