The Blue Elephant recently moved (after 25 years on Fulham Broadway) to a charming new location on the river in Imperial Wharf. It was a good move, the restaurant is simply stunning, inspired by the historical Saran Rom Palace in Bangkok. You are instantly transported to Thailand, with the trickling sound of waterfalls and the scents of exotic flowers.
We were shown to our seats and choose a couple of cocktails – the Red Dragon, a refreshing mix of sputnik vodka, strawberry liqueur, dragon fruit and ginger ale and a Passion Mohito, both of which were delicious, fresh and fruity. The selection of non-alcoholic ones were just as good as the alcoholic ones which was good to see.
Spicy prawn crackers kept our appetites at bay whilst we checked out the menu.
The food is divided primarily into 3 menus (Thai Cooking of the Past, Thai Cuisine of Today and Thai Kitchen of Tomorrow). There are also two tasting menus, the ‘Amazing Thailand Tasting Menu’ and ‘Memories of Siam’.
‘Thai Cooking of the Past’ includes dishes that Thailand has retained and adapted over the years (many during the reign of King Rama V, in the late 1800’s) creating its own culinary identity, drawing inspiration from Chinese, Portuguese and Indian cuisine. Dishes include the enticing Mieng Kham, a traditional Thai snack of fresh betel leaves filled with roasted peanuts, coconut, lime, shallots, chili, ginger, dried shrimps and a palm sugar dressing. The yellow curry lamb shanks cooked in coconut milk, home made yellow curry paste with fresh organic turmeric, sweet potato and served with roti was chosen by the table next to us and smelled delicious.
‘Thai Cuisine of Today’ features all the favourites using the finest quality ingredients Chef Nooror can source giving diners a true taste of Thailand. Spring rolls, fish cakes and paper prawns all make an appearance but with Nooror’s unique touches with a good choice of both meat and seafood mains.
‘The Thai Kitchen of Tomorrow’ is Khun Nooror’s opportunity to really show her flair, securing Thai cuisine in the future of fine dining. The grilled tiger prawns marinaded with fresh organic turmeric and exotic herbs with a spicy chili lime sauce and a Thai ‘Mekong whisky’ sauce caught my eye, whilst the grilled ‘Gloucester Old Spot’ spare ribs with organic honey and thai herbs sounded extremely tempting.
With so many mouth watering options we were undecided until one of the tasting menus was recommended; the ‘Amazing Thailand’ one. We didn’t need much convincing as we read down.
It gave a great selection, reasonably priced at £55 per person, of dishes from the above menus, taking you on a journey through Siam’s culinary regions. The starters arrived, one of each on our individual plates (foie gras in tamarind sauce, emerald chicken, khang khao phuak and dim sim) which was a really easy way of eating and trying them, also solving any sharing issues! The four sauces served with them in the middle were perfectly choosen and really complimented each starter.
The middle course of a half grilled lobster marinated with garlic butter, green peppercorns and fresh coriander was absolutely delicious and something I was pleased to see on the tasting menu as I had already picked it out from the Kitchen of Tomorrow menu.
The 5 mains all came in little dishes for you to help yourselves to. The deep fried black cod topped with chili, garlic, sweet basil and red curry paste was my favourite whilst my dining partner left hardly any of the ‘drunken beef’ for me to try. Understandably, the stir-fried Scottish rib eye with home-made chili paste and sweet basil was mouth wateringly good! The yellow curry lamb shanks were there from the ‘past’ menu as well as a portion of stir fried morning glory and a Benjarong rice (steamed wild rice with lotus seeds and black sesame seeds wrapped in a banana leaf).
We shared a dessert of ginger crème brulee, which was light and heavenly and a perfect end to the meal. The black sticky rice pudding with longan sounded just as good though, if only our appetites allowed us!
Every dish is so perfectly and exquisitely presented with the polite and attentive staff able to explain each one beautifully, a benefit to those diners not familiar with Thai dining and foods.
As we sat and ate it was lovely to look out on onto the water surrounded by the relaxing yet luxurious décor. I would recommend getting there at dusk and slightly early for your table so you can really soak up the Thai atmosphere and enjoy a few cocktails whilst watching the sun go down over the river.
The Boulevard, Imperial Wharf , Townmead Road, London, SW6 2UB