Bo.Lan has been recognised for many years as one of the best Thai restaurants in Bangkok. Famed for initiating the concept of fine dining Thai cuisine in the city, here you can sample age old recipes made from the absolute best ingredients but presented with the flair of European haute cuisine.
The famous pairing of head chefs 'Bo' (Duangporn Songvisava) and 'Dylan Jones' decided to move the restaurant to bigger premises in mid-2014, with the bigger and bolder Bo.Lan now located on Sukhumvit Soi 53, a few hundred metres from Thong Lor BTS Station.
Thankfully, their unwavering dedication to pure Thai cuisine still remains; if anything, it is even more pronounced, with dinner served from a choice of set menus only, and a la carte offerings available for lunch along with a prix fixed menu and a full set.
The renovated house is noticeably larger than their old premises, yet there has been a clear ambition to keep the rustic and inherently Thai ambiance that has become a trademark of Bo.Lan. Return customers will recognise the liberal use of Thai baskets and woodwork as decoration, as well as a well manicured garden that is at once welcoming and tasteful. But with more space to play with, there are now three main sections to the dining room and more space between tables (although it is still highly recommended to book in advance).
As you enter the restaurant you will find a small farm shop selling seasonings, pastes and oils – testament to the philosophy at Bo.Lan of using organic, locally produced ingredients that not only taste great, but also promote local farmers.
There are three set menus available to choose from, with most guests opting for the Bo.Lan Balance set at 1980 baht (not including tax or service), although there is a reduced option (1680 baht ++) and a vegetarian set (1980 baht ++). It must be said that to sample your way through the entire six course set takes around two hours or more so this is not the place for a quick bite, but food aficionados will rejoice in the range and depth of food served. A powerful Thai cocktail is served first and sets the mood, balancing strong flavours together. This is followed by a platter of appetisers (amuse bouche), elegantly presented and distinctly flavoured. Personal favourites include the steamed salmon with dill and a northern Thai interpretation of laab salad.
The third course is changeable depending on the season and availability of ingredients before the main course is served. Typical to Thai dining, the main course consists of five or six separate dishes delivered together which are then shared. It is tradition to be served a curry, salad, something grilled, something fried and a soup. This is all eaten with rice to temper the strong flavours. The mains is where the skill of the chef really shines, with each dish delivering incredibly individual flavours and aromas, an interplay of herbs seemingly picked fresh from the garden.
To finish the meal, two desserts are served, first a classic ice-based sweet with coconut milk and palm seeds called ‘nam keng sai’ (meaning ‘in ice’), before a heavier black sticky rice cake with longan fruit. Finally, an eclectic and artfully prepared plate of petit four or little sweet bites mark the end of the feast, designed to be eaten with tea.
With recipes inspired by traditional Thai cooking, this is in no way a Thai fusion restaurant. In fact, due to the difficulty in sourcing and preparing ingredients, some of the dishes offered at Bo.Lan are rare, even for locals Thai people. There will surely be tastes and combinations new to diners here but just trust in the skilled professionals in the kitchen and leave your preconceptions at home. It is important to note that everyone of your group must agree to take either the short or long set course because, as explained, Thai tradition dictates that course are served to be shared.
Bo.Lan is not your everyday local eatery. This is the kind of place to invite your discerning friends or when you want to impress visitors who think they have tried it all before. Dishes are elaborate both in presentation and taste and each bite is a pleasant gustative experience with a mix of texture, flavour and spice.
- Opening Hours: Lunch: Sat - Sun 12:00 - 14:30, Dinner: Tue - Sun 18:00 - 22:30 (Closed on Mondays)
- BTS: Thonglor Exit 1
- Address: 24 Sukhumvit 53 (Soi Pai dee ma dee), Klong Toey Nua, Wattana, Bangkok
- Tel: +66 (0)2 260 2961-2 (advanced reservation necessary)
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/BolanBangkok/
- Price Range: Bo Lan Balance Set Menu - 1,980 baht ++