A new cafe-hopping district in Bangkok
We've covered ROAST at The COMMONS, IG-ed the heck out of the cotton-candy cloud dessert of Karmakarmet, and scoured the whole of Ekkamai - but what comes next?
If you're getting tired of rinsing and repeating your cafe-hopping agenda on every BKK getaway, these 6 gems are reason enough for us to make the quirky neighbourhood of Ari our next pitstop.
Puritan is really an enchanting sight to behold from the moment you lay eyes on its entrance.
Busts, sculptures, and even a fountain adorn the pathway to the cafe - what a way to set the mood!
Awash in overhanging vines and greenery amidst the backdrop of Greco-Roman furnishings, you'll feel as though you've been whisked away to B.C.E era, a place akin to some bizarre recreation of The Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
And as if the decoration and aesthetic of the place isn't eccentric enough, you have to remove your shoes before entering the cafe. The interior, on the other hand, is all chandeliers, pre-18th-century plush velvet chairs, marble table tops, suspended bird cages and even more paintings and sculptures.
Known for its Japanese-style cakes and specially curated, premium tea blends, go for a slice of their Blueberry Cheesecake (210 Baht, ~S$8.70) and Blackforest Cake (180 Baht, ~S$7.40).
And for a pot of tea that looks good on both on and off-screen, go for their Midnight Blue Tea (170 Baht, ~S$7) - a delicate blend of white tea with lavender, rosemary, and butterfly pea accents.
And if you’re thinking of getting a souvenir for the journey home, you can take their premium tea blends away in these pretty tins for 350 Baht (~S$14.50)
I dare you to tell me that this entrance doesn’t look like The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Address: 46/1 Soi Ari 5, Phahon Yothin Road, Samsen Nai Subdistrict, Phaya Thai District, Bangkok, Thailand
Opening Hours: Tue - Fri: 1-10PM, Sat - Sun: 11AM-10PM (Closed Mondays)
2. Casa Lapin x Ari
Just a couple of BTS stops down from our favourite weekend market, is the cosy hideaway that calls itself Casa Lapin x Ari. And while a quick Google search will reveal other sister outlets around the city, the upsized food menu and spacious industrial interior of this latest addition will make every bit of the journey there worthwhile.
Not only do they serve up silky, single origin brews and intricately layered tea concoctions, their brunch and dessert menu is every bit as photogenic as the cafe itself.
Left to right: Torrija Toast, White Chocolate Yoghurt
Image credit: Casa Lapin
They also routinely run flash discounts on their food and drink menu so keep an eye out for them on their Instagram page.
Note: The cafe is located in a condo AKA private residence but you can just tell the security guard you’re here to dine there if you’re asked.
Casa Lapin x Ari
Address: 8/2 Phahonyothin Rd, 1/F Noble Reform Condominium, Soi Phahon Yothin 7, Khwaeng Samsen Nai, Khet Phaya Thai, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
Opening Hours: 8.30AM-10PM, Daily
3. SA-TI Handcraft Coffee
SA-TI Handcraft Coffee is a cafe you're extremely likely to miss... This is because finding it alone takes you through a super long and narrow walkway that'll make you think you're walking straight into a construction area.
This is literally what it looks like from the doorway
But, get through the maze and it's truly a serendipitous discovery. Tucked behind a woodworking space and built to resemble a glasshouse, SA-TI is just the space for sun-seekers who can't stand dimly-lit interiors other cafes pride themselves on.
Specialising in nitro brewed coffee, you’ll find a whole list of intriguing drinks from Salted Yogurt Soda to Coconut Latte. We ordered their Iced Peanut Butter Latte and Iced Masala Chai Latte for 120 Baht (~S$4.95) each.
Image credit: ADayMagazine.com
And if the kick of caffeine isn't enough, SA-TI even offers its patrons a DIY bar complete with syrups ranging from Amphawa (Candy Smoke), Dusit (pandan), and even Phra Nakhon (tom yum) for you to take the intensity of your coffee up a notch.
They also sell small bites like Brownie Fudge (50 Baht, ~S$2) or a Blueberry Cheese Pie (90 Baht, ~S$3.70).
They even have a small terrace just beyond the glasshouse with a swing and a piano - yes, it’s operational - if you want to lounge alfresco-style.
Hand-crafted knick knacks from the neighbouring woodworking workshop, Made Here on Earth, are also available for sale.
SA-TI Handcraft Coffee
Address: 110/4 Soi Rama 6 Soi 30, Rama 6 Road, Samsennai Phayathai, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
Opening Hours: 8AM-8PM, Daily
4. DICE! Cafe
Comprising of 4-storeys plus a rooftop terrace, this next cafe is an eatery, board game hideout, co-working space, and event venue all rolled into one.
The first floor houses the cafe, where you can tuck into pastries like croissants and burgers.
1st Floor: Urban Cafe
If you’re game for some fun, head to the 2nd floor where you’ll be greeted by an extensive and overwhelming selection of board games for you and your crew to battle it out.
Want to try out something new, but just can’t make sense of the game manual? Just give any one of their staff members a shout and they’ll take you through the paces from start till finish.
Note: The board game room is open all the way until closing, so you can spend the entire day here. It costs 50 Baht (~S$2) per hour to play.
This was actually my virgin VR experience
More than just a board game cafe, DICE! Cafe takes things up a level with a dedicated playroom for console games and virtual reality (VR) gaming. Pick from games from a wide range of genres such as space and horror, or channel Katniss Everdeen with some VR archery!
Just prepare to fork out 500 Baht (~S$20) per hour for some VR action.
Address: 1/4 Soi Ari 2, Khwaeng Samsen Nai Khet Phaya Thai, 10400 Bangkok, Thailand
Opening Hours: 8AM-10PM, Daily
5. KAFFE by li - bra - ry
KAFFE by li - bra - ry sticks out like a sore thumb down the stretch of offices and banks dotting the road along which it's situated. Its two storeys are a welcome spot for anyone craving a quiet space to work or read.
Long tables right in front of the cashier at the first floor
The main cafe sits on the 1st floor, while the 2nd floor is for those seeking uninterrupted tranquillity with its filled bookshelf, tables equipped with charging points, and 3 hours of complimentary Wi-Fi.
The seating situation on the 2nd floor
Their signature dish to order is the li - bra - ry waffle (95 Baht, ~S$3.90), which has 4 matcha-flavoured waffle triangles positioned in the shape of a tower. To keep to the green theme, we ordered an Iced Green Americano (125 Baht, ~S$5.15), which was not matcha-laced coffee but actually green apple juice mixed with espresso.
Fair warning: It taste as strange as it sounds.
KAFFE by li - bra - ry
Address: 308/1 Thanon Phahon Yothin, Khwaeng Samsen Nai, Khet Phaya Thai, Bangkok 10400, Thailand (At Noble Space Ari)
Opening Hours: 9.30AM-8.30PM, Daily
Ari is chock full of themed eateries, and Raan-Keng is part of that list. And I doubt you'll find a Thai-Japanese fusion eatery as dedicated to a colour theme - blue - like this one.
Apart from a solidly blue exterior and interior, everything on the menu is also carefully pigmented to go with the theme.
We went with their Butterfly Pea Drink (29 Baht, ~S$1.20), Butterfly Pea Ebi Tempura (189 Baht, ~S$7.80), and Butterfly Pea Noodle Salad with Shrimp (139 Baht, ~S$5.70).
Here’s a close-up to show you how well and truly blue the noodles are!
As you’ve probably guessed by now, the blue comes from mixing butterfly pea flowers into the food. But you don’t have to worry about the taste not matching up to appearances, every dish we dug into packed a whole punch of flavour in every bite.
Not just that, Raan-Keng also scores top marks for atmosphere - fairy lights illuminate the driveway and yard leading up to the cafe giving the place an air of dreaminess, especially when night falls.
Address: 9 Kingchinda Alley, Soi Pradipat, Khwaeng Samsen Nai, Khet Phaya Thai, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
Opening Hours: 12-2PM & 6PM-12AM, Daily
Expand your BKK cafe checklist this 2018
So if you're looking for more cafes to conquer, take a pass on the much too frequented malls and night markets for this new up and coming locale - there’s really a bottomless chasm of treasures in BKK if you’re down for on-foot exploration and leaping out of your habitual hotspots.
This post was brought to you by Amazing Thailand.