Please note, Blue Elephant has now closed. Time Out Food editors, August 2017.
The international Blue Elephant chain, set up to ‘bring the best of Thai cuisine and culture to the world’, has been wowing diners with impeccable service and innovative dishes since the 1980s. The London branch (which was previously in Fulham Broadway) has all the grandeur of an imperial palace, and riverside views to boot.
Rich with ornate wood carving, orchids and silk cushions, the interior wouldn’t look out of place in one of Bangkok’s smartest establishments. The food is beautifully presented on a range of bespoke tableware: weaved bamboo containers, heavy ceramics. The menu is divided into ‘past’ (traditional), ‘present’ (contemporary), and ‘future’ (innovative) dishes. Of the latter, a Japanese-inspired raw salmon laab didn’t quite gel – the oil-rich fish in need of a stronger citrus kick.
A more classic starter of DIY betel leaf wraps with coconut, chilli, peanuts and dried shrimps was more successful, and fun. A kindly waitress demonstrated how to fold them properly. The lamb shank yellow curry was another mixed bag: the meat tender, but the sauce overly sweet. Though dishes are pricey, portions are generous, and the setting and staff are first-rate.