World class Thai – Bo.lan Bangkok
24 Sukhumvit 53 Alley, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Chefs: Bo Songvisava and Dylan Jones
Known for: Authentic and ethical Thai cuisine
When an Australian foodie is travelling abroad, it is always nice to find fellow countrymen/women doing amazing cuisine. Such is Bo.lan. The chefs are wife/husband duo of Australian-trained Thai-native ‘Bo’ Songvisava and Australian chef Dylan Jones who met working at Nahm (London) thanks to Australian Chef David Thompson (Nahm, Long Chim). The Australian connection is strong in this one!
Bo.lan is steeped in authenticity with a commitment to locally sourced Thai ingredients with a low carbon impact and a view to be completely sustainable and zero carbon footprint in the future. This earthy ambitiousness is refreshing in a destination where high end restaurants are flying in tomatoes from Japan, abalone from Tasmania or lobster from Maine. Understandably those restaurants are catering for tastes that are rich and full of expectation however if you are looking for new world chefs with passionate focus on preserving and enhancing the flavours of the region, Bo.lan is a must try experience.
The set menu for lunch will set you back 1200THB (AU$45-$50) with a salad, soup, stir fry, curry and dessert (served with a choice of brown or jasmine rice). It is a sumptuous feast and the choice is seasonably influenced. In August the meat was chicken, pork, fish, squid, clams in a variety of dishes. You could have easily ended with three chicken dishes since the soup, salad and stir fry all had chicken options. The food practice at Bo.lan is ‘course prohibited‘ meaning that your dishes are all served together, in this case on one long wooden tray.
The dishes (see photos above) were hot, spicy and full of beautiful citrus and floral Thai flavours. The highlights on the menu were the ‘squid salad with samphire and deep fried shallots’ which was a vinegar-sweet fresh delight with beautifully tender squid; and the hot, hot, hot ‘Yellow curry with ocean fish and pineapple’. This curry dish came with a ‘spicy’ warning and it did not disappoint. Perhaps sensing the reaction to the heat, a small additional plate of dried shredded pork with cooling fruits was served which was ‘to help with the spice’. Totally delicious and soothing.
Bo.lan has a relaxing feel with an enveloping dark wood, glass and leafy environment. Whilst it is a large restaurant (they moved to larger premises in 2014), it does not detract from the home-like feel. You sense there is something very special going on in the kitchen, something that is unmatched, unique and well worth experiencing when you visit Bangkok.