A new location for an acclaimed staple.
by Thomas Sturrock.
Given Bo.Lan (24 Soi Sukhumvit 53, Bangkok; 02 260 2962; www.bolan.co.th) had so successfully carved out a niche for itself in Phrom Phong, it may have been risky to pull up stumps and move a few blocks down Sukhumvit to Soi 53. But one visit is enough to conclude that the move is likely to pay off – everything that was so inviting about Bo.Lan’s previous home has been lovingly recreated in its new location. Decked out in dark woods and cool tones, the décor is modern Thai, while the food is more traditional. And, to top it all off, there’s even a swimming pool.
The new site has not persuaded husband-and-wife chef team Duangporn “Bo” Songvisava and Dylan Jones to veer from their tried and tested menu, which emphasizes traditional cooking methods, features local produce and, above all, finds a delicate balance between different Thai flavors.
Indeed, the lunch menu at Bo.Lan takes its name from this idea – the Balance Menu (THB 880 per person). It begins with an amuse-bouche before taking diners through a selection of salads, soups, stir-fries, and curries.
The salads, in particular, are a revelation. One option includes a spicy mackerel with a distinctively salty aftertaste, while the other combines squid and banana blossom to delicious effect, finished with a punchy chili jam dressing that delivers a symphony of tastes and textures that linger on the tongue.
The soups aren’t quite as exciting – there’s a clear bamboo broth as well as a hot and sour soup made from smoked fish and Ban San-Fan chicken. It’s all immaculately presented, of course, but these dishes perhaps lack a signature ingredient that would elevate them to something truly memorable.
Fortunately, the stir-fries deliver strong dishes. There’s a turmeric-fried fish of the day as well as stir-fried prawns with paddy oat leaves. The prawns radiate that irresistible pinkish-orange color that really gets the mouth watering.
Finally, the curries are perhaps the most satisfying of all – whether you choose the southern-style prawns with a tropical longan twist or the red curry with grilled pork and green bananas. These are well thought through dishes, where Thai flavors are rendered in perfect balance giving exquisite tastes. It’s not as bold and brassy as some of the modern Thai outlets currently making their mark in Bangkok. But for those who appreciate refined dedication to traditional Thai cuisine, Bo.Lan’s is sure to remain an enduring favorite.