Another visit to Bangkok and another wonderful little exciting adventure into the amazing cuisine that this city has to offer. Restaurant Bo.lan opened in 2009 and now sits comfortably at number 3 in Bangkok .It is also ranked number 36 in Asias top 100 restaurant experiences so definitely one for the traveller to add to their itinerary.
The restaurant cuisine is an amazing marriage of Oriental flavours brought together by two very talented young chef / owners. Duanporn Songvisava , better known as ” Bo ” from Thailand and Dylan Jones ” Lan ” who is the Australian side of the partnership hence the joint name “Bo” and “Lan”…… Bo.Lan…. Get it ? Bo and Dylan both headed up the kitchens of David Thompsons restaurant , Nahm in Bangkok before venturing out to open their own place 4 years ago.
Bo.lan restaurant is in the city centre and reasonably easy to find. The closest skytrain station is Phrom pong and a taxi is dirt cheap. My 15 minute journey cost me 80 Baht ( £1.60 ). The restaurant sits in a very quiet city centre street and is all decked out traditionally in wood , baskets and is bathed in soft warm lighting.It`s definitely a restaurant for romantics.
The food here is traditional Thai but comes with a lovely twist and a trendy modern approach to the presentation and eating of classic Thai cuisine. My personal advice to anyone wanting to eat here for the first time would be to put your trust in Chef and go for the “Balance menu “. You can order your food a la carte if you wish but with the Bo.lan balance menu you`ll get an all round taste and flavour experience of the cuisine Bo.lan has to offer.The balance menu also changes 6 times a year so anyone visiting probably wont get the same menu twice. The restaurant is rated in the guides as `expensive` and i suppose by Thailand standards it is, seeing as though you can get an amazing feed on the street for 100 baht ( £2 ). The price of the set menu here is 1880 Baht ( £ 37 ) which i personally think is an amazing price for the experience they offer the diner. I also went for the wine pairing to accompany the set menu. Personally i really dont think that you can pair good wines with robust Asian flavours ( Chinese , Thai, Indian food …for me , it just doesn`t work at any level ) but i was in the mood for alcohol so decided to put my trust in the house selection. Sparkling Rose , Crisp white , chilled and very floral Rose , Fruity smooth Red and a very small glass of Dessert wine made up the package to accompany my Bo.lan food.
Iced Pandan water as a little palate cleanser.
My dining partner was brought up on good Thai family food. Mum and dad both work for the government so the family eat pretty well at home. She seemed to find it quite amusing when i told her that an Aussie guy was most probably going to cook her the best Thai food of her life….” ok ok Mr Alan….we will soon see”. We both decided to go for the Bo.lan Balance menu and i would go for the spicy version whilst my friend chose the girly mild option…..and she`s the one who`s meant to have a stomach of steel.
Puffed rice with palm sugar, lemongrass and chilli served as a little nibble.
Yaa dong grachai dum (traditional Thai spirit a bit like herbal Whisky ) served with pandanus juice and sour fruits
As you can see here , there`s a little selection of soured fruits.I really had no idea at all what to do with these as no one explained how to eat this course. I just drank the Whisky and then the Pandan shooter and then nibbled on the Sour fruits which really weren`t pleasant at all. There was also Salt and Chilli but I didn’t know what to do with those so I didn’t touch them…..maybe it was a bit of a tequila moment , lick the salt and Chilli , knock back the Whisky and Pandan juice and then suck on a sour fruit.I really don`t know……HELP.
Bo.lan amuse bouche, five bite-sized appetizers.
The next couse was a little tasting of noodles. Im not sure exactly what it was but it contained baby Aubergine , Bean sprouts , sliced Wing beans and the noodles.
My main gripe when eating at the restaurant Nahm is that all the food comes at once. I know that this is the traditional Thai way but i really don`t like it. I want to sit down , chill out , enjoy some wonderful drinks and eat slowly course by course and to be able to take everything in. At Nahm you`ll find that the soups , salads , curries , relishes and rice all turn up at the same time so you`ll end up eating half the meal stone cold. At least in Bo.lan is a slower affair and the meal is spread out over the evening instead of Wham…..Bam….Thank you Ma`am. The mains still arrive in a huge entourage but it isn`t too rushed. The selection you see below is the main courses….which all land at once….you have to be hungry here.
Salad of Mea klong Samphire with grilled Squid and ocean Prawn in Thai herbs.
Angel Chilli relish ( Prawn and Mung bean ) served with crispy fish cake , assorted greens and solf boiled egg.
Stir fried herb fed Chicken with Bamboo , Mushrooms and Orange Chilli.
Relish of salted fish simmered in Coconut cream and minced Pork served with local stuffed flower.
Home style Tom Yum of Pork Ribs and rainy season Bamboo shoots.
Red Curry of grilled Pork tenderloin and local green sugar Banana.
Organic wild unprocessed Rice.
Bo.lan Pre dessert.
Bo.lan blend Chiang Mai tea with spices , Mint , Ginger and Honey.
A huge slate of sweet treats arrived with the Tea , many different textures, flavours and beautiful colours here. None of these were show stoppers but very pleasant all the same.Tapioca and Coconut , Pandan jellies , Sweet Rice crackers and many other very sweet little bites had me totally bursting at the seams. Arisa couldn`t manage to eat them so i had to indulge in two of each….its was extremely difficult but i hate to see food going back and so demolished them all.
I`ve previously enjoyed 4 dinners at Nahm in Bangkok and this was my first trip to Bo.lan. From now on i`ll definitely be making Bo.lan my first priority as the food there is quite similar but definitely better.The flavour combinations work well , it`s pushing the classic flavours of Asia into the modern world and with Bo and Dylan constantly striving for better things they`re in the kitchen at every service. Im my 4 visits to Nahm , Chef David Thompson hasn`t been there once. Bo.lan was fully booked during my visit and chef Dylan Jones still managed to get out to our table to say hello. So if you`re in Bangkok and want to eat traditional Thai cuisine , cooked to perfection with a modern twist then this place is definitely the number one restaurant to head for….See you at Xmas.
Service – Came with lots of smiles , very friendly and helpful staff , absolutely no complaints here.
To view all of the photos then please click HERE.
To visit Bo.lan website please click HERE
42 Soi Pichai Ronnarong Songkram, Sukhumvit 26, Klongteoy, Bangkok 10110