The lunch at the Saneh Jaan restaurant and Erawan Tea Room awakened our appetite for more pristine Thai gastronomy. This time we headed to another gastronomy venue – Bo.lan Bangkok. To be precise, Bo.lan is not only about gastronomy, but it is also an ideology and revolution in one. So what is making this restaurant so unique? Read our Bo.lan Bangkok review and find out.
- Concept of Bo.lan Restaurant
- Restaurant Menu
- Michelin Star Lunch
- Classic Thai Dessert for Finish
- What More is There to Say? Critique.
- Final Thought
- Bo.lan Bangkok Review Card
- Price and Location
Concept of Bo.lan Restaurant
Arrival to Bo.lan Michelin star restaurant felt more like a visit to the friend’s house. While we approached the premises down the entryway we got an instant homely feeling. That feeling got enhanced by the sight of the small henhouse on the left side of the pool area. Once we noticed the beehive, we were over the roof.
It felt like we found a rural oasis in the middle of Bangkok. Our enthusiasm continued when we stepped inside the house, where every corner celebrates Thailand. The dark wooden interior is a charming background for artistic food images and flower installations. For a change, flowers have their spot on the wall, while the table is reserved for the culinary delicacies. On top of all that this is an upscale dining restaurant that follows the eco-friendly practice.
I will be very brief with their ideology and philosophy. In a nutshell, it’s about committed to change the food industry and revive authentic Thai food. Everything had begun with a lack of knowledge about Thai food in the country and close to zero organic products. After the initial shock, they started a mission to find a few small-scale organic farmers that still exist.
The only way to find them was to explore Thailand for their restaurant suppliers and give them much needed support. Not only this partnership is beneficial for the restaurant but it is also crucial in preserving rare native plants and organic techniques.
The menu is based on the local ingredients and it changes with the seasons. No matter what is on stock the perpetual goal is to have as little environmental impact as possible. With that in mind, we were eager to try everything that is on their lunch menu. The Bo.lan lunch starts at noon and is supervised by Dylan, while evening star is Bo. No matter when you plan to visit them you’ll get your taste buds pampered with traditional Thai flavors. To be clear, Thai cuisine includes chilies in many dishes so be ready for some tingling sensations.
Before you make a reservation, I suggest checking the menu if you try to avoid certain foods (not chili!!). When we were there all the dishes included animal proteins, which was somewhat disappointing. I can only guess how the previous menus were, but I hope that individual dishes in the future the menu will vary more.
Wine list hides a surprise for lunch and dinner; the wine from Thailand. Not just Thai rice wine, but “ordinary” wine as well. Along with bio-dynamic and organic produce from around the world, it is a captivating list. For those who don’t care about alcoholic drinks, Bo.lan Bangkok offers signature mocktails.
Among the pink guava mojito and watermelon mojito, we chose the third one; a so-called herbal drink made from lemongrass and pandanus. I expected some bold lemongrass with subtle pandan in the background, but it was the exact opposite of that. Modestly measured lemongrass freshened the drink in which the spotlight belonged to the subtle pandan.
Michelin Star Lunch
For our Bo.lan Bangkok Review, we turned to the four-course tasting menu instead of the single plate dishes. Even so, it is good to know about the less time-consuming option full of delight. On the side, we got a free flow of organic Gaba brown rice and organic white jasmine rice, both cooked perfectly to the tooth. Maybe a more known name for the Gaba rice is germinated brown rice or sprouted rice, which is easier to digest, very healthy and more flavorful.
Amuse bouche hit the pallet straight away to show us what is coming. The mixture of minced pork, large mint leaf and plenty of shallots sent us through individual characteristics that worked well together.
Thai Hospitality on the Table – Main Dishes
As we are used to in Asian cuisine, we got all the dishes at the same time. This “course-prohibited” act filled our table instantly and left us to enjoy all of them as we pleased. Naturally, Ian and I had a taste of all eight Thai dishes, which all tasted great and were portioned adequately
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Let’s Start With the Salad
Even though we were advised to combine everything with rice I had to taste the first salad on its own. That way I could savor the tender grilled pork with lively additions of pomelo, santol, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and mint. Each ingredient served the purpose of flavor, texture and aroma, all rounded by a sweet kick of chili dressing.
The honey coated aroma of the second salad proved to be the opposite of my predictions about the fish salad. This refreshing appetizer starred with abundant mint leaves and aromatic herbs. Even so, I quickly included the rice, to balance the saltiness which led to the evolving flavors.
A combination of creamy coconut, chicken and young galangal is absolutely delicious. The flavor profile of this soup starts with young galangal that provides the piney-herbal notes with mild heat and goes on with milky coconut.
The dominating seasonings in “Boat noodle” style soup were the cinnamon and coriander. Both of them and many others masked the thickening agent of this soup, which by tradition is the blood. Don’t be appalled! It’s not weird to use all the animal parts instead of throwing them away. What is wrong are artificial additives and lack of respect for food in the modern world. I’m thrilled that at Bo.lan ethic reach beyond the food and include the environment as well.
Thai Curry is a Must
Thai Curry is unlike any other even though some spices are the same as in Indian curries. At Bo.lan kitchen stuff goes a step further and makes each curry paste from scratch. For the occasion, we got a portion of aromatic chicken curry and a bowl of thick pork curry.
The intense yellow color of the southern style chicken curry indicated the use of fresh turmeric while taste added the bouquet of shrimp paste, black pepper, and intense chili heat. Thankfully I was able to get all green chilies out of the bowl and enjoyed the remaining tender meat and pickled bamboo.
The “Tair Po” pork curry with crunchy morning glory had a strong citrusy taste with dried fish addition for more depth. With the fishy twist came the part I didn’t enjoy, even dough it complimented the pork ribs just fine.
The Last Main Dish on Our Bo.lan Lunch Menu
The strongest dish of them all, in my opinion, was the stir-fried pork with Andaman shrimp paste and sator beans. The sator beans are also known as stinky beans for the apparent reason. Even so, their distinctive smell is not off-putting. I’d say the bouquet tells you they are healthy, but not everyone can handle them.
Ian, for example, tried one and gave the rest to me. That, of course, didn’t happen with the pork even though it is much less healthy. I like the differences in the texture and taste, which goes beyond words – Umami and more… Anyway, I’d be happy to have these beans on their own in the same thick gravy with paprika and aromatic caffer lime leaves.
The last goodness was all from the sea, with crunchy Thai samphire sea-vegetable and tender stir-fried prawn. Here the prawn is indisputable king, especially with prawn stock covering everything. Its tender meat gets crispiness from the samphire, which is also salty by nature. This succulent plant receives the salt from the sea, while it grows in the coastal area.
Classic Thai Dessert for Finish
I finally found pleasure in quintessential Thai dessert that I tend to disapprove of due to the artificial syrups. This shaved ice is a way to combat the tropical heat, with 100% natural toppings made of aromatic jasmine syrup, sour green mango and ginger warmth. At the bottom of the glass, it was also rambutan and santol fruit for a more satisfying finish. In the light of the whole meal also the dessert combined the unforeseen contrast by a pinch of salt.
What More is There to Say? Critique.
There is no point in denying we didn’t enjoy our time. We did, everything was very flavorful, only the dessert was a bit too simple. However, we missed some of the warmth we experienced at Erawan Tea Room, Le Normandie or Saneh Jaan Michelin star restaurants before. And those restaurants aren’t even ‘family businesses’ like Bo.lan.
Is it really that hard to greet your guests and put some personal notes? Well, we were warned about this from one well-known Bangkok’s food critic and another connoisseur here. Yes, it is true we came for food, but there is always much more when it comes to the whole experience. In this case, the holistic homely feeling is gone. Unless they want to change the design of the homely restaurant, the owners should be more personal with the guests.
Cooking from scratch is part of the gourmet cookery which ends in an utterly delicious meal. The cherry on top for Michelin star meal is the chef’s deep passion, which in this case concerns more than just quality ingredients. It starts with running the zero-carbon footprint restaurant and personal twist to the Thai gastronomy and ends with supporting local and autochthonous ingredients. Thank you for keeping with us in this extended Bo.lan Bangkok Review.
The only missing link here is homely feeling. If you prepare a place like your home, cook your food like moms used to at Thai homes, act like we visit your home. After all, that’s why we visited you!
Bo.lan Bangkok Review Card
- ATMOSPHERE – 8.4/108.4/10
- SERVICE – 8.9/108.9/10
- PRESENTATION – 8.9/108.9/10
- FOOD – 9.3/109.3/10
- DRINKS – 9.3/109.3/10
- VALUE – 9.5/109.5/10
Price and Location
Lunch like ours will cost you here about 40 USD per person. When you are in Bangkok I warmly recommend paying a visit. Here is a link of location for easy peasy navigation. Bon appetit