If you’re even the slightest bit into food, you’ll know Simon Rogan’s name. It was Rogan who, primarily with his industry-shaping Lake District restaurant L’Enclume, helped put the concept of farm-to-table dining on the world stage.
From under L’Enclume was born Aulis – another Lake District restaurant that invited curious diners behind the scenes to discover Rogan’s precise processes. But while Aulis initially started as a test kitchen, the concept has grown and adapted into a restaurant in its own right. Following the success of the first spot, a London restaurant opened in 2017, Hong Kong launched in 2019, and now, the newest destination: Aulis Phuket.
Officially opened on Thursday, December 7, Aulis Phuket is nestled within the grounds of Iniala Beach House – a luxury villa rental complex overlooking the Andaman Sea – and marks Rogan’s first venture in Thailand.
Although some 6,000 miles away from the Lake District, Aulis Phuket maintains the same principles as the original: Intimate, creative fine dining with a steadfast focus on native, carefully grown ingredients.
“Achieving our three Michelin stars at L’Enclume last year, 20 years after first opening, felt like a long-held and hard-earned dream come true,” said Rogan. “More than anything it has ignited our drive and ambition further.
“It feels exciting to find new ways to challenge ourselves, and one of the ways we are doing that is by exploring new countries and adapting our refined farm-to-table ethos which we have honed in Cartmel, to these new climates, terrains and cultures. Following on from recent pop-ups in Australia and Singapore, as well as our successes over the last few years in Hong Kong, when the opportunity in Thailand presented itself it seemed a perfect fit.”
Like at the previous iterations of Aulis, Rogan’s latest offering will be tasting-menu only, with just 15 guests per sitting served a precise number of dishes. While the Cartmel and London restaurants use ingredients from the group’s own Lake District farm, Aulis Phuket has had to think outside the box.
Rogan and the team have worked hard to highlight native Thai ingredients and interpret them through the group’s signature styles. While a few dishes are fresh from the thought box for Aulis Phuket, some crowd-pleasing favorites re-emerge.
A savory bread and butter snack, made with croissants and showered in black truffle, that I loved during a recent dinner at the London restaurant appears to be re-imagined in this menu, this time with the addition of caramelized banana molasses. Rogan’s signature caviar – made by Petrossian and seasoned to the chef’s exact tastes – also crops up in Phuket, served with a sweetcorn custard, clams and sea grapes.
Despite Simon Rogan’s plentiful restaurant empire, with locations dotted around the globe, Aulis impressively remains very much entwined with his personal culinary style. Rogan’s flagship is naturally the three-Michelin-starred L’Enclume in the Lake District but the petite Aulis group has become a beacon in its own right too.
Rogan has once again worked with his trusted executive chef Oli Marlow in developing Aulis Phuket’s menu, but day-to-day operations have been entrusted to head chef Giacomo Primante.
Primante brings with him a wealth of experiences from the highest echelons of fine dining, including Benu in San Francisco and Mauro Colagreco’s South of France icon, Mirazur – both of which have three Michelin stars.
Despite their very different locations, each Aulis restaurant manages to capture the same energy: Dark, low-ceilinged and metal-heavy. Each is incredibly exclusive, with a highly limited number of seats wrapping their way around a no-holds-barred chef’s kitchen.
Aulis Phuket is the same, but different. There’s still plenty of those design-forward metal surfaces, true to the group’s test-kitchen origins, but here that small but mighty kitchen opens out onto a scene of verdant palm trees – quite the contrast to London’s Soho setting.
Thailand-based architectural designer Ckori Pena was tasked with bringing the immersive space to life and, wherever possible, has utilized local materials in her process.