London, UK – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine
In January 2012, Thai restaurant Blue Elephant moved to a smart riverside spot in London’s Imperial Wharf after 25 years on Fulham Broadway. A new menu accompanied the new venue, inspired by sister restaurant Blue Elephant Bangkok and overseen by head chef Nooror Somany-Steppe. The team in the London kitchen trained in Bangkok under Somany-Steppe, who draws inspiration from her native Chachoengsao in central Thailand.
Dishes are divided into three sections. Thai Cooking of the Past is based on ancient recipes, many inspired by the Chinese, Portuguese and Indian influences that have helped shape the country. These include delicacies such as tom jiew kai, a free range chicken soup popular during the reign of King Rama V, and massaman lamb, a fragrant curry of lamb, dried spices in coconut milk, Thai sweet potatoes, roasted peanuts and cashew nuts originally described in a poem by 19th century ruler King Rama II. Thai Cuisine of Today features classic Thai dishes like green curry with free range chicken in coconut milk and steamed sea bream with organic lemongrass & fresh lime juice. Finally Thai Kitchen of Tomorrow which includes Chef Nooror’s own favorite Laab Salmon – inspired by her work in Japan, this north eastern Thai style salad mixes raw salmon, lemongrass, Thai herbs and a secret local ingredient.
For the best of these dishes, try the Amazing Thailand Tasting Menu (for two guests minimum), starting with a spicy tom yam ginseng chicken soup and doi kham eggplant salad with minced chicken, tiger prawn and truffle oil. Next comes a piquant trio of ma auan (minced chicken and crab), khang khao phuak (minced prawn, chicken and sweet spices in taro pastry) and grilled king scallops with green peppercorn and butter. Main courses consist of steamed salmon in red curry paste and sweet basil, and tender simmered lamb shanks in coconut milk and yellow curry paste. For dessert, expect an excellent black sticky rice pudding with longan, and a ginger crème brûlée.
The restaurant interior is modelled on the historic Saran Rom Palace in Bangkok, built in the late 19th century as a royal residence. The elegant dining rooms are adorned with Thai antiques, objets d’art and foliage, not to mention a teak replica of the Suphannahong, the Royal Barge of Thailand. Guests visiting in the warmer months can enjoy a cool breeze and river views from the outdoor terrace.
See more top London restaurants in the Elite Guide to London