The refreshing ginger and lemongrass drink served as you are seated at Bo.lan
Living in Singapore, I am fortunate to be in close proximity to beautifully places like Thailand and Vietnam and Bali, and a few weekends ago, D and decided on a Bangkok weekend away.
I won’t rave on about Bangkok (you can read me doing this from a previous visit/post) but this time, D and I set out to veer away from our favourite restaurants/eating places, and one evening we ended up at Bo.lan.
Puffed rice caramelised with brown sugar, lemongrass and chilli
Tucked away in the back streets of Sukhumvit Soi 26, this gorgeous restaurant is the creation of Duangporn Songvisava (bo) and Dylan Jones who have come together to serve Thai cuisine, with clear Western influences from their experiences studying and cooking in Australia and London. Don’t expect fusion – this is traditional food at its best, but elevated in refinement. Expect to see on their set menu amuse-bouches, palate cleansers and petit fours.
Thai whiskey, pandan shooter and sour plum pre-dinner drink and snack from the Bo.lan Balance tasting menu
We selected the Bo.Lan Balance tasting menu. As you are seated you are served a snack of puffed brown rice, caramelised in brown sugar, chilli and lemongrass. This was followed by a pre-dinner drink and snack – a martini glass with Thai whisky, a small glass of unsweetened pandan leaf drink and a sour plum, to be dipped in seal salt and chilli flakes garnishing the plate – recommended to be tasted in that order. Apart from getting you very quickly drunk, the combination of alcohol, sweet, sour, salt and heat brings your tastebuds alive.
The amuse-bouche arrived next. First was a dry-style chicken curry that came on a basket that was made of crisped curry – similar to a parmesan crisp, second was a noodle salad with prawns and flossed shrimp, a rice cracker with classic Thai-style salad on top, a slice of grilled pork neck on cucumber with a chilli salad and then a spoonful of another salad with pomelo, kaffir lime skin, toasted coconut and a fermented shrimp dressing. I was amazed at how the delicately and intricately constructed core flavours of Thai cuisine was represented through those five bite-sized morsels.
Grilled river prawn salad
The next four courses arrived in typical Thai-style – one soup, curry, salad, stir-fry. We each had our own soup – I chose a clear broth to balance out the remaining heat in my mouth from the amuse-bouche, a grilled river prawn salad, a green curry with salted beef ribs and a fried mackerel dish. We struggled to find enough room on the table for all this food, and to be honest, in our stomachs – there was a lot of food, the heaviness of these dishes combined with the amount of food had the effect that none really stood out – although I do remember enjoying all of them.
Chilled black glutinous rice with coconut cream, fresh mangoes and coconut
By this stage we were slowly moving into food-coma territory. Fortunately the next dish was a refreshing palate cleanser – fried banana bites with a lychee, sea coconut and mango iced drink, followed by dessert of black glutinous rice with coconut cream and fresh coconut, and then the petit fours, a work of art combining a collection of dried fruits and Thai desserts and meringue. All gratefully light following the main courses.
Bo.lan is certainly an experience. It gave us such an appreciation of the classic flavours of Thai cuisine, from the old Siam period, outside of the standard Pad Thai noodles and Thai green curries. The only downside is the sheer amount of food, which I think distracts you from just how good it is. But definitely a place to try for unique Thai food.
42 Soi Pichai Ronnarong, Sukhumvit Soi 26
Tel: +66 02 260 2962