SHEILA’S in Soi Sansabai, in Patong, just across from Soi Bangla, has always been one of my favourite restaurants.
Until recently, it wasn’t all that flash, but it was clean, the staff were friendly, and the tucker was terrific, and everything was all very reasonably priced.
Owner, Sheila Reed, has recently re-vamped the place with a new paint job, new furniture, and even new uniforms for the staff.
The food is still fantastic, the staff are just as friendly as they were before, but now the decor is a lot better and a lot brighter.
I first ‘discovered’ Sheila’s one day when I was feeling a bit homesick and missing my old mum’s roast lamb dinners.
When I saw the blackboard offering ‘all you can eat roast lamb’ for 300 baht, I couldn’t resist.
The lamb was sweet, succulent, and probably even better than the Sunday roast dinners my mum used to cook.
And it came with all the trimmings, including a gravy boat, mint sauce, and heaps of fresh vegetables including carrots, broccoli, cabbage and even a couple of roast potatoes.
And just like mum used to do, when I had almost cleared my plate, the charming young waitress was standing there beside me, asking if I wanted seconds.
I could have more meat, more vegetables, or more sauce, she said.
It really is one of the best all-you-can-eat deals in Phuket, but enough is enough, and the very generous first serving was plenty.
And anyway, I had my eye on the home-made cherry pie (100 baht) and wanted to save some room for a delicious dessert.
I could have had ice cream or custard with my cherry pie, but I opted for cream and the hot pie came literally swimming in a bowl of fresh cream.
It was delicious, but I am sure it had way too many calories, and for at least two seconds, I battled with the savage pangs of short-lived guilt as a result of my decadent indulgence.
Since that fateful day, I have been back to Sheila’s many times and tried most of the menu’s offerings.
I have never been disappointed.
The comprehensive menu ranges from a choice of breakfasts, to between-meals snacks like cheeseburgers and chips, through to Thai food, seafood, salads, and of course, the home-cooked fare for which Sheila is renowned.
You can have lamb chops, sausages and mash, a choice of succulent steaks, a mixed grill, or a home-made meat pie or pastie.
Sheila used to be famous all over Phuket for her home-made pies, but she has now cut back, and these days you can only get them at her restaurant.
Sheila no longer does the cooking herself, but she has personally trained her kitchen staff, and everything is cooked and served exactly as if she had done it herself.
The restaurant also has a comprehensive wine list including wines from France, Australia, Chile and South Africa, which are all around the 900 baht a bottle mark.
Beers and spirits are also available at very modest prices with bottled beer starting at only 70 baht a bottle.
The open entrance features a suite of comfortable tables and chairs, and because it is so close to Soi Bangla, it is the perfect place to sit back with a cold drink and watch the passing parade go by.
Upstairs, Sheila has a 12-room guesthouse with comfortable air-conditioned ensuite rooms starting at around 600 baht a night.
Sheila and her husband, David, moved to Phuket from Devon in England about ten years ago, and are now part of the local furniture.
They have acquired many friends both on the island and from overseas, friends who keep on coming back.
There is no need to book a table at Sheila’s, simply turn up and sit down, and enjoy some of the best home-cooked western food in Thailand.
And while you’re there, say g’day to the boss for me. She’s a real good Sheila.
For further information, call 0867 807 210, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.sheilas-guesthouse.com