The Blue Elephant decided to make the move, which it will do on 15 January 2012, because of the escalating cost of the rent at the Fulham site.
The move to a smaller 150-cover restaurant from the current 350-cover one will mean that many members of the original restaurant’s staff are to be made redundant, according to Blue Elephant executive director Sherin Alexander.
“The team will be from the existing Blue Elephant restaurant but we will not need all of the staff,” she told BigHospitality. “A lot of them have opted for voluntary redundancy packages. In the beginning we will just be using one floor and in the future we will open a fine dining area upstairs.
“Our preferred choice would have been to move to Mayfair. In central London you can’t go wrong, it’s a sure-win situation. We do have another restaurant in central London at the moment (La Porte Des Indes Indian restaurant in Marylebone), and we will continue to look for a second premises there.
“But we are not against looking into the rest of the UK for expansion as well.”
The new Blue Elephant restaurant
Because of its riverside location, the Blue Elephant in Imperial Wharf is hoping to become a Thai style River Cafe. It will offer a new menu and food concept, inspired by the Blue Elephant Bangkok and overseen by Nooror Somany, founder of the group. It will also be home to a cookery school run along the same lines as the company's two existing schools in Bangkok and Phuket.
Dishes will be divided into three distant sections:
- Thai Cooking of the Past , based on ancient recipes such as Massaman, a curry of lamb, dried spices in coconut milk, Thai sweet potatoes, roasted peanuts and cashew nuts.
- Thai Cuisine of Today, featuring classic Thai dishes such as the popular Tom Yam Koong, a spicy and sour tiger prawn consommé with Eryngi mushrooms from the Royal Project Farm.
- Thai Kitchen of Tomorrow, including chef Noroor's personal creation, a lightly seared French goose liver with Thai tamarind sauce
“Today everybody is interested in more than just having a meal,” added Alexander. They want to know about ingredients, they want to know about the tastes and spices that you use.
“The new Blue Elephant restaurant and its cookery school allows customers learn more and appreciate how to do the food, so it will definitely add more value.”