Escape the crowds at hipster Ekkamai
Bangkok is famous for its eclectic cafe scene and notorious for its crazy weekend crowds. From the ever-popular ROAST at theCOMMONS to the well-established After You in Siam Paragon, queues and crowds tourists are to be expected if you intend to cafe-hop.
However, there’s one district yet to be hit by Bangkok’s typical hustle - Ekkamai. Much like Singapore’s hipster enclave Keong Saik, this residential area boasts much quieter streets, along with a treasure trove of quirky cafes and vintage shops. Here are 5 out-of-the-ordinary cafes to uncover while exploring Ekkamai’s peaceful laneways:
1. Featherstone Bistro - A fantastical cafe-boutique straight out of Diagon Alley
If you’ve ever wanted to teleport to Diagon Alley, your wish is about to come true. With its timeless facade, the enchanting Featherstone Bistro stands out amongst the shops on Ekkamai 12.
As you push through the swinging wooden doors into Featherstone’s boutique section, reality gets even more blurred. Its lifestyle shop is stocked with all kinds of vintage fashion accessories and trinkets - you’d half-expect an enchanted cloak or wand to come whizzing out at you.
The menu falls right in line with the ambience, with its signature elixir-like drinks accompanied by enigmatic names and descriptions.
Sparkling Apothecary Wild Gardenia (140++ Baht)
The Sparkling Apothecary Wild Gardenia (140 Baht, $5.70 SGD) comprises of a tall glass filled with flavored fruit-infused ice cubes, along with separate bottles of sparkling soda water and lavender syrup.
Pour the soda water in first, before adding the syrup. This violet-hued drink is refreshingly bright and bubbly, with a slight floral hint.
Cold Brew Ice Cube Latte (150++ Baht)
Featherstone’s Cold Brew Ice Cube Latte (150 Baht, $6.12 SGD) is coffee on a whole new level. This deconstructed drink comes with frozen espresso cubes accompanied by a bottle of chilled milk, which can be sweetened to taste with either liquid brown sugar or simple syrup.
Smooth with deep chocolate notes, and almost no acidity. For the coffee taste to comes through much stronger, wait a little for the espresso cubes to melt into the milk.
Address: 60 Ekkamai 12 Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Opening Hours: 10.30AM-10 PM, Daily
2. Steps with Theera - Allergy-friendly food for a good cause
Tucked away in the quiet residential area of Ekkamai 10 Alley, Steps with Theera requires a little more hunting down compared to the other cafes. But it’s all worth it. This homely cafe was opened by a lady whose passion for allergy-friendly eats was fuelled by her son, who has both autism and severe gluten allergy.
Theera’s entire menu is whole foods-based and can be customised to suit almost every dietary specification, from paleo to dairy-free. Additionally, the cafe serves as a training centre for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), offering them work experience and a warm community.
From the moment you step in, Steps with Theera immediately feels like home.
The space is cosy, with little touches of greenery here and there. You’ll see an entire wall filled with notes of encouragement from customers to the ASD staff, right beside a colorful mind-map that illustrates the cafe’s philosophy.
Theera’s provides a wide range of non-dairy drink options, including soy milk, oat milk, almond milk and so on.
For a not-so-common non-dairy coffee, try the Iced Latte with Rice Milk (110 Baht, $4.50 SGD). The rice milk adds a subtle creaminess and is less cloying compared to regular milk - allowing the coffee to shine as the star.
That said, it's the Thai Tea Soy Drink (90 Baht, $3.70 SGD) that steals the show. Soy milk adds a hint of sweetness to this robust milk tea, which is wonderfully creamy with a clean finish. Unlike with many tooth-achingly sweet Thai milk teas, there’s no sugar added at all, making the smoky Thai tea flavors extra punchy.
Truly, Thai milk tea #goals.
For hearty meal to kickstart the day, the Fish Pie with Sweet Potato Mash (225 Baht, $9.18 SGD) is a comforting order. The fluffy baked sweet potato layer hides a creamy mix of diced carrots, spinach and soft sweet onions, along with generous chunks of white fish. It’s almost like eating a seafood chowder pot pie - equally tasty, and much better for you.
Theera’s Banana Protein Pancakes with Greek Yogurt, Almonds and Berries (225 Baht, $9.18 SGD) is just the thing if you always craves something sweet for breakfast. Golden pancakes, tart Greek yoghurt, buttery slivered almonds, and a homemade strawberry compote so addictive, you'll be craving for more.
One way to judge an all-day breakfast place is through the quality of their scrambled eggs - and Theera’s passes with flying colours. The Scramble with Sauteed Vegetables and Toast (220 Baht, $8.98 SGD) was perfectly creamy and well-seasoned, with flecks of herbs visible in the fluffy scrambled egg folds.
For less than $9 SGD, the portions are more than adequate. If you’d like a customised breakfast plate, there’s also the option to build your own breakfast from their list of sides.
Aside from brunch items, Theera’s churns their own dairy-free vegan ice cream, made with either soy or coconut milk.
TSL’s Recommendation: Their soy-based Cookie Dough Ice Cream (75 Baht, $3.05).
Address: 29/8 Charonmit, Ekkamai Soi 10, Sukhumvit 63, Klongtan Nua, Bangkok, 10110, Thailand
Opening Hours: 9AM-6PM, Daily
3. Vanilla Garden and Bakeshop - A rustic bakery-cafe hidden in a garden
Just around the corner from Featherstone Bistro lies Vanilla Garden. This multi-concept compound by the Vanilla Industry is hidden away in a lush garden space, and includes the Vanilla Cafe and Vanilla Bakeshop.
Vanilla Bakeshop offers both outdoor and indoor seating options - either cool tile-topped counters next to the open-concept bakery, or wooden benches squared off in its open-air courtyard.
At night, strings fairy lights turn on to transform the garden landscape.
Vanilla Bakeshop specialises in freshly-baked desserts and hot savory mains - all boldly printed out on an extensive newspaper-styled menu.
Although relatively pricey for a Bangkok cafe, the Orange Glazed Salmon with Quinoa (480 Baht, $19.60) is worth each penny. This dish comprises of a generous slab of pan-seared salmon, atop a quinoa salad mixed with a tangy yogurt-based marinade.
The crispy-skinned salmon remained melty-pink in the middle, with the citrusy-sweet orange sauce giving the oily fish a refreshing lift.
For dessert, the Dark Chocolate Self Saucing Cake with Vanilla Strawberry Parfait (385 Baht, $16.12 SGD) is a total knockout.
The huge pan of molten chocolate cake is super decadent and moist - fondant-like in terms of richness, with a potent hit of cocoa. A lighter milk chocolate sauce is pooled in the centre, with sweet banana slices and crisp blueberries lightening up this indulgent dessert.
A pot of vanilla gelato with hot strawberry compote and butter cookie crumble makes for the perfect antithesis - salty-sweet and creamy, with the right amount of fruity tartness.
Address: 53 Ekkamai 12, Sukhumvit 63 Rd., Klongton Nua, Vaddhana, Bangkok 10110
Opening Hours: 10AM-10PM, Daily
4. Beeston Cafe - Thai-inspired fusion food with industrial-chic vibes
Named after a small town in Nottingham, UK, Beeston Cafe was started by a group of friends who studied there. With a passion for food, cooking and coffee tying the founders together, Beeston Cafe serves as a physical representation of the memories they shared - all centred around delicious home-cooked food.
Beeston exudes strong industrial-chic vibes, with its exposed brick walls, concrete stairs and hanging lamps illuminating the space. Sunlight from the wide bay window and the little knick-knacks scattered around brighten up the spacious seating spaces.
Beeston’s Spiced Piri Piri Quarter Chicken (250 Baht, $10.20 SGD) is no typical chicken dish. Their signature dish puts a spunky local twist on fried chicken - with dried Thai chillies and a grounded crispy rice coating adding a spunky local twist.
Beeston’s Cheers Mate Cold Pressed Juice (125 Baht, $5.10 SGD) is a refreshing alternative to coffee.
A combination of red apple, carrot, beetroot and lime might sound sketchy at first - but it turned out deliciously addictive.
Address: 1/3-4 Sukhumvit 63 (Ekamai soi 2), Wattana 10110 Bangkok, Thailand
Opening Hours: 10AM-9PM, Daily
5. Nikko Cafe - minimalist Japanese cafe with pretty desserts
Parked along the stretch of cafes on Ekkamai 12, it's easy to mistake Nikko Cafe for a minimalistic residential home.
This Japanese Zen-inspired cafe is clean and minimalist in design - floor to ceiling windows and white walls, with organic touches from the honey wood shelving and woven lanterns. A gorgeous sunlit staircase leads from the sunlit ground floor to other seating spaces upstairs.
Nikko Cafe serves mainly Japanese-inspired plated desserts and drinks, from green tea parfaits to honey butter waffles. Their watercolor menu also includes savory options, such as omurice and Japanese bentos.
Nikko Cafe’s Matcha Frappe (160 Baht, $6.50 SGD) achieves the perfect balance of earthy and sweet. This whipped cream-topped drink has a very mild milky sweetness, with an initial hit of earthy matcha that doesn’t linger. Definitely better than the sugary chain-cafe renditions.
Nikko Cafe’s Vanilla Roll Cake with Vanilla Bean Gelato (215 Baht, $8.70 SGD) consists of Japanese cream roll and a scoop of house-made gelato, topped with cereal and sliced fruits.
Address: Ekkamai 12 30/18 Soi Charoen Chai Ekkamai 12, Bangkok
Opening Hours: 10AM-11.30PM, Daily
Explore Ekkamai’s Cafes
In terms of cafe-hopping opportunities, Ekkamai is the perfect mix of quirky and chill. All these places are situated not more than 10 minutes from each other - so head down with your BKK food buddies before the crowds take over!
This post was brought to you by Amazing Thailand.