Since setting up shop on a snug cul-de-sac running off Sukhumvit soi 26, Bo.lan has carved out a niche for itself among the myriad restaurants promising authentic Thai food. Whereas some restaurants have adapted Thai flavours to suit western palates, at Bo.lan, the commitment to tradition is as unswerving as the all-wood Lanna-style furnishings are gorgeous. It’s a welcoming atmosphere and the menu immediately intrigues.
The Bo.lan Balance menu (B1880) offers customers a selection of mid-sized dishes, beginning with an impressive amuse bouche that includes a particularly satisfying mouthful of Thai noddles with dumplings, where a slow-burn spice silhouettes a refreshing zest and the delicate presentation does not detract from intense flavours.
The main selection of dishes comes out in a flurry – there’s beef with organic mangosteen and a chilli-mint dressing, relish of salty duck egg in coconut cream, with mince prawn and grilled squid, as well as a stir-fried pork with santol. It’s high-quality produce and the attention to detail throughout is striking, although the bolder notes of chilli and lime risk overshadowing more subtle undertones.
The highlight, among the dishes served on the tasting menu, is the mon-style khi lek curry with daily ocean fish. Khi lek leaves are bitter but when combined with the sweetness of coconut milk and the mild spice of a curry, it delivers a brilliant complexity that still leaves room for the natural seafood taste.
There’s more than enough going on in this dish to sustain it over a much larger portion, making it the stand-out offering from the tasting menu.
If you want to stray from the set menu and branch off a la carte, the grilled pork salad with rambutan, herbs and red chilli (B420) is a winner, as is the northern-style hot and sour soup with banaa blossom and chicken on the bone (B240).
It’s worth sticking around for dessert though – Thai sweets can sometimes be a bit too super-sweet and gloopy to really hit the spot but the immaculately presented selection of fresh fruit, Thai toffee and edible decorations, all served on a rustic wooden platter, is a fitting symbol of Bo.lan’s modus operandi: essentially Thai, delivered with panache.
42 Sukhumvit 26 Soi Pichai Ronnarong Songkram | 02-260-2962 | bolan.co.th | Tues-Sun 6pm-10.30pm