Cafe Hopper Reflection: Time should catch up!

My church service today was a rather different one! Slow moving songs, mixed of traditional hymns and contemporary worship songs. Somehow I love the mixed of slow moving songs and the overall cathedral atmosphere…. It gives a very quiet and peaceful feeling…absence of the majestic pipe organ and the great choir…just something simple…piano and the voices! I am thankful for such a service today! Sometimes God speaks to us through soft, moving songs.

As usual, my church service always doesn’t ends with the benediction! For me, I would usually spend an hour or so of alone time at the nearest Starbucks! I guess sometimes you just need to slow down and let time catch up with us! So often we are always catching up with time and always grumbling of no time or so little time. The way to deal with this is really to slow down and let time catch up with us! This time round I even ordered things out of my norm! I gave up my usual grande latte and went for the plain and simple Cafe Americano or simply said… Black coffee or kopi O! Normally I would order pastries and stuff … This time just sandwich! And of course I need to feed my mind too… with Kinfolk! I love this easy-reading magazine! It’s really a good read for cafe hoppers like myself!

I took sometimes to listen to my own voice amidst all the jazzy music and a group of post-grads discussing about their assignment! Arghhhhh …. Seems like there must be work some how existing in cafe! You can imagine what a contrast I am from them… They reading thick and heavy research books and me… Kinfolk! Come on… It’s a Sunday…. Everyone deserves to be lazy!

Well… Time to sip the world away with my Cafe Americano… See you guys soon with my fourth cafe in Bangkok soon! Have a great Summer Day!

The gatekeeper!

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Cafe Hopper Review: Coffee Break at Li-bra-ry, Sukhumvit Soi 24

It’s quite easy to miss this cafe especially when both Sukhumvit Soi 24 and Soi 26 are filled with lots of great dining area and cafes as well. This very simple, Japanese style cafe can be easily left out. However, you really shouldn’t leave out this cafe. It’s pretty popular among the Japanese community in Bangkok and just looking the cafe from outside, you will have the feel of standing outside a Japanese cafe in the street of Tokyo or Osaka. The furnitures are very typically Japanese and the light wood grains give patron a very relaxing and natural feel as you step into the cafe premise.

You certainly won’t have the library feel but there is a big shelf full of magazines and books for those who need to feed their minds a little. For me, it suffices to just sit in a corner and look out to the full window, seeing the people passing by. I ordered their iced black tea latte, salad and chocolate donut serve in those bamboo dim sum tray. I love how the food is being presented and the salad I must say is fresh and crunchy. It also has a little twist of Japanese taste. Black tea is rather ordinary but definitely satisfying especially when the weather out there is extremely hot during this season. You really can’t ask for too complicated cuisine when the cafe seems to pride itself of simplicity.

The cafe is spacious and thus give patrons enough space to chill out and gossip the world away. There is a upper deck which offers greater privacy. This is something that cafes in Singapore are not able to provide given our expensive land space and extorting landlords. With more space you certainly can create more cosy corners for customers who really come here to get a little personal space away from the hassle and buzzle of city life.

If you happen be in Bangkok, drop by this cafe and experience a piece of quiet and serenity in the busy city of life, Bangkok.

The gatekeeper

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Cafe Hopper Review: Karmakamet Diner @ Sukhumvit Soi 24

This was an arduous find for me. It took me two days, two tries to find the cafe. Eventually it was through another Thai cafe hopper friend that I found the cafe. It’s really quite tuck in at one corner of Sukhumvit Soi 24, definitely not within sight. The trick is, hit Emporium Hotel at BTS Prom Phong, check with the hotel staff where is Karmakamet Diner, they will direct you to this beautifully crafted cafe. Of course, now that I know, I won’t need to hit the hotel anymore, but still thankful for them to direct me to this place.

Once you entered the compound of the cafe, you will have straightaway experience the rustic feel. The grounds are cemented with pebbles and the you will feel like the cafe is situated in some mountain area. Stepping into the cafe itself, you will be greeted with a aromatic smell of herbs and spices. There is a corner in the cafe that sell Karmakamet’s own aromatherapy products. You will also see herbs and spices being planted all over the cafe to bring out the nature feel of the place. Of course, the woody furnishing also adds on to the nature feel. In short, I have simply fallen in love to this haven right smack in Sukhumvit area.

I ordered the ice black coffee and Gravlax Salad recommended by my Thai cafe hopper friend. He said this is a must try. When I received the salad, I can understand why it’s a must try. It has pretty expensive ingredients in it, like fish roe and caviar. The greens are very fresh as well and the overall outlook of the dish is gorgeously decorated. Just looking at the salad would have up your appetite for more. The black coffee is pretty ordinary but I guess their strength seems to be in their variety of cocktails and mocktails. However, it was too early in huge morning and I really don’t wish to have cocktail. I gave it a miss but will come back again for the cocktail one day.

I sat there for a good one hour or more and I felt good just chilling out there and enjoying the aromatic smell of herbs and spices. I took lots of photos here and even a selfie to share with my readers that I visited this cafe haven in Bangkok. This is a must-visit for passionate cafe hopper and you will appreciate more if you experience the arduous find for it.

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Cafe Hopper Review: Casa Lapin x26 @ Sukhumvit Soi 26

I took a very short trip to Bangkok for a very short semi-business trip so decided to do a little cafe hopping here. I have been wanting to visit Casa Lapin all this while, especially seeing many of my Thai friends enjoying their chillax there. I want to be seen there as well. How can a cafe hopper not been to the holyland of Thai cafe scene. It wasn’t a difficult find, just alight at BTS Prom Phong and head towards Soi 26 you will certainly not miss this beautifully crafted cafe.

I was there very early and was the first customer of that day…unfortunately there is no discount for first comer! I was so captured by the overall decor of the cafe. The cafe has a homely, country feel. Rustic texture and with all the dried flowers hanging on the wall, it gives you a very unique therapeutic feel. You just wish to sit there the whole day and lazing the hours away!

I ordered a cup of latte and their chocolate tart. Well, I ordered the tart because it has the Casa Lapin label on it. Casa Lapin comes from a French term meaning house rabbits. I am not exactly sure what that means really. Managed to chat with two of the staffs at the cafe and found out that Casa Lapin is owned by several partners and they came together to create this cafe wonder in Bangkok! One of the partners even own the flower shop just besides the cafe.

I wasn’t sure how long I stayed in the cafe. However it really feels like time stopped for a long duration. Well reality being reality… I had to move on to my next appointment. Casa Lapin is a must visit if you are keen about cafe scene in Bangkok or Thailand. They have three outlets in Bangkok and Soi 26 is the largest one in size!

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Cafe Hopper Review: Flee Away Cafe @ Dunlop Street ( Exclusive interview with the Boss)

We arranged for the interview via social media and got the time and date fixed via emails. Cool indeed! Flee Away Cafe was in the pipeline of my blog entry and I was just waiting for the right moment to request for an interview with the boss. Thanks to the boss’ great hospitality, I was able to arrange for an interview quite smoothly. I wanted to go down by public transport but seeing the heat outside, I decided to go there by cab to avoid getting drenched by my own perspiration.

I was very scared of a disappointment when I arrived at the doorstep of the cafe. I prayed to Almighty God that this better be something good. I stepped into the cafe and for a short moment I thought that I was going to do a quick interview and hop on to the next cafe. Thank God that Ling had another guest before me and while waiting for her to round up with her guest, I sat down for a while and surveyed the cafe surrounding. The first thought that came to my mind was that a lot of hearts and souls have been put into making this cafe real. The very little items they put up and even the chairs and especially the service table….I could imagine all the dialogues and all the discussions the partners had before seeing them there in the cafe.

Let’s hear from Ling, one of the founding partners of Flee Away Cafe…and understand the thoughts behind the cafe. Please note that this is not a word-for-word transcript of the interview and I certainly hope that I am covering the gist of it here.

Interview with Ling:

1. How did the cafe all started?
[The cafe is a partnership of a few friends, who decided to come together to do something crazy and venture into new arena. It’s our crazy idea. We are all from the F&B industry but mainly of restaurants and background management. One day, we just decided to buy this crazy idea of setting a cafe!]

2. Why “Flee Away” Cafe?
[We wanted to give our customers a feeling of getting away from work, family and social stresses and all the different demands of life. Basically, we want Flee Away Cafe to be a place where people can chill out. So a ‘fleepee’ is an escapee, a person who flees away from the hum drums of life, even if monentarily. We hope that this place can give our customers a homely feel.]

3. What do you think people want to flee away from?
[I think people mainly want to flee away from the mundane of work. There is this secret wish in everyone of us to escape to somewhere. I have that secret wish too.]

4. In your opinion, based on your F&B experience, what makes a good cafe?
[Passion in the things you are selling is very important. I am very proud of Le Char Kuey and I want to get as many people as possible to try this new innovation by our chef and team of staff. As mentioned, we want Flee Away to be a chillax place for people. That’s the fundamental function of a cafe. We want to give them a homely feel and not commercial. I love vintage stuff. I believe that for many, childhood experience is happy and thinking back about our childhood makes us happy as well. Thus in Flee Away, every item that we put in we hope to evoke that kind of nostalgic feeling, happy feeling among our customers. At least that’s what I think happiness is.]

5. What are some of the challenges you are facing as a cafe owner?
[The first challenge is staffing. It’s not easy to get good and reliable staff. I am thankful that I have a team of very good staff to help me up. I appreciate their effort. The second challenge I think is getting our customers to try our food and accept our food. For instant, Le Char Kuey. I want people to give it a try. I believe it is good and so I want them to try. Even if they don’t think it’s good, try it and give us feedbacks and we will improve on it. So I think these are the greatest challenges I face for now.]

6. How do you want Flee Away to move on from here?
[We are working on take away counter for the working people here. We hope to be able to have customers taking Le Char Kuey home. We also wish to set up a second cafe. Don’t think we will want it to have the same concept or same name. We want to develop different personality and characters for each cafe.]

7. What stands out for Flee Away?
[It has to be Le Char Kuey!]

Cafe Hopper: Thanks for your time. Really appreciate you accepting the interview. Thanks for your treat to Le Char Kuey!

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Cafe Hopper Review: One Man Coffee @ Upper Thomson

A few friends decided on this cafe after a very formal function! Too formal and too hot…so we definitely need to chillax somewhere! We decided on this particular one! We were pretty lucky to be able to find a place for the three of us and a good corner some more! I find the concept of this cafe interesting…. There are two food outlet here co-existing in the same shop space! One Man Coffee would operate from 10am to 5pm…. And there is another pizza outlet, Crust, that functions later in the evening! However, if I am not wrong… They function concurrently! Not too sure, but just know that they con-exist! A brilliant idea for a country so limited by our land size!

I ordered a baby spinach salad and my friend ordered a set of French toast….which didn’t quite look like one also. I didn’t even know that’s a French toast until later when we were having satay at Chong Pang food center. The salad was crunchy and the baby spinach was very fresh! The salad dressing was sourish and yet not sour, sweet and yet not so sweet! It’s just the right concoction for me! I ordered my piccolo and still loving it.

Due to the limited space, the cafe can be pretty cramp when there is a crowd…there is also an alfresco seating at the side! Not too bad a cafe and it had a lot of personality! I love the old cabinet they have to display all the awesome looking cakes and other items to go with your coffee! A lot of potential and certainly a potential threat to Habitat Coffee nearby! Well, competition is good…. It will push both parties to improve on their stuff! Let’s see about it! Upper Thomson is becoming more and more exciting!

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