Monday, January 15, 2007
Elephant can cook
Elephant in blue color? No, no, there is no such elephant in the Kingdom. In fact Blue Elephant is a group of Thai restaurants serving probably the best Royal Thai cuisine started in 1980, by a sweet couple Khun Nooror Somany and Mr. Kari Steppe, in Brussels. Today there are fifteen Blue Elephant restaurants worldwide and counting.
Blue Elephant in Bangkok is set in a historical house on the compound of the Thai Chine Building, South Sathorn Road in the heart of Bangkok.
Here are some of the a-roi (delicious) dishes I sampled during my recent visit to the Blue Elephant. Names of the dishes look fusion but I guarantee the taste are authentic Thai cuisine, they are spicy indeed.
I started with Somtum-moo-yang (shredded raw green papaya spicy salad with grilled pork in crushed peanuts dressing), Foie gras with tamarind sauce, and Pearls of the Blue Elephant (a selection of classic Thai favorites) always a pleasure if we have no idea where to start. It is also a good experience to sample the Thai traditional dips such as Tow-jiao-lone (a homemade dip of coconut cream with ground pork and a hint of tamarind sauce, served with salty egg and fresh vegetables).
For mains (serve with brown rice) I never limited myself to just one to two dishes; that night I picked Scallops and mangosteen salad (grilled US scallops, refreshing salad topped with sweet, sour and spicy lemongrass sauce and fresh mangosteen), Nam-tok tuna (seared tuna served with a combination of spicy Thai sauce, a chef Chumpol's creation), Running crocodile (stir-fried crocodile meat with chili, basil, fresh peppercorn and palm hearts, it is spicy), Bamboo fish (fillet of local sea bass marinated with Thai herbs, grilled in a bamboo case), Massaman lamb (a typical dish from southern Thailand of slowly braised NZ lamb in a medium spicy rich curry sauce), and the Forgotten beef curry (thick grilled kho-hun beef in mysterious curry, a recipe from the past), they are all very interesting dishes, and taste good. I love lamb and I like karpaow (Thai basil) hot sauce; so star of the night was, Lamb chop in karpaow sauce.
I didn't forget the soup. For Thai dining, soup goes with the main course and rice. I ordered the Tom-kha-ped-yang (a refreshing soup of roasted duck with young coconut flavored with lemongrass and galangal) instead of the most asked tom-yum-goong (the famous Thai spicy and sour prawn soup). Desserts? Dear, I was so full. But how could I miss the fresh Mango and sweet sticky rice with homemade coconut ice cream.
Blue Elephant has a good selection of wine. For Thai cuisine, I would suggest the red wine, approx. $30-$150, and the spicier the dish the sweeter the wine we should go for.
If you happened to drop by Bangkok and think of an exotic Thai gourmet experience, try Blue Elephant. There the menu is big. I have been there for over twenty times but never sampled all their yummy dishes. Usually I settled with $55 (Thai baht 2,000) without wine for two to three persons.
Blue Elephant Bangkok ****
233 South Sathorn Road
Sathorn, Bangkok 10120
Open daily : lunch 11:30 am - 2:30 pm, dinner 6:30 -10:30 pm
Pay (food only for two): expected THB 1,600