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Blue Elephant (Restaurant)

Picture of Blue Elephant in Chelsea, London

The Boulevard, Imperial Wharf, Townmead Road, Chelsea, London, SW6 2UB
Cuisine: Thai Average Price: £40.00-50.00
Tel: 020 7385 6595 | Email to Blue Elephant | Transport: Imperial Wharf | Write review

Blue Elephant Review

Best for: special dinners along the Thames; Thai cuisine.

Great: views across the river Thames; interior design.

My Dad lives in Thailand and has done for the past eight years. Whenever I talk to him on the phone he speaks to me in either broken English or in Thai. I cannot explain to you the frustration it causes when it’s costing me £1.50 a minute to listen to someone who knows I don’t speak Thai, speak Thai. The only thing more frustrating is when, despite my wild protests, he hands his phone to a born-and-bred Thai to “say hi”. £23 later and I’ve usually terminated the call.

Having visited him on many occasions in Thailand – where still the language barrier between us persists – and having acquired a penchant for Thai cuisine, I was delighted to be invited to sample the fare at top, new, London Thai restaurant, Blue Elephant.

With establishments all over the world - including in Phuket and Bangkok - the Blue Elephant reputation is well established. And with their recent move from Fulham Broadway to Imperial Wharf in Chelsea, they have more to boast about then ever. I purposefully got to this premier river-side address early so I could ‘nonchalantly’ stroll around the Chelsea Harbour checking out how the rich-set live, with their yachts and diamonds. I would advise you do the same, only with less open-mouth gawping.

Wandering up the north side of the Thames path makes for a very idyllic start to the evening; yes, Imperial Wharf isn’t quite Bangkok but the water is pretty and with the breeze coming up the Thames, although slightly bitter, evokes memories of more exotic lands.

And that’s my last reminder I’m in London because as soon as I pass through the doors of the restaurant, I’m in Thailand.

Wooden floors are silent except for the swishing of the female staffs phasin; a traditional ankle-length wrap skirt made from bright coloured silk. Welcomed with a polite greeting – hands together as if in prayer, head bowed – I’m seated at one of the dark wood tables on an ornate chair. It’s the detail that has me believing I’m back in Thailand, not a posh part of London. So much detail and so much wood. I’m no carpenter or a staff member at Homebase, but I’ll take a guess at it being teak.

There’s less wood in my Mai Tai - the cocktail of Thailand - and my male companion’s strawberry daiquiri is equally as good, if only less synonymous with the Far East and, let’s be honest, just a tad girly. But it’s ok, the other diners – a mix of couples, families, and groups of friends – seem to be indulging in equally pretty drinks so he’s no pink elephant in the room, so to speak.

Through the floor-to-ceiling windows at the front of Blue Elephant you can see the water, and it’s quite the view. Under normal circumstances this should be Blue Elephant’s pulling point but the interior is even more spectacular. Ginormous gilt dragons (which I’m suspicious have been stolen from Bangkok Palace); the floor, walls and ceiling made of intricately carved wood; the deep brown offset by the dispersion of plants with big green leaves; scattered tea lights; bamboo baskets; large wooden fans that hang from the ceiling. This is what takes my attention from the breath-taking views outside, and the food that appears in front of me is the only thing that can take my attention from the breathtaking views inside. If there were a hierarchy, the food at the Blue Elephant would be at the top.

The Memories of Siam Tasting Menu begins to arrive, and from this point it’s just a case of keeping up with the different pots and plates being laid before me. British buffalo and chicken satay with peanut sauce, and steamed minced chicken with crab meat and foie gras are among the many starters, with a spicy and sour Tiger prawn and Eryngii mushroom soup to follow. Having been to Thailand and eaten authentic Thai food I was prepared to experience a somewhat poor imitation but my preconceptions couldn’t have been more wrong. Somehow each dish managed to trump the last, and by the wild catch black pepper prawns, and Massaman lamb, I’m convinced I’ve not tasted better in Thailand’s capital itself.

It’s the smells, the colours, the impeccable food, the effortlessly polite staff that have me believing I’ve spent the evening in Thailand. It’s the dearth of Dad that reminds me I’m not. As I step out into the chilly London air, not the balmy evenings of the Far East, I think ruefully to myself that I’m going to have to call him tomorrow and tell him about Blue Elephant. Even if it costs me a headache, a chat with a Thai, and a £23 charge.
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Customer Reviews for Blue Elephant

Average (based on 1 votes): 1 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Blue Elephant.

“Highly overrated. Yes the decor is impressive and the food is of a pretty high standard, but for the price you should be expecting better food and service.”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
ICOT, [ Unknown ] (12 years 6 months 7 days ago)

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Additional Information

Blue Elephant Food & Drinks

  • Cuisine Type: Thai
  • Average Price: £40.00-50.00

Blue Elephant Food Menu

SUGGESTIONS
STARTERS
MIENG KHAM
A traditional Thai snack. Betel leaves to filled with roasted peanut, pieces of lime, shallot, ginger and dried shrimp. 8.90

"FOIE GRAS"
A Blue Elephant innovation: seared French gooseliver with an authentic Thai tamarind sauce.12.00
LAAB SALMON
A spicy raw wild salmon tartar with fresh Thai herbs. Subtle with lots of character. 11.00

TOM KHA PED YANG
A refreshing soup of roasted duck with young coconut flavored with lemongrass and galangal.7.20


MAIN COURSES
LAAB PED
Marinated magret of duck grilled and finely chopped before tossed with plentiful of herbs. Served warm. 15.20

BAMBOO FISH
Fillet of Sea-bass marinated with herbs. Grilled in a bamboo case.17.50

428 SOFT SHELL CRAB 16.00
With young green peppercorns and Thai herbs. Refined preparation.
RUNNING CROCODILE
Stir-fried spicy Crocodile meat with chilli,basil, fresh peppercorns and palm heart.18.00

Updated 28/04/2006

Blue Elephant Drinks Menu

The Blue Bar

Following an extensive refurbishment and expansion, the Blue Elephant is pleased to announce the completion, and opening of Blue Bar. Blue Bar’s interior is set upon a visit to old Bangkok. The focal point is the bar itself, a reproduction of the Suphannahong, reserved exclusively for the conveying of Their Majesties the King and Queen. With a figurehead fashioned in the shape of a swan (hongsa) and an intricately carved and gilded hull, the majestic 12m bar has been carved out of a single trunk of teak.

Master craftsmen laboured for aver 4 month on the bar. The intricate feathers were painstakingly carved the applied with 50,000 sheets of gold leaf and inset with over 3,000 pieces of stained mirrored mosaics, giving a shimmering effect as if it were actually afloat.

Updated 28/04/2006

Item Description Price
Mai Thai A melange of cool refreshing exotic fruit juices with a hint of alcohol. £ 6.00

Special offers, discounts and deals at Blue Elephant

Sunday brunch (brunch menu only, no à la carte)

Type: Breakfast, Brunch, Fixed price Menu, Lunch Special Offer
Date: 14 Jul, 2015 - 31 Dec, 2017
Day(s): Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Time: n/a

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Venue ID: 161

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