Menam Chicken soupMore pictures
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I’m a big fan of places where I can eat food that I don’t get a chance too all that often or has food that I know but presented in a way that I wouldn’t expect to find it in. At the MasterChef live event I visited there were a number of Malaysian stalls set up and Blue Elephant was one of these; I was interested by their Thai foie gras but for some reason decided against it and went for something more hearty and ‘traditional’ as I was cold. Not to miss out on the dish though we made a trip to their restaurant on an even colder evening.
Blue Elephant is a chain restaurant but only in the very loosest sense of the word. They have a number of restaurants worldwide and seem to train their chefs up in Thailand before sending them out into the kitchens. The menu was a good 6 pages long and contained a selection of chefs suggestions before heading onto the more expected Thai dishes. I always find the inclusion of a section for ‘special dishes’ a bit weird; does it mean that the chef doesn’t recommend the other 80% of the menu? The recommendations did highlight a number of the less standard meats I was looking for though and I went for buffalo satay and only just chose against crocodile as they also did soft shell crabs, a dish that if I see I will most of the times order. My girlfriend went a bit more traditional and had their starter platter and a Thai green curry. We also both had Thai soups to make us feel like we were in some way or other being healthy.
The size of the menu and lack of any kind of tasting menu meant that there were many dishes that I would have liked to go for but unfortunately couldn’t do; the aforementioned foie gras and crocodile but also orange prawn curry, laab salmon and a large assortment of rich, spicy beef curries. All were a bit pricey to really encourage experiment with starters coming in at around £8-£10 and mains around the £15-£18 bracket. All we had was good and the ingredients a high quality but maybe this would have been better to visit with a group of bigger than just 2 to allow for more experimentation. One little grumble would be with the soups; both had been flavoured with lemon grass and both had large lumps of the stuff left in meaning we had to fish it out with our spoons or fingers before we could get down to having soup, I thought this was a little bit clumsy.
The decor of the restaurant is very eye-catching with a river running through the middle of it filled with carp and a rather weird looking boat filled with vegetables ranging from the exotic (fresh tamarind) to the weirdly out of place looking (white onions). I love the sound of running water and it made the rather large restaurant seem smaller, more peaceful though I was rather worried that I might knock my drink, wallet or camera into it at some point when making a trademark swing of the arm. Thankfully I didn’t.
In all Blue Elephant was good Thai food but at the prices I would have hoped for a bit more than what felt like a restaurant catering for the wealthy Fulham-ites that were in on the Wednesday we were there, or would have liked the change to experiment a bit more with a larger number of their dishes.Tweet