Category Archives: Bars, restaurants and coffee shops

Toby’s coffee and brunch in Thong Lo, Bangkok

DO NOT walk from the BTS – that’s a rookie mistake.

On Google maps the distance looked way too short for a motorbike taxi, so a thirty-minute walk later we arrived hot and moist. We got to see how pretty Soi 38 is though: there were very few cars or in fact even people, there were fenced private properties with nice gardens, and stunning new developments. Before our destination there were actually a few more coffee places that looked very promising.

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It was a nice Saturday afternoon and we were about to meet a friend who texted us:”I’m there. Waiting for a table”. Whaaat? It’s either a coincidence or the place is THAT good, we thought. Toby’s has been featured on BK Magazine; I don’t know the criteria to be picked for their site, but it is a real boost for businesses in Bangkok. As many others, we wouldn’t have known about it otherwise.Toby's Bangkok

We ordered the “Smashed Avocado”, which was delicious! It was a lightly toasted sourdough bread with some gently seasoned avocado and a poached egg on top. Roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh tender leaf salad were also gorgeous – all the flavours and textures were perfectly paired as you can guess. The sad part was that I only had one bite as Auste “Hulk” Treciakauskaite ate the whole plate. It’s supposed to come with chorizo, but they were happy enough to cater for vegetarians, and it was still good.

Toby's Bangkok

The crafty lattes were silky smooth, and my guess is that they used proper full-fat milk as they were very creamy, without any of the coffee bitterness you get from many other places. Auste loves them, and I prefer the more roasty ones. The cake display was very tempting, as always is, but every item seemed to be different: bacon donuts, flourless chocolate cake, and the one I tried I forgot the name of. But it was like a chocolate chip sticky toffee caramel nutty datey “walk the plank” (is that it’s name??) pudding thing. It was sweet, but not overwhelming, and it had everything you can ask for in a dessert (except peanut butter!). Price-wise it was on the high end, but it’s Thong Lo.

Toby's Bangkok

The exterior was very pleasing to the eye. It looked like a modern Norwegian terrace with red brick walls, brown wooden tiles reflecting the setting sun, and the tall grass moving to the gentle sea breeze. There was no sea though, just a humid downtown BKK waft. The interior was just what you’d expect from such place: high ceiling with hanging lamps, white walls with tiny plant inceptions, brand new wooden furniture and cosy seats with pillows.

All in all, we had a typical IG-friendly experience, but for me the most different part was the outdoor area giving a definite non-BKK feel.

Toby's Bangkok

Bella Rocca Emquartier: high quality, vegetarian-friendly restaurant

We were working at home since early morning on Saturday, and with the evening slowly approaching I couldn’t bare having stayed indoors all day. Auste on the other hand didn’t mind, but I convinced her to go to town and checkout the Kinokunya bookshop in Emquartier. It’s been a while since we owned, or actually even read proper books. By the way the bookshop is huge, with thousands upon thousands of English publications of all genres, including hundreds of magazines. Most books cost 400-700 baht, which is really good for over-taxed imports!

We weren’t supposed to eat, but let’s just say somebody (the missus) didn’t eat her fruit before leaving home… (Sorry luv!) We took a stroll up to the Vertical Food Street, just one level above the pretty gardens. Some years ago we used to feel a bit awkward looking at the menus at restaurant entrances and walking away. Nowadays we just flip through the pages scanning for anything vegetarian, and go to the next one. It’s hard work when you’re hungry. We had already had an Asian meal and coffee that day, so we wanted something different.

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The food street goes in a spiral, so we scanned literally every non-Asian menu and ended up right at the top. Total possible eateries: 4. Our choice was very much influenced by the number of vegetarian options on the menu, not even considering “possible” ones where we would ask for certain ingredients to be replaced.

Our experience:

The atmosphere was definitely sophisticated, with a modern-vintage décor. The spacious layout with a spiral staircase, large glass carboys strapped in wooden frames, and wooden wine racks with hundreds of bottles on display. High-ceiling with dimmed lights resembled of an outdoor space which allowed to experience an element of privacy.

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We were seated right under a bright light which made it impractical to take photos of the gorgeous food, but it didn’t affect the eating experience. The wine menu was perhaps 5 pages long, with around 9 wines available by the glass. We went for Shiraz and Chianti, both of which were full-bodied, came in big beautiful glasses, and cost around 250-280 each. Bottled wines were at around the 1,200-1,900 mark. Bottled water was only 30 baht!The menu had lots of dishes to choose from, like pastas, pizzas, ravioli and risottos which all ranged from 280 to 480 baht. Main courses (all non-veg) ranged from 480 to 2,000+ so it definitely covers variety of budgets. You can download the menu from their website here (opens in new tab). The prices indicated do not include a 10 % service charge and a 7 % govt. tax, which will be applied to your bill, as advised on the menu.

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Right after we ordered our food, the waiters delivered complimentary bread with tomatoes, and tomato sauce. It was so fresh and moreish, it even felt like a healthy snack. The potato gratin wasn’t available, so we were offered potato skins, which were basically oven-baked wedges. Auste enjoyed them, but for me they lacked just a tiny bit of taste.

The dishes came at the same time, and they both were delightful. The spinach and ricotta ravioli in truffle cream sauce were just as we imagined – creamy, yet not too heavy, with melting-in-the-mouth truffle goodness. Very tasty. The pizza Margherita was of a decent size, with tons of mozzarella and an appetising tomato sauce covering a slightly charred crust. There was a lot of cheese, but it didn’t overtake the flavour of the gorgeous thin-base.

Overall we had a very good experience with everything: interior, staff, and prices. Simply fresh, tasty and high-quality food. We loved it and we can’t wait to go there again!

Casa Lapin x49 café at Thong Lo, Bangkok

BK Asia-city describes Casa Lapin x49 as “a gorgeous and thoughtful place well worth a visit, from the chic daybed out front to the lofty ceiling inside.” However we’re indecisive whether we’ll come back there again. Maybe we just had a less fortunate experience compared to other places we’ve been to.

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Even though it’s relatively close to Thong Lo BTS (Soi 49, opposite Samitivej Hospital), it’s too hot to walk in the heat. We took motorcycle taxis from the end of the street: I paid 20 baht, and Auste paid 30, but just because the driver drove past the hospital and had to drive back.

The coffee shop, which is also a bar/brunch spot, is actually easy to find, and sits on a quiet little alley off the main road. There are lots of potted plants outside the entrance, which feels like entering a cosy garden at your aunt’s or something. If it wasn’t for the plants, it wouldn’t be as lovely, as both the interior and exterior are mainly concrete and wood, with hanging warehouse-style lamps, and dominant dark colours.

Casa Lapin cafe tong lo

It was pretty dim inside, which made us sleepy, and everyone else around us seemed sleepy too. Usually we don’t mind the music too much, but it was just a weird sound-noise mixtape, and after a while it started to get irritating. The sleepy customers, dark colours with dim lighting, and monotonous music in the background created a strange hangover ambience. 

They do serve beer, as well as food – I saw someone having a meaty dish with eggs, which reminded me of British cuisine. The cake selection was rather poor, and they weren’t special in any way (it was the first time I was struggling to finish a piece of cake!). We had an apple tart, which was a tad dry, and a carrot cake, which was very sweet with an artificial aftertaste. They also had a chocolate cake and a cheesecake. They were like 120-140 baht each. Coffee was 90-100 each, which isn’t bad at all for Thong Lo.

Casa Lapin cafe tong lo

The coffee was good, including its presentation. We didn’t want to get too caffeinated, so we went for single-shot drinks (you can choose one shot, two shots, or iced). The caramel macchiato was very nice, however it would have been better enjoyed without having the cake, as it was sweet enough on its own.

After 30 minutes the music kind of got on our nerves and we moved to outside seating. Interestingly, as soon as we did, the music changed to some chilled-out deep house tunes and felt much easier on our ears. To be fair, the outside seats are much cosier with plenty of light and plants. However, the fan outside was loud AND there was a strong glue smell in the air, as if some furniture was being fixed next door. To top it off, some tired Thai couple sat down next to us and started smoking, so the little lounge area outdoor was soon filled with smoke.

Casa Lapin cafe bangkok

Our verdict:

The coffee is good and the outside lounge is cosy however, the interior inside, even though modern and tasteful, reminds more of a bar than a cafe. The cakes were definitely unimpressive (not sure about the cheesecake and chocolate cake though, they could be amazing, you never know). As for food there were no veggie options, so we didn’t try anything. I guess it’s a nice spot to hang out after a rough night, maybe have a beer or a fry-up and chat to friends. That’s not what we go to coffee shops for though… We were both unable to neither relax, nor do any work on our laptops. We felt like we wanted to leave as soon as we finished the cakes, and we did…

There are plenty of coffee places in the same area, like Rocket coffee bar, Starbucks, Blue Cup Coffee, including numerous interesting-looking ones right next to “Grease”.

 

 

Unfashion café – a cosy coffee shop in Ekamai, Bangkok

When you live in Bangkok, you realise how many places there are to visit and things to do. It was an ordinary day at work – no deadlines, no stress, no hassle. I wanted to keep the chilled-out mood for the rest of the day, so Auste and I decided to relax at some nice café in Bangkok. Where we live there are only Thai home-style eateries, so most people wear track pants and flip-flops. However, we felt like hanging out in western places, or just hip spots in the city centre which would give us an excuse to dress a bit smarter!

We got on the BTS and started surfing through BK Asia-city reviews. It’s an awesome site where you’ll find the latest reviews of bars, clubs, restaurants, places to visit, etc. Many foreigners follow either Coconuts Bangkok or BK Asia-city, and these are also two of my favourite social platforms for Bangkok news.

unfashion cafe ekamai bangkok

So we got off at Ekamai and went down Sukhumvit Soi 63. It was getting dark and all the lights and cars passing by were just pretty. We strolled along the main road investigating literally every single shop we walked past. There were plenty of nice cafés, massage places, restaurants, local shops, Big C, even an INDEX living shopping complex… but at around Soi 10 some vintage shoes on display caught my eye, and then I saw a coffee machine, and some cake stands, and that was it – our coffee shop. The shoes were from ‘Unfashion vintage’ shop, and the coffee shop is called ‘Unfashion café’.

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The exterior reminded us of a huge American trailer car, or some kind of a converted barn. The red bricks and lightbulb display name did give a vintage feel to it. The interior was even more striking. Once we entered, it felt like we were in some kind of straw-bale house, or a cozy trailer home. The cake selection was very tempting, as was the coffee menu. We ordered a latte, some kind of Viennese coffee (dark coffee with whipped cream – this was just so so), and a strawberry latte, which was the best of all three. The prices were around 60-70 baht for hot coffee, and just over 100 baht for cakes, which is good for Bangkok. And, they were delicious! The mixed berry pie reminded us of stayovers at our friends’ eating home-made pies, and the cheesecake was quality too!

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The seats looked like converted beds with mattresses, and I think they were! It was very comfy with the pillows, not too cold, the music was modern and very suitable for work. All in all – an amazing café with a very relaxing atmosphere (it does feel like you’re at somebody’s home!) and they stay open until 20:30.

unfashion cafe ekamai bangkok