Recently we were graciously invited to spend an evening at the stunning JW Marriott Mai Khao’s Ginja Taste restaurant to partake in the incredible cuisine offered by Bangkok’s famed Bo.lan.
The restaurant’s name is not only a play on the chefs’ names, Bo and Dylan, but is also a reference to the Thai word boran, roughly meaning vintage. And that is just what their recipes are based off of. After referring to ancient cookbooks, conversations with locals, fisherman and artesian producers, the couple developed a menu consisting of traditional techniques and recipes.
The two talented chefs’ philosophy of using only bio diversified produce and sourcing ingredients from local farmers has made their menu ‘essentially Thai’.
Their goal to be a zero carbon emissions restaurant by 2018, as well as to educate diners on the positive affects that locally sourced food can have on the environment, has landed them 37th out of Asia’s 50 best restaurants, and it’s not hard to see why.
We were first treated to a beautiful arrangement of nahm prik kai kem, khao tang gai and kanom jeen nahm yum tua dat. Each perfectly spicy, well prepared, and just enough flavor without the heat becoming overwhelming.
The overall consensus at the table was very good, even for those not privy to Thai cuisine.
It goes without saying, however, that if you are not keen on spicy food, you may find traditional dishes hard to take. Fortunately, Bo.lan does an excellent job of balancing the spiciness with other elements in their incredible dishes.
Next on the table was the ‘Lon’ preserved rice served with minced prawns and crispy fish, accompanied by fresh, local vegetables. This too was an excellent balance of flavors, with the crispy fish extremely light and flaky, which for anyone who has tried yam pla duk foo, it’s already known how easy it is to get fried fish that is greasy, heavy and overcooked. However, this was perfectly fried in a way where you could still enjoy the natural flavor of the fish.
This too was a crowd pleaser and was paired with a lovely Shiraz sourced from a winery in Hua Hin.
The real star of the evening, though, was definitely the krua-style curry with chicken and local southern mushrooms. The heat was very subtle, allowing you to taste the creamy coconut flavors perfectly meld with the curry leaves. The texture was on point as well – not watery and not too thick, making it the perfect curry to enjoy with or without steamed rice.
And what is any Thai spread without something sweet to finish it off with?
Durian simmered in jasmine-smoked coconut cream with sweetened sticky rice was the perfect ending an incredible meal. The durian was very subtle and had a creamy texture, which made it an impeccable pairing with the sweetened sticky rice. Even those who generally cringe at the sight of durian on a menu were pleasantly surprised by the mildness and flavor.
Everything from the vintage recipes, locally sourced ingredients and presentation, to the wonderful wine pairings, make it easy to see why Bo.lan has become a well-respected name in Thai cuisine and one that will be around for generations to come.
Now to convince them to open up a location in Phuket…
Written by Katie, E-Table Asia