Blue Elephant Bangkok – Enjoy Authentic Thai Food in a Century Old Building
[BANGKOK, THAILAND] In the late 1970s in Brussels, Belgium, Blue Elephant’s Master Chef Nooror Somany’s brother studied Hotel Management and persuaded his sister to join him for further education. He held a part-time job at an antique shop owned by Mr. Karl Steppe while he was studying. It was love at first sight for Mr. Steppe and Master Chef Nooror. Besides sharing the same interest in antiques and history, they both enjoy good food and share a great passion for cooking. In 1980, Master Chef Nooror’s good friends and Thai restaurant pioneers in Belgium, Mr. Chai Wayno and Mr. Somboon Insusri, convinced the married couple to start up a Thai cuisine restaurant, hence the first Blue Elephant restaurant was born in Brussels.
Over the years, Blue Elephant London opened in 1986, followed by Copenhagen in 1990 and Paris in 1991, just to name a few. The couple’s successful efforts made Blue Elephant one of Europe’s leading Asian restaurants. In year 2000, the couple came across the Old Thai Chine Building and was instantly drawn to its rich history and accessible location along Sathorn Road. Housed in a century-old building, creating a feeling of time travel, in addition to an exquisite dining experience, The Blue Elephant Cooking School and Restaurant Bangkok officially opened in 2002. The menu is a palette of traditions and novelties and you’ll be spoilt for choice with the variety of unique dishes, from the past, present and future of Thailand’s gastronomic culture.
Our Thai feast started with Blue Elephant’s Signature Zakouski. “Zakouski” is a Russian word which means “cold dish”. We had Betel Leave Snack Wrap and Tapioca. The former is a Thai traditional snack made up of an assortment of desiccated coconut, roasted peanuts, ginger, shallot and green lime, enveloped within betel leaves and served with caramelized sauce made from palm sugar, tamarind juice and shrimp paste. “Wow” was the first thought upon popping this wrap into my mouth! There’s a good crunch, with a rainbow of flavours tantalizing my tastebuds. The latter, on the other hand, features steamed tapioca stuffed with caramelized Kubota pork, sweet turnip and crushed peanuts. It has a milder taste, with a soft, chewy exterior.
Blue Elephant treated us to 3 of their best-selling starters such as the Foie Gras, consisting of seared French goose liver from “Landes”, paired with Thai North-Eastern style chilli sauce. As tamarind is one of the ingredients in making the chilli sauce, it gave a zesty punch. The foie gras is accompanied by potato that has a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
The other starter is River Prawn Salad with Mangosteen. Grilled Ayutthaya river prawn salad comes with mangosteen and a spicy tamarind dressing. This was a very unique dish for us as we’ve never tried any food elsewhere with mangosteen incorporated into their cooking. The prawn is very fresh and juicy. We really liked that the mangosteen enhanced the flavours of this dish.
The final starter came in the form of Crispy Crab Soufflé. Deep fried crab shell is stuffed with minced prawns, chicken and crab meat and Blue Elephant’s special red curry paste. It is encrusted and topped with crispy egg and served with sweet chilli sauced mixed with ground roasted peanuts. You’ll first sink your teeth into the crunchy exterior before its tender, flavoursome interior.
We had the Duck Longan Soup, boasting a spicy and sourish base with roasted duck and organic longan. You first get hit by the spiciness of the soup and the savoury taste of the roasted duck before a sweet aftertaste. This wonderful combination of ingredients reflects Master Chef Nooror’s culinary creativity.
Moving on to the main courses that we savoured – Blue Elephant’s Phad Thai and Crispy Snow Fish. While the Phad Thai consisted of fried rice noodles with fresh prawns and ground roasted peanuts with tamarind sauce, the Crispy Snow Fish was topped with stir-fry bird’s eye chilli, garlic and sweet basil. Both dishes were perfectly executed! Just a fun fact – The world renowned Phad Thai dish was actually created during the Second World War in the period of Prime Minister General Por Phiboonsongkram.
The next main course that arrived aroused everyone’s curiosity as we all wondered, “how to eat?!” The dish is called Loong Reur Chilli Relish, which is an Ancient Thai dip with Parkia seeds and served with crispy catfish and assorted vegetables. Just dip the fresh, raw vegetables in the dip and you’re good to go. We also had Crab Curry with Betel Leaves, an extremely spicy Phuket specialty so remember to order their Steamed Coconut Rice to neutralize the spice. Our last main course was Massaman Curry with Lamb and Sweet Purple Potato. Australian lamb is stewed with Massaman curry paste in coconut milk, tamarind juice, palm sugar, sweet purple potatoes and cashew nuts. The succulent lamb was well-soaked with the rich, strong curry flavour and fork-tender.
Every meal will not be complete without desserts for a sweet ending! We had Egg Custard with Pumpkin, Ruby Sago and Jasmine Ice Cream. Each dessert is unique in their own way – Egg Custard with Pumpkin had a creamy texture which wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet while our favourite, the Ruby Sago, was made with tapioca and topped with lots of shredded young coconut, which gave a very refreshing twist and the jasmine ice cream managed to top off our meal on a good note.
We would consider taking up Blue Elephant’s cooking lessons if we had more time in Bangkok. It was an extremely satisfying dining in an elegant setting with a plethora of delicious food. Note that Blue Elephant Restaurant’s preferred dress code would be smart casual, which means long pants for guys.
We would like to thank Thai Airways, (Amazing Thailand) Tourism Authority of Thailand and the World Tourism Organization for organizing the ASEAN Bloggers Media Trip to Bangkok.
Blue Elephant Cooking School and Restaurant Bangkok
Address: 233 South Sathorn Road, Kwaeng Yannawa, Khet Sathorn, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Phone: +66(2) 673 9353 / +66(2) 673 9354 / +66(2) 673 9356
Opening Hours: 11.30am to 2.30pm (lunch) and 6pm to 10.30pm (dinner) daily.