The end of an era for Bangkok’s Thai fine-dining scene.
Bo.lan has redefined Bangkok’s restaurant scene for over a decade. After what has been a tumultuous start to the year for the industry and a whirlwind of rumors surrounding the revered restaurant, it has been announced that the Thai fine-dining institution will not be returning—at least, not as we know it.
On Jul 3, Bo.lan’s beautiful house on Sukhumvit Soi 53 will become home to three new concepts: Bolan Grocer, Err and an exclusive chef’s table. “This is not a reopening. We are opening a brand new place with the same uncertainty as when we opened Bo.lan eleven years ago,” says chef and co-owner Dylan Jones.
The decision will mean relinquishing their Michelin Star rating and no. 19 spot on Asia’s 50 Best list—something Dylan and his partner, Duangporn “Bo” Songvisava, seem little concerned about. “These accolades haven’t meant much to us for a long time. It’s great to get recognized but… I don’t think [Michelin is] structured in a way that supports our industry... it has turned into a corporate entity,” says Jones, who believes that forming supportive local communities is more important in ensuring Thailand’s F&B industry will survive on domestic travel alone. “We need to work out how we can survive by supporting the farmers that we have and move away from our industrialized food system... This is a great opportunity to start from zero once again,” he states.
Over the past decade, the couple has gained a reputation globally for a hardcore commitment to keeping it local, with a focus on ancient Thai recipes and compromising flavors. Their tireless pursuit of a zero-carbon footprint combined with their anti-establishment attitude has only fueled their credibility.
“We definitely considered closing [completely but] our investors… were adamantly against it, so we re-evaluated the situation. We thought, do we really want to reinvent ourselves? Do we think that people are going to come back after Covid and start spending B5,000-6,000 a head on Thai food?” says Jones. The decision was made to relocate the more casual sister restaurant, Err, from Chinatown to Bo.lan’s premises.
Err will be joined by Bo.lan Grocer, where customers can shop for dry goods, vegetables from local farmers, fresh curry pastes, natural wine, organic coconut cream pressed to order, and their own brands of fish sauce, palm sugar and salt. The new communal set up will also include Wasteland, a "community sipping space" where guests will be encouraged to converse on environmental topics in the F&B sector while sipping on cocktails that utilize repurposed ingredients from Err’s kitchen alongside tea and coffee.
If you’re still reeling from the news of Bo.lan’s departure, then find solace in the exclusive chef’s table. Available just two times per week at a flat rate of B30,000 for tables of two to 12 people, this experience will offer the full Bo.lan experience in their familiar sharing format, though it can be adapted to a singular experience for those still weary of sharing.
Throughout the Covid pandemic, the duo has been busy trying to keep their staff and network of farmers in business with CSA boxes, which will still be available to order every Wednesday, while Bo.lan’s pinto meals will be available for delivery every Saturday.
24 Sukhumvit Soi 53