It was a chilly Sunday afternoon when I headed down to review the Blue Elephant in Fulham. After navigating my way through the thick match day traffic spilling from the nearby football ground, I was definitely looking forward to escaping the hustle and bustle of London. Thankfully, all traces of post road rage tension literally melted away in an instant as I stepped through the doors of this Thai restaurant. As the complete antithesis of the surroundings I’d left outside, Blue Elephant was warm, tropical and inviting. The combination of exotic flowers, lush plants and dark wooden flooring and tables, plus the welcoming ambience somehow gave me the kind of chilled feeling I get when I’m on holiday. In fact, if I didn’t look out the windows, it may have been easy to forget that I was actually in London. We were off to a great start.
I took in the grand surroundings and riverside views as we made ourselves comfortable. Whilst the vision of The Thames may not be comparable to a Thai beach, when it comes to eating out in London, it’s definitely a welcome bonus – particularly I’d imagine on a warm day when you can take full advantage of the outdoor seating and dine by the river.
It’s not just a stunning interior that this restaurant offers. The choice of authentic Thai dishes is pretty extensive too. There are multiple menus to choose from which have been created by world-renowned chef, Noroor Somany Steppe: Memories of Siam Tasting Menu (which reflect the Siam region), Thai Cooking of the Past, Thai Cuisine of Today, Thai Kitchen of Tomorrow and a Vegetarian Menu.
A glance at the walls leading down to the loos and you can quickly understand how Noroor has become renowned as a master of Thai cuisine. The string of accolades won as a result of her authentic Thai cuisine prowess, plus the rave restaurant reviews on display reinforced her reputation as one of the most creative chefs in Asia. I couldn’t wait to try her food.
To kick-start our experience we went for some lovely Blue Elephant Spring Rolls from the Thai Cooking of Today menu and The Seashells fresh king scallops which were sensational. Taken from the Thai Cooking of Tomorrow menu, the fresh scallops had been marinated with green peppercorns butter then grilled. The result? Pure deliciousness – they literally melted in my mouth. What’s more, each scallop came exquisitely presented on it’s own individual seashell served with a side serving of crispy seaweed. Style and substance. I was impressed.
For mains we opted for the beautifully aromatic Free Range Chicken Green Curry (Thai Cooking of Today) which my very fussy guest lapped up in minutes – the ultimate seal of approval. Being a lover of prawns, I was immediately drawn to the Wild Catch Black Pepper Prawns (Thai Kitchen of Tomorrow menu). My eyes lit up when the plate arrived and was filled with giant and very juicy prawns which had been stir-fried with garlic and black pepper, then topped with crispy organic lemongrass. You definitely have to love black pepper if you order this dish as it is in plentiful supply. Having purposely eaten very little earlier in the day in anticipation of my visit, I was able to polish off the generous portion with ease and was ready and raring for dessert.
Always keen to try something new, I made a beeline for the Sodsai which are leaf type parcels of steamed rice pudding with a mouthwatering crunchy coconut filing inside. Hard to explain, but very easy to eat, so my advice is to give it a go. But if you struggle to choose just one dessert, fear not as the ‘Kanom Thai’ enables you to try four of their most popular dishes.
Now I don’t know about you, but invariably when I’ve come to the end a meal that I’ve enjoyed I start thinking not only about when I can visit that restaurant again but also begin wishing I could cook dishes like that myself. Well the clever Blue Elephant team clearly thought about this too and created a range of curries, pastes, sauces and more all tastefully displayed for purchase near the exit for you to help you can recreate some of your favourite Blue Elephant dishes at home.
And you don’t have to pine for their Phad Thai if you’re heading off on your hols either as the restaurants are now in 11 countries and counting, including Bangkok, Paris and Dubai. Since they launched in 1980, Blue Elephant really have established themselves as the international masters of Thai cuisine.
All in all I had a lovely experience at Blue Elephant. Tasty food, attentive staff, tropical atmosphere. What’s not to love? Yes, next time I need to escape the hustle and bustle of South West London to indulge in some authentic Thai cuisine and a holiday to Thailand isn’t an option, thankfully now I’ll know exactly where to go.
BLUE ELEPHANT RESTAURANT
The Boulevard Imperial Wharf, Townmead Road London SW6 2UB
Tel: +44 20 7751 3111
written by Sharleen Hunter