Blue Elephant Restaurant Phuket: Luxurious Mansion, Excellent Food

By Mark Wiens 15 Comments
blue elephant thai phuket
Blue Elephant Restaurant and Cooking School in Phuket

A reason why Thai food is such an incredible cuisine is that some recipes, especially traditional dishes, have a story behind them, or a family who developed them.

One of the restaurants that preserves the traditional, and Royal, and some family recipes as well, is Blue Elephant, one of the most well known names in Thai cuisine.

There are branches of Blue Elephant throughout the world, and in Thailand there’s a branch in Bangkok and in Phuket.

In Phuket, Blue Elephant occupies a stunning Sino-Portuguese mansion known as the Governor’s Mansion.

When my wife and I were in Phuket, we were doing a photo shoot and story about Blue Elephant (I’ll tell you more about this later), and after we finished, the owner (who is extremely kind), invited us to stay for lunch.

Here are the amazing dishes we ate at Blue Elephant Phuket…

traditional Thai food
Seng wa goong pla duk foo (แสร้งว่ากุ้งปลาดุกฟู)

Seng wa goong pla duk foo (แสร้งว่ากุ้งปลาดุกฟู)

Let’s begin with seng wa (แสร้งว่า), which is considered a Royal Thai dish, and something that’s not very easy to come across – it’s a rare dish to find these days, but it’s a delicious dish.

Shrimp is one of the main ingredients, but along with shrimp, the seng wa (แสร้งว่า) included a host of other ingredients like shallots and lemongrass, all within a cradle of lightly battered and deep fried wild betel leaves.

Price – 380 THB

Royal Thai food
So many crispy delicious things mixed in

Along with all the crispy mixture of ingredients, everything was dressed in an astringent citrus sour, and slightly sweet dressing, with a hint of chili, and all flavors were balanced beautifully.

thai restaurant phuket
Gaeng masaman kae (แกงมัสมั่นแกะ) – massaman curry with lamb

Gaeng masaman kae (แกงมัสมั่นแกะ)

In Thailand you’ll probably never go to two different restaurants that serve the same taste of massaman curry.

It’s a dish that has so many versions and variations; Massaman curry is itself a fusion of Persian spices and Thai ingredients.

At Blue Elephant restaurant in Phuket we got the massaman kae (มัสมั่นแกะ), massaman curry with lamb.

Price – 780 THB

coconut cream
Topped with ginger and thick coconut cream

The massaman curry was darker in color than many other versions I’ve eaten throughout Thailand and I could distinctly taste both cumin and cinnamon in the sauce.

The lamb was just beautiful, big chunks of succulent lamb, not quite as tender as ox tongue, but still incredibly tender and with a nice spice blend.

I also enjoyed the extra addition of more buttery coconut cream on top, a few thin slices of fresh ginger, and a handful of roasted cashews for an extra nutty touch.

Due to being a sweet curry, I’m still not the biggest fan of Thai massaman curry, but the version at Blue Elephant was very good, and I would definitely be happy to eat it again.

ข้าวยำ
The most complex and one of the best versions of khao yam (ข้าวยำ) I’ve ever had

Khao yam (ข้าวยำ)

Another dish at Blue Elephant restaurant in Phuket that blew me away was their version of khao yam, a famous southern Thai rice and herbs salad.

The owner of Blue Elephant, Khun Noroor Somany Steppe, explained to me that she got the recipe for this version of khao yam from a khao yam contest in Hat Yai, where she was the judge.

The winner of the contest prepared her family recipe and competed against a number of others, but for her complexity and use of natural ingredients and flavors, her version of khao yam was the clear winner.

Thai Royal cuisine
Full of fresh herbs

And let me tell you, this khao yam (ข้าวยำ) was an absolute winner as well.

Although it looks like just a combination of sliced up herbs and veggies, there was a lot of work that went into this salad.

The dressing was first made by reducing nam budu (น้ำบูดู a southern Thai / Malay fermented fish sauce) with palm sugar and kaffir lime juice.

The salad then included finely shaved kaffir lime leaves, long beans, pomelo, a number of different marinated rice, thin rice noodles, and the unique ingredient that really made this khao yam stand out: sliced torch ginger flower (known in Thai as dok dala ดอกดาหลา).

The dok dala was sour, almost like a sour green apple, and balanced with the flavor of the salty fish sauce dressing and the other herbs.

It was shockingly delicious.

Thai eggplant salad
Yam Makua Doi Kham (ยำมะเขือดอยคำ)

Yam Makua Doi Kham (ยำมะเขือดอยคำ)

Kind of a house-made creation by Chef Khun Nooror, yam makua doi kam (ยำเห็ดดอยคำ) was a stack of eggplant and mushrooms, stuffed with seafood in the middle.

Doi Kham is a Thai Royal project for producing high quality and organic produce and food products in Thailand.

So all the vegetables from this dish were from Doi Kham.

The layers of eggplant were soft and creamy, and then in-between each layer was sweet yellow and red bell peppers, tart tomatoes, minced shrimp, basil, and shallots, in a sour lime juice dressing.

Finally, a trio of seared scallops rested on the very top.

Blue Elephant cooking school
Gaeng boo bai chaploo kab sen mee (แกงปูใบชะพลู กับเส้นหมี่)

Gaeng boo bai chaploo kab sen mee (แกงปูใบชะพลู กับเส้นหมี่)

It’s a rather impossible task for a food lover to choose a favorite dish from a meal of such classy and high quality dishes.

But if I had to choose my favorite dish of the meal, the flavor that literally blew my taste buds into a state of paradise, it would have to be the gaeng boo bai chaplu kab sen mee (แกงปูใบชะพลู กับเส้นหมี่).

Let me just explain real fast:

Imagine huge chunks of fresh shell-less crab, naturally sweet and flaky, submerged in a buttery coconut milk rich creamy curry flavored with turmeric, garlic, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, dry chilies, and an earthy peppery flavor from the wild betel leaves, all topped with an extra hit of the finest coconut cream.

It was almost too good to eat. But don’t worry, I ate every last drip of it.

Price – 880 THB

best Thai restaurants in Phuket
Served with sen mee (เส้นหมี่), thin rice vermicelli

The curry was served with sen mee (เส้นหมี่), thin rice noodles, formed into little clusters within a steamer basket.

I’m not sure if my mind was playing games with me, because my tongue was already coated in coconut cream, but if I’m not mistaken, it tasted like the noodles also had a coconut flavor to them.

Thai crab curry
That crab curry was unbelievable!

Although the southern Thai style crab curry (แกงปูใบชะพลู กับเส้นหมี่) was marvelous with rice, it was also insanely good with the noodles it was served with.

The curry had a wonderful and distinct southern Thai flavor to it, filled with turmeric and dry chilies, a hint of lemongrass, and a citrus flavor from kaffir lime leaves.

restaurants in Phuket
wild betel leaves and crab

Bai chaplu (ใบชะพลู), or wild betel leaves, are commonly eaten throughout southeast Asia, and in the curry they provided a unique earthy peppery flavor.

Almost nothing can compare to the joy of a bite of shell-less crab within a flavorful coconut milk curry.

If you eat at Blue Elephant Phuket, gaeng boo bai chaploo kab sen mee (แกงปูใบชะพลู กับเส้นหมี่) is a dish you don’t want to miss if you love crab.

Governor's Mansion Phuket Blue Elephan
Blue Elephant Phuket housed in the luxurious Governor’s Mansion

Conclusion

Blue Elephant Phuket is a high end Thai restaurant and Thai cooking school, housed in the beautiful Governor’s Mansion in Old Town Phuket.

Using top quality ingredients, and a mixture of Royal, traditional, and family Thai recipes, Blue Elephant excels at Thai cuisine.

I think what really stood out to me about our meal at Blue Elephant Phuket was their use of high quality ingredients, the history of their recipes, and Thai dishes they serve that are unique and hard to find elsewhere.

Blue Elephant Phuket is a fantastic restaurant in Phuket for a high quality Thai meal in a gorgeous atmosphere.

Blue Elephant – Phuket, Thailand

Address: 96 Karabi Road Tambon Talad Neua Muang District Phuket 83000, Thailand
Phone number: 076-354355

Websitehttp://www.blueelephant.com/phuket/
Open hours: 11 am – 12 midnight daily
Prices: You’ll probably spend about 800 – 1,500 THB per person

ที่อยู่ 96 ถนนกระบี่ อำเภอเมือง ภูเก็ต
โทร. 076-354355
เปิดบริการทุกวัน 11.00 – 24.00 น.

*NOTE: I was doing a separate freelance photo project for Blue Elephant, and after I finished the owner of the restaurant invited us to eat and chose the dishes for us. So due to the circumstances, the kindness of the owner of Blue Elephant Phuket gave us our meal for free. I didn’t pay for this meal, but I was not expected to write this review – but I wanted to on my own because the food was excellent. All thoughts and photos are my own.

15 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Shashi Vig

    5 years ago

    I am coming with my family of 10 members to Phuket on 31 July . Visiting Blue elephant for a meal is on our agenda. We had eaten in BKK restaurant n the taste is still in my mouth!!

  • Joe

    5 years ago

    Hi Mark,
    Again i have to say thank you very much for all your great work.
    I was at the Blue Elefant phuket almost every single day for lunch and it really was some of the best thaifood I ever tried!!
    The shrimp, catfish salad was so good and really Special for me..:-)
    The seafood was really fresh and really best quality all the time.

    The staff there was so nice, as was the Chef sombat/tiger!
    Really nice person who owned a nice small Restaurant called sitnee in phuket town.
    You have to Check it out the next time!;-)
    I had one of the best, no the! best pad thai there ever!
    And i met some nice guy from pakistan there called Eddy , he told me to pass greetings to you! :–)
    And one advice from me to you, i read that you like suhsi a little bit..:)
    Everytime I am in Bangkok I try as much als new japanese Restaurants as possible….
    So here is my absolute favorite one, the mugendai at helixx beside em quartier!
    Be prepared that its high Class and Not cheap at all but well worth it!
    The chu toro nigiri Is by far one of my favorite in all Bangkok, and they put a lot more of the expensive Tuna on it than others do!
    Also there wagyu sushi ( and waygue with big shrimp)is awesome, so is there toro maki roll, with so much chopped tuna on top, you have to see it to believe it!..:-)
    Thank you !

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Hey Joe, awesome to hear from you, thank you for sharing. Glad you enjoyed Blue Elephant, that is a wonderful restaurant, and they use such good quality ingredients. Thank you for the recommendation for Japanese food in Bangkok, will have to try that out when I have a chance. Oh, cool you met Eddy too!

  • Alex

    6 years ago

    Hi Mark,
    Just back from my Phuket trip. We your recommendation to dine at the Blue Elephant to celebrate my uncle’s 80th birthday. It did not disappoint us one bit. The atmoshere, service and the food takes Thai cuisine to the next level. The bill was high by Thai standards but it was worth every baht.
    Thank you for your recommendation. Your description of individual dishes were spot on. Unfortunately the Khao Yam has been taken off the menu.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hi Alex, great to hear from you, and glad you enjoyed your meal at the Blue Elephant. Hmm, ok I will look into that, thanks for the heads up. Glad you had a nice time in Thailand as well!

  • Kitti

    6 years ago

    There is Blue Elephant Restaurant very close to Surasak BTS station too.

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hey Kitti, yes I’ve seen the one in Bangkok, but never been there. Have you?

  • Jules

    6 years ago

    Hi Mark,

    Love the videos. Just a suggestion, when you go to the market why not bring your own bags (cloth or recycled materials) instead of getting plastic bags. So much better for our environment.

    JRC

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hi Jules, thank you for reading and for the suggestion. When I’m back home I try to, but it’s challenging when traveling, but thanks for the push, I will try to do better.

  • John Rupcich

    6 years ago

    Hi Mark,

    I really wish to thank you for such a fabulous review and supporting pictures of this restaurant in Phuket.
    I have not yet tried this restaurant but it has been on my radar.
    After reading your review it will now be on the top of my list.

    Have shared this on all my social sites.

    Very very nice.

    John Rupcich

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Hi John, you’re welcome, thank you very much for reading and glad you enjoyed it, thank you for sharing as well. They serve some really high quality food, and some rare to find dishes. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Neil Mitchell

    6 years ago

    Nicely done Mark! So THAT’s Blue Elephant….I have a friend who’s been prodding me to go to this place for one of their cooking lesson sessions. It looks like a beautiful spot. Your description of the food and the pictures of the dishes were awesome…..it all looked SO good. I gotta go lay down…

    • Mark Wiens

      6 years ago

      Thanks Neil, yah I was also impressed, great food and quality and amazing atmosphere. I’m hoping to check out the Bangkok location as well.

  • Ashley

    6 years ago

    This meal sounds amazing! I’m now dying to try khao yam, and your description of gaeng boo bai chaplu kab sen mee sounds incredibly delicious!