Bo.lan, Bangkok, Thailand
Bo.lan is a celebrated Michelin-Star restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand. The name “Bo.lan” came from its founders and chefs’ names: Chef Duangporn Songvisava’s nickname “Bo” and the second half of Chef Dylan Jones’ first name, “Lan”. Chef Bo and Chef Dylan’s dishes were truly creative yet deeply rooted in Thai tradition. For example, if guests requested for less spicy food, the chef will not simply prepare all dishes with with less chili; instead, she would design a Thai menu with dishes that are traditionally less spicy. Hence, the guests will always get the “real thing”, and not a watered-down version of Thai food.
Chef Bo is very passionate about environmental sustainability. During this review, she rolled up her sleeves to demonstrate and explain some of the recycling process that the restaurant practises. For example, order dockets (small chits of paper where food orders were written on) are recycled to make into handmade paper art or cards; fruit and vegetable peels are processed into washing liquid; empty wine bottles are put into practical use in the garden or sold to recyling plants in Taiwan; and small pieces of cloth are waxed using candle drips from the restaurant to cover food instead of using cling-wraps, etc.
Other than such efforts to reduce waste, the restaurant also invested in a state-of-the-art-system to serve its own house-filtered water in glass bottles instead of selling plastic-bottled drinking water. This way, Bo.lan not only reduces plastic waste but also minimises the use of fossil fuel in transporting water from its source to the processing plants, and then to end-consumers.
Bo.lan works closely with local farmers to get its supply of food ingredients. This achieved four main objectives: 1) ensuring the freshest food and authentic ingredients for the chef's Thai cuisine; 2) advocating the use of bio-diversified produce and this is reflected in the ever-changing menu; 3) supporting the local farming community, which is in-line with the national policy; 4) reducing carbon footprint by cutting down on delivery of imported ingredients.
Housed in a residential district, Bo.lan is available for exclusive use by MICE groups of up to 80 people. On the day of this review, the restaurant set up various hands-on workshop stations to educate delegates on environmental sustainability. The intention was good, though the restaurant could have been a bit more prepared in terms of materials and process. Be it MICE or individual visitors, do remember to book Bo.lan way in advance to avoid disappointment.
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This review was conducted as part of the 2019 international media familiarisation trip programme organised by TCEB.
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