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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blue Elephant Thai Restaurant Review - Sathorn road, Bangkok

Blue Elephant - Exclusive Thai Restaurant at Sathorn Road BTS Surasuk Bangkok 




Overall Score  9/10
Taste   4.5/5
Ambiance  4.5/5
Service  5/5
Value   3/5

Blue Elephant - Thai Premium Restaurant on BumRes.com















The Sathorn road is the business district full of skyscrapers of offices and hotels but there is one building with the Colonial style architecture located right below the BTS Surasuk station.  This beautiful building is the home of the Blue Elephant.  First two levels are dedicated to serving the finest of Thai cuisine and the third floor is where the cooking class of Thai culinary arts takes place.  The first Blue Elephant establishment is in Brussel, Belgium.  That one has been in business for 32 years with its fame in authenticity of Thai, top class service, and superior atmosphere.  The owner is a Thai wife who is married to a Dutch.  She first cooked for her friends at her own home in Brussel.  They were touched with the Thai food delicacy that she presented.  That was the spark for her to start up a small restaurant business, the Blue Elephant in Brussel.  Until ten years ago, she finally decided to open the Blue Elephant in Bangkok mainly targeting on serving upscale tourists.   




Interior design of the aged colonial building made me feel like I was in the museum of the royal’s residence.  The ornamental wood trimming on the wall frame and crown moldings on the ceiling were so beautiful.  The intricate workmanship is priceless.  All design elements were well kept and restored to express the original beauty of a grand colonial home.  To be honest, I have never been to any Thai restaurant that has the atmosphere matching this level of luxury.  On the first floor, every table was set up with gold coated plates and utensils.  Fresh orchids were placed in a vase, sitting on each table to further enliven the atmosphere.   The raised teakwood flooring spanned across the dining hall offered the warmth welcome.  With dimmed lighting and the candles, the luxurious atmosphere of the Blue Elephant became very romantic.  Being a Thai person, I am not so used to eating Thai food in this kind of place.  Seeing Thai food being presented in the most exclusive style, it makes Thai cuisine more valuable.  In my opinion, it is as great as any other fine cuisines like French or Japanese, where Thai people are willing to pay more but they wouldn’t pay equivalent prices for Thai food.               





In the classy old fashioned atmosphere, no one will expect to find the Thai fusion.  The Blue Elephant actually serves the most authentic Thai food with an excellent variety.  The Blue Elephant’s menu contains more selections that what I would expect from fine dining restaurants.  Mainly, the menu is divided into three categories.  The first one is the Thai cooking of the past in which you will find the antique menus from the Era of the King RAMA V.  The second part is the Thai cuisine of today, which are the common dishes found at local restaurants elsewhere.  The last part is the Thai kitchen of tomorrow or what you may call the Thai fusion.  In this section, you will find a challenge of international ingredients prepared Thai style with Thai flavors.  A good example would be the Tamarind Foie Gras, Spicy shrimp salad with Avocado, or Crocket with Thai green curry.  There are many dishes in the menu that I haven’t never had before.  Some of the names sound very attracting and appetizing.       




Besides the atmosphere of the Blue Elephant being absolutely stunning, the food is made with ingredients from the Royal Thai Project, which has higher quality.  Together with the top of the line customer service, the food price at Blue Elephant in Bangkok is of course higher than any other Thai restaurants.  Compared to other Thai restaurants, you bills at the Blue Elephant may be higher but not so much because nowadays the Thai food in nice restaurant costs around 150 - 400 baht already.  A few other upscale Thai restaurants or the ones in the hotels have about the same price as the Blue Elephant.      







For the party of three, we mainly had three types of food.  The first type was the appetizer, which we had four dishes.   The spicy prawn salad with herbs and avocado (480 baht) from the Thai fusion menu was good looking dish.  The taste was Thai but had the international feel when added with the fresh Avocado.  The prawns were big in size and their oil in the head was savory.  Wonderful start, we had.   The second dish was the Rice field catfish and prawns salad (360 baht), which was from the Thai menu of the past.  It was nicely done and not so dried like the crispy catfish and prawn salad elsewhere (Goong Pladook Foo).  The crispy fried green leaves and Thai herbs were a great match with the crispy fish and prawn.    







The third appetizer was the Golden Bag (380 baht) – done with the lovely presentation.  It was nice and crispy out and the stuffing was light sweet and delicious.  Last of the appetizer was the Doi Kahm eggplant salad (380 baht).  At first sight this dish looked French.  The arrangement was beautiful; layers of the sliced eggplants were stacking with minced pork and shrimp.  It must be the eggplants that made this dish so delicious.  I believe the Doi Kahm eggplant was organically grown in the hills of northern Thailand.  A bit of spiciness of the dressing added the Thai attitude to the dish.   




After the appetizers, we had seven main course dishes.  There were four dishes that were more outstanding.  The first one was the Black pepper tiger prawns (880 baht).  It was a nice change from the garlic fried prawns or the tamarind prawns.  The Blue Elephant Bangkok used the large size prawn, perfectly fried and smothered with the black pepper sauce Thai style.  Its flavor was amazing, rich and aromatic.  The peppery sauce was best over the rice.  Oh, and there were choices of Jasmine white rice and the black rice.  The quality of the rice was not to be worried for a fine restaurant like this.  It was the grade-A rice, from Surin I assumed.  I heard from Nahm by David Thompson that they use the best rice in Thailand, which was from Surin.  I must say that the good rice can make a great different in a Thai meal.  This meal, the food was more enjoyable with the quality rice.  The restaurant charges 60 and 120 baht per person for Jasmine and Black rice respectively. 









The second favorite was the Black chicken green curry (680 baht).  Its green sauce was so rice and full of flavor.  By using the organic black chicken from the Royal Thai project farm, the sauce was even more delicious.  This dish came with the Roti bread.  Other than enjoying with the roti, it was also great over the black rice.  Foreign customers would love this menu, I bet.  The third dish was the Blue Elephant Pad Thai (380 baht).  My friend said that it was one of the best Pad Thai he has had in a while.  I thought it had a good balance of flavor and the noodles were stir-fried well.  It wasn’t overcooked to being too soft.  The prawn was once again fresh and amazing.    




The last of the main course favorite dishes was the Stir fried tips of ivy gourd vine (240 baht).  This was the simplest dish; a basic stir-fried with oyster sauce.  The Shitake mushrooms were a good addition.  The ivy gourd vine still had the nice and crisp texture.  A technique to perfect stir fry veggies is to heat the pan with oil to very hot.  Then, toss the vegetable as quickly as possible.  The secret is the timing.  The chef of Blue Elephant did it perfectly.    








Although we had much great impression with many dishes at the Blue Elephant, we still had some disappointment.  The first one was the Bamboo fish (480 baht) – Seabass was placed in bamboo trunk and charcoaled.  Too bad the two sauces just didn’t compliment the nicely done fish.  They had one sweet sauce and one spicy; both lacked a clear character.  I wished it was a roasted chili paste sauce for the spicy one; and tamarind syrup for the sweet one.   The second dish that failed was the Tom Kha black chicken (330 baht) – presented in the coconut shell, though it lacked a delight aroma of the coconut.  The black chicken didn’t fit in with the broth that was served lukewarm.  I wanted it hotter, of course.  Last of the least impressive dish was the Massman lamb (580 baht) – it was flavored too sweet, to please the foreign palates, I supposed.  The curry was rich but it could be spiced up a notch.  




The Blue Elephant has their own brand of wine, which was from a vineyard in France.  What is extraordinary about this wine is that the wine makers were invited to taste the food and the wine was specifically tailored to compliment the Thai food.  I might not be able to judge how effective the wine was in making the meal better but I can say it was quite smooth and not so tannic, easy to drink with strong flavored Thai food. 








Our wonderful Thai dinner at the Blue Elephant ended with the sweet highlight, the Star of Siam.  The set included the mango with sticky rice, coconut ice-cream, durian cheese cake, cream custard, taro custard, and rambutan.  I didn’t enjoy the durian cheese cake so much, eventhough it wasn’t that smelly.  Among all the choices, I liked the coconut ice-cream and the custard the most. 



This review of the Blue Elephant Bangkok is the last of the series of Premium Exclusive Thai restaurants in Bangkok.  My friend and I have been hunting down the top Thai restaurants one at a time and I believe that we have gotten a handful of the upscale Thai restaurants.   The ones that we enjoyed more are Issaya – Siamese Club, Patara Fine Thai Cuisine, Nahm – Metropolitan Hotel, the Local by Oamthong Thai cuisine, and of course the Blue Elephant had just been added to the top five in the list.  So, next time you have a guest from other countries or travelling to Thailand.  I can guarantee to you that you will be impressed at any of these five restaurants. 


For more yummy review of Bangkok restaurants please Click Here!



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