The Blue Elephant has permanently closed down.
Walk along the Imperial Wharf riverfront, a relatively quiet and picturesque part of the Thames, and you’ll come across The Blue Elephant, a mid-to-high-range Thai establishment with a rather attractive al fresco frontier. The lamb and chicken here is halal, though double check as I visited a long time ago. Alcohol is served.
I’ve been here on one occasion, where I ordered the “Lamb Chops with Thai Wild Basil”. This consisted of two lamb chops bathed in a wild basil sauce with chilli and garlic, and red rice.
The lamb chops were of a high quality with a thick and tender texture throughout, which carried moderate meaty flavours. Unfortunately however, they were a little bit undercooked towards the centre, and by that I don’t mean medium-rare / rare for those of you who are wrong (are against medium-rare meat). My stomach was a little bit angry with me the next day and in hindsight I probably should’ve sent them back to be cooked a little more but err, the caveman in me gets impatient. The wild basil that accompanied the lamb chops were bathed in a sauce that was very thin in consistency, yet very concentrated, brimming with zesty flavours that were delivered well with the lamb.
It was the first time I had ever tried red rice, and it was very interesting indeed. The rice wasn’t as soft as the white and brown rice I’m so familiar with, but was packed with far more flavour, (though that could have just been down to the accompanying sauce). The slightly firm texture contrasted well with the soft, tender texture of the lamb, and the rice was completely drenched in juices, delivering a mild tang with each bite.
All in all a satisfying meal. I just really wish I had had more of it. Lamb chops should come at the very least as a three. Like Musketeers. Or tricycle wheels. It’s not a culinary rule but it should be.
Prices here are slightly high, approximately £20-£30 for a single main, and portions are fairly small. With restaurants that are a bit more mid-to-high-range, I of course, expect high prices, but I also expect food that is a lot better than that I’d find at a low-to-mid range restaurant. All expectations are simply raised along with the rise in price, and I didn’t feel that the food at The Blue Elephant was particularly more spectacular than the food you’d find at other Thai restaurants with slightly lower prices in terms of quality, taste or unique factors. That said, the food is still pretty good, and prices are still fairly reasonable given the location and the quality of service.
Service here is perfect, as you’d expect. You receive personal attention from the waiters/waitresses from the moment you sit down to the moment you leave. We were dining al fresco, and a fly flew into my friend’s – wait for it – drink. It’s a shame it wasn’t soup, it would’ve really made for a perfect “Waiter, Waiter” routine. I thought the fly would add extra flavour and nutritional value to the drink but apparently it’s “disgusting” or whatever, so we informed the waitress and she happily replaced the drink despite there only being half left, which we appreciated.
As we were dining al fresco, I can’t comment on the restaurant interior. I visited long before I had even considered starting a food blog, so I didn’t take a quick peek either. However, the exterior of the restaurant was fairly attractive, with comfortable outdoor wooden chairs and tables, overlooking the riverfront. I was wearing a blue shirt at the time, so I’m certain people were walking past saying “Oh look, a blue elephant outside the blue elephant, must be a new mascot.”
The restaurant itself is a quick 10 minute walk from Imperial Wharf Station. You may be able to park somewhere close by on one of the back-roads from the riverfront.
Again, I can’t comment on the atmosphere inside the restaurant itself, but on a hot, sunny summer’s day, (which in the UK is a rarer occurence than a Unicorn sighting), the al fresco dining area is wonderfully serene. You can relax in your own private bubble with your dining companions and enjoy the attractive surroundings of Imperial Wharf. A good place to come if your friends aren’t a particularly pretty sight to look at.
Overall, despite being a little pricey for what it’s worth, The Blue Elephant provides a pleasant and relaxing dining experience in surroundings that are rather pleasing to the eye. Keep it in mind, it’s worth checking out should that strange yellow blob in the sky make an appearance in London this summer.
The Blue Elephant
The Boulevard, Imperial Wharf,
London SW6 2UB
Telephone: 020 7751 3111