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Anantara Layan Reaches for the Stratosphere with Dining and Stargazing Concept

Dara Cuisine Phuket and Sky Observatory illuminates Phuket’s expanding dining constellation.

Top Phuket resort Anantara Layan is shooting for the stratosphere with its fresh Thai culinary focus and Sky Observatory.

Indeed, Dara Cuisine Phuket and Sky Observatory is aiming high as it strives to become the island’s new go-to venue for modern Thai dining and stargazing courtesy of a grill-focused menu and guided astronomy sessions paired with craft cocktails and hand-on Thai cooking classes.

Dara, meaning ‘star’ in Thai, celebrates the country’s culinary heritage and intrepid Andaman seafarers who used stars for navigation and the new Sky Observatory is a stargazer’s paradise. 

The breezy observatory deck, equipped with a custom-built Ash dome, offers an intimate rooftop experience where the universe unfolds. As guests sip on constellation-inspired craft cocktails, Sky Storytellers guide them through the wonders of the night sky, inviting them to cast their gazes skyward through the Phuket’s most powerful state-of-the-art telescope.   

During the day, an all-star team of chefs takes the lead in the show kitchen, giving masterclasses in Thai cooking. But it is during dinner service that Dara truly shines as the menu takes diners on a culinary journey offering a taste of local specialties from all corners of Thailand alongside revered Royal Thai cuisine.

The Southern region is represented by the succulent moo hong Phuket, a slow-cooked pork belly seasoned with soy, star anise and cinnamon. From the North, khao soi curry noodle soup stands out with translucent river prawns served with homemade egg noodles and pickles, as well as the restaurant’s signature tam ka noon mun wan­–a dish of pounded young jackfruit salad, served with sweet potato chips for added crunch. Central Thailand’s complex flavors shine in miang kham khai hoy mhen, a popular snack of the Siamese court, and the luscious green curry with Phuket lobster.

In the Northeastern dishes, such as the kob thod nam pla  with crispy frog legs and the nam tok nuea ko kun featuring Korat wagyu beef, regional ingredients get a creative twist inspired by Head Chef, Supakarn “Hong” Lienpanich’s family recipes and passion for fermentation. For those with a penchant for sweetness, the goat cheese and honey ice cream paired with Krabi cashew praline offers sublime melting moments.

Complementing the food is a delightful array of craft cocktails featuring local spirits, each themed after celestial wonders, and fine wines. The signature cocktails showcase the diversity and quality of Thai ingredients, from milky coconut and grassy pandan to fragrant jasmine and earthy hibiscus, as well as spotlighting the mastery of local distillers.

With an on-site fermentation kitchen, barrel-aged fish sauce cellar, and a verdant herb garden, Dara is a living ecosystem that nurtures every ingredient to its fullest potential.

“Dara’s culinary philosophy is simple: honour the natural taste of quality local produce and let the ingredients shine,” explains Chef Hong. “In addition to growing our own herbs, we’ve partnered with eco-conscious local farms and fisheries, which allows us to adapt to the rhythm of the seasons – from serving crisp harvest in the dry months to showcasing Thailand’s natural abundance when the monsoon comes.”

Dara Cuisine’s interior is a sophisticated homage to Thailand’s artisan heritage. A curated collection of regional crafts, from northern wooden carvings to northeastern handwoven baskets, creating an ambiance that tells a story of tradition and artistry, inviting diners to connect with Thailand’s rich cultural legacy.