I was really happy to be invited to have lunch with the new British Ambassador last week at his private residence. This follows my tour of the new embassy in AIA Sathorn Tower a few months back. I find these informal meetings with ambassadors, and consular staff, very important to get to know each other and to let them know about concerns of the expat community. I share a number of social issues and concerns as them such as tourist safety, road safety, air quality and climate change, and of course, fair and equal treatment of foreigners living in Thailand. During lunch, we talked about ways we can work together to help the expat community.
Related Blog: A Chat with Mark Gooding, the British Ambassador
I didn’t post pictures of what we ate on social media and so quite a few people asked about this. So, if you are really interested, we had smoked duck and mango salad for the starters, seared red grouper with lemon butter sauce and vegetables for the main course, and lemon posset for dessert.
I cannot show you pictures of the inside of his residence, but I will say that it is much larger than I thought it would be. I think there is enough room to host a reception here for up to 40 people. Obviously not as many as what they were able to do in the past at the old residence, but you cannot beat the magnificent view that they have now.
The Former British Embassy
After eating lunch with the British Ambassador at his new private residence, I thought it would be a good idea to go and take a look at what has happened to the former residence on Ploenchit Road. I took the above photo about three years ago from the fifth floor of Central Embassy. The mall where I stood used to be the front lawn of the embassy. The remaining land was sold in 2018 for a record at the time of £420 million. It was bought by Central Group and its Hong Kong partner. At the time they said it would become a mixed-use project.
This is how the plot of land now looks three years later. To be honest, I thought there would be more progress by now. I am not sure why it is taking them so long. The War Memorial, which I will talk about in a future newsletter, was moved to the British Club. The Queen Victoria monument was sold as part of the deal. It will apparently be put back in place once the building has been completed. I am not sure where it is at the moment. I also heard a rumour that the former ambassador’s residence would also be reconstructed on site and be used for functions. But that seems very unlikely.