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Welcome to the new mid month Bargain Hunter and the first Pattaya Bargain Hunter of 2016. My name is Belinda and before living in Pattaya I was a buyer in London’s West End. An important part of my job was to look out for items of quality, value and with that certain special something. Now I look out for bargains in and around Pattaya to share with you.

Grab Taxi phone App

I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year and if there is one thing that celebrating over the festive period has taught me. it is to leave the car at home. To be frank it’s getting harder and harder to justify having a car at all in Pattaya what with the road works on the Sukhumvit, coaches clogging up the main thoroughfares and day and night police check points slowing down the traffic flow. In the evenings I have often found myself driving to my destination to get a motorbike taxi home and then having to return to the “scene of the crime” the next morning and reclaim my vehicle. Therefore it was with great joy that I learnt of the smart phone app:“Grab Taxi”. Similar to “Uber” that has caused such a furor with black cab drivers in central London, Grab Taxi works by farming out your journey to available drivers in the area. Once installed on your smart phone it finds your current location and then allows you to put in your destination (if your exact spot isn’t available I’ve found going for a nearby hotel or landmark works well) and then finds you a taxi. The acknowledgement usually comes through in less than a minute with the price of the journey - so no annoying bartering or misunderstanding about the cost of fare when the journey is over and a picture and telephone number for your driver comes up on screen with a tracker to show just how many minutes distance the taxi is from you.


The Blue Olive

When news of the death of Master Chef Raymond Schmale hit Thai Visa back in 2014 many wrote of their sadness for the loss of this popular bon viveur but also their concern at how the restaurant many of them quoted as being “one of their favourites in Pattaya” would fare without him. For known as he was as a great personality around town, he also was also an accomplished food wholesaler which obviously meant that the quality of produce offered at The Blue Olive was always excellent.

Personally I always enjoyed my selections from the extensive menu and great value for money. However being big on ambience I have to say that my one criticism was that I found the lighting rather bright and harsh, especially in the evenings when I hankered for something a little softer than a bright Gastro kitchen. I was therefore very happy to see that this issue had been addressed in a recent visit for dinner at The Blue Olive.

The menu is still very varied with Mediterranean, Mexican and Thai selections including some real specialities such as the Salmon Gravaleaux with sour cream and potato pancakes, lamb shank and really excellent steaks. The purchasing of the produce is obviously still well catered for and the presentation and care with which each course is served shows that Raymond’s traditions still live on.

Also good news for the bargain hunter – the 3 course set menu was only 695 baht with unbelievably generous portions (don’t be embarrassed about requesting a doggy bag ) and wine offered at a mere 550 baht for a 1 litre carafe with choice of house red or whites or 795 for a bottle of the promotion wine of the month.

For anyone like me who has neglected this little gem in Soi 8 off Thepprasit Road for too long – go back and give it another try. Your stomach and your wallet will thank you – and Blue Olive management you may want to update your Facebook to show your customers that you are still a great little going concern.

.If you have any thoughts, suggestions or comments please write to me “Belinda Bargain Hunter”