Bo Lan Bangkok – World 50 Best Restaurants
We had dinner reservations at Bo Lan Bangkok – World 50 Best Restaurants.
In downtown Bangkok, getting from point A to point B during dinner time is a nightmare by taxi.
After a shopping spree at Siam Discovery, we headed to the nearest BTS station.
It was the after-work rush hour and the train ride was a blur.
What is the philosophy behind Bo Lan Bangkok?
Bo Lan Restaurant was founded on the belief that the best Thai restaurants should be found in Thailand. Herald as one of Bangkok’s top tables since its opening in 2009, the restaurant is an advocate to make every day an ‘Eat Responsibly Day’.
The husband-and-wife team co-chefs Thai chef Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava and Australian chef Dylan Jones started Bo Lan.
What’s the cuisine like?
The ever-changing degustation menu is based on dishes researched from authentic palace recipes and serves royal Thai-style cuisine.
Coincidentally this dinner was just two days after lunch at nahm at COMO Metropolitan. This restaurant is No. 10 on the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018.
I found out during dinner that both chefs met when they served at David Thompson’s erstwhile London outpost nahm.
Can I take the heat? Hell, no!
Traditional Thai dishes are neutral in terms of spice. What makes the delicious dishes spicy is often the red hot chili pepper!
From my experience in nahm, I’ve sort of gauge the level of spiciness that many find acceptable.
But to me, it’s a case of taking the heat. And I have to admit that I don’t have a cast-iron tongue.
The point I like most of a Thai meal is the explosion of fiery sensations in the mouth. My friends tell me loudly that it shows on my fire hydrant red face!
Sometimes tears squirt out as I attempt to maintain some measure of composure.
The other diners continue to eat at the same pace and rate, the burn on their tongue seems to goad them on.
I could not maintain the conversation levels.
My tongue needed an ice bucket challenge to survive the next onslaught.
In Thai cuisine, bird’s-eye chili or chili pepper has a fruity taste and extreme spiciness.
Bo.lan uses the green and ripe red chilis in many Thai salads, curries, and stew dishes served with rice.
Traditional Thai with fine-dining flair with cocktails that blew my mind!
We started with some munchies before they served us with strong cocktails. The instruction was to pop the single appetizer to eat it whole.
I don’t know what they wrapped in the cucumber roll, but it was super spicy.
After that, we were told to tip the single shot of Thai whiskey.
After that, we were to use the spray on our burning mouths.
This completely threw off our palettes at the start of the meal.
What’s the rationale for that experience?
It confused me.
Knocking back such stiff drinks at the onset and setting my tongue on fire wasn’t what I wanted to experience.
I wanted a slow build-up, like the walk to the restaurant, the quickening of the crowds, and again the slower pace.
Going a single file, through the gate, into the courtyard of leafy trees into the cool shade.
I want to taste the sweetness and crisp of shredded unripe papaya.
The heavy coconut crème in the curries to prep my tongue for battle.
So it wasn’t what I expected. I couldn’t taste Bo Lan’s authentic Thai cooking at the onset.
The restaurant’s reputation is to draw its taste from organic, locally sourced products, working with local farmers, artisan producers, and fishermen and share a social responsibility to the local community.
Fresh ingredients elevated to refined palace-style cuisine.
Confession: I’m a failure at a fine dining experience. Used to have my meals on the run and quickly, street food and home-cooking is more appealing to me.
Bo Lan Bangkok – World 50 Best Restaurants – Tasting Menu
Bo.lan’s tasting menu has a lavish presentation. There must be an army of chefs in the kitchen to prep, cook, and feed all of us together. Their signature balance tasting menu features a succession of small dishes. Those delightfully minuscule amuse Bouches. I noticed a mix of macro and micronutrients.
It has many extra accents of Amuse Bouche’s in-between courses. There were many interesting tastes; alas not all to my liking. The curries had intense, herbaceous, floral Thai flavors.
Strong Flavour vs. Mild
One dish had such a strong overpowering flavor that I couldn’t eat it.
The experience is a little bizarre with a sensory overloaded as our taste buds fought with different taste sensations.
Maybe my experience of eating local fine dining in my little hometown differs.
There were about half-a-dozen main dishes served.
They advised us to eat all the dishes together.
Just as you would at an Asian dinner, alternating between the dishes will mix with the rice.
As I munched my way through the courses, my tongue settled and I began to enjoy the food.
It’s just the waiting.
So, I wandered around the restaurant.
Individual Menu Items
- Yadong Ma Kratueb Rong served with local sour fruits
- Bo Lan amuse bouche
- A single plate of the day
- Salad of fresh cucumber and Ao Phang nga banana prawn with orange chili dressing
- Stir-fried pork tender with Andaman shrimp paste and santol
- Grilled chili relish of Isan style herbal-fed chicken served with grilled squid
- Sap Nok Style curry of Chachoengsao Duck with ginger and long yard bean
- Old style Hot and sour soup of market-fresh fish
Bo Lan Bangkok – Tasting Menu
The restaurant has a charming familiarity with traditional Thai elegance.
It feels contemporary yet the low-lit interiors and garden are a reminder of a Thai grandmother’s home. The interiors used with plenty of beautiful untreated wood, to maintain a traditional Thai ambiance. It is glamorous just not the shiny glamorous. It was a little dark by the time I excused myself.
I wandered around the luscious grounds, a small vegetable garden, a water filtering system, and waste recycling. Bo Lan works towards reducing its environmental impact and achieving a zero-carbon restaurant by 2018.
Who to dine with?
I recommend taking someone adventurous and sharing a discerning appetite.
They only serve dinner in set menus in a sharing family-style.
For lunch, they serve à la carte.
Thai Desserts at Bo Lan Bangkok
If you’re not a fan of Thai desserts, you’ll scoff at the medley of Thai handmade desserts presented.
There must have been about 10 – 12 items in total. There are Pre-Dessert and Dessert! The presentation is incredible.
Some dessert items come wrapped in banana leaves.
There are bite-sized items in the shapes of tropical fruits. These had a light and subtle flavor. Some are creamy and very sweet.
There is a different texture to feel on your tongue as you taste it.
But if you asked me, the ones in the morning markets tastes better.
It is also a fraction of the price.
Then there’s my preference again, I just don’t like grainy texture for desserts.
Bo Lan Restaurant Bangkok | Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 & 2018
24 Soi Sukhumvit 53, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana Bangkok 10110
Nearest BTS station: Thong-Lo (5-min walk) | Telephone: +66 2 260 2962
Prices: Balance menu 2660 baht++; Brief menu 2280 baht++
Best Route to get to
Bo Lan Restaurant Bangkok
The nearest BTS station is Thong lor.
Take exit 1 and walk toward Sukhumvit Soi 53.
Turn right into Soi Sukhumvit 53.
Walk down the small road for about 150 meters.
Bo.lan is on the right-hand side. Just turn right into the small pathway.