Last year, I blogged about cafe hopping in Bangkok, a la my way. Bangkok has the most grueling weather, so I found the recommendations by other lifestyle bloggers moot, because their recommendations required one to walk around in the heat before reaching the venue. And because their recommendations are always all over Bangkok, if you decide to take Grab to visit all those cafes, the fares would cost you a bomb, cumulatively.
But even my recommendations last year was not enough for me, because they still required travelling in between BTS. Yes, I thought I could do better.
So with that in mind, I researched on cafes-to-go (mostly on Seth Lui’s site) and found equivalent outlets that exist in the same building.
This time around, N and I explored The EmQuartier which was off Phrom Pong BTS. In other words, one can reach the yummy places without breaking much sweat, since there was not much exposure to the elements as per my principle of enjoying life.
The spacious mall was quiet when we reached at its opening time of 11am, and remained rather void of headache-inducing crowds by mid-afternoon when we left. The same building housed outlets of some of the highly recommended eating places; I believe that food in franchise outlets taste mostly the same (they wouldn’t be franchise if the food quality differs greatly), so visiting these cafes/bistros within the same mall achieved my goals of visiting hippie cafes with the added comfort!
The mall was actually made up of 3 interconnected buildings (do not be fooled by the word “Quartier”, thinking it refers to “fours”). One of them was for plain shopping, while another was… I couldn’t quite grasp the theme. The last one was unique, in a sense that after you scaled about 5 stories of shops, you break out into an open atrium flooded by sunlight and surrounded by even more levels of shop spaces, except that these shops were mainly eating places.
To navigate these restaurants, one either climbs the spiraling ramp connecting all the shops, or take the escalators. Think Chinatown Point when trying to imagine how to navigate the space.
Located on the ground floor at the end of the hallway, this popular restaurant is the only recommendation I have that serves full meals. They have all-day breakfasts, desserts and, of course, gourmet coffee that they are known for.
We started our day here, and ordered the breakfast items to complement the coffee.
My first order was Squid Ink Pasta, since I am always a sucker for savoury food. Interestingly, the pasta was very much like Aglio Olio, except that the spices were so strong that I could not taste anything else. It was also strong enough to briefly numb my tongue.
Luckily, we also ordered Eggs Benedict and Pancakes. The eggs were super classical, being firm on the outside and runny on the inside. It was set on top of a bed of smoked bacon and toast, giving it a savoury taste mixed with silkiness of the half-cooked eggs.
The pancakes were also a great saving grace. Other than being fluffy, the accompanying dark chocolate sauce was creamy and silky, and it accentuated the buttery taste of the pancakes very well.
As for the coffee… As I mentioned in a post eons ago, I could only differentiate Robusta from Arabica beans; D’ARK serves Arabica coffee. The French Press Sumatra Mandeling tend towards being acidic, though that was all I could taste XP
Ambience wise, this restaurant goes with the dark, wooden theme, with open coffee bars and a long counter seating as a centre piece. As we were early, we got to choose to seat ourselves at the comfy sofa seats by the window. We could see an open performance space outside of the window and at that time of the day, performers testing out their sound systems could be heard. I assume when they start performing later in the day, it would give the place an even greater vibe for a gathering of friends.
Even though this is a good place for full-course meals, stick to the breakfast items.
Audrey Cafe’ des Fleurs
Audrey Cafe’ des Fleurs (translated to Cafe of Flowers) is situated on atrium mentioned earlier. As it is on the 8th floor, one may want to use the escalators instead of going round and round on the ramp for 3 stories.
The meal at D’ARK was rather filling, so we actually meant to have just desserts at Audrey’s. That being said, I saw guys on other tables having full meals too.
We ordered 2 simple items: Thai Milk Tea Crepe (their signature) and Flower Pot Cake (Dark Chocolate).
The crepe, drizzled over with Thai Milk Tea sauce, was chewy and soft at the same time. This is a classic example of how 2 un-attractive components can come together to make something good. I mean, without the sauce, the crepe was mostly tasteless; and the sauce could not be eaten on its own, since it would be a feat to try and drink a cup of greasy liquid. However, when put together, they complemented each other perfectly and created a unique gastronomic experience!
The Flower Pot Cakes can be seen and chosen from their display case at the storefront. They looked darn pretty and kids would definitely love it. Except that we would rather buy one to take pictures with, than to eat it. The whipped cream at the top was tooooooooo greasy that we abandoned it after a few bites. The cake itself was also very oily and tasteless. There was a core of dark chocolate (think Ben and Jerry’s ice cream), which sort of gave the cake its defining taste, but still could not salvage the item.
The ambience of the place definitely warrants an A+. One feels like dining in a garden; there was a greenhouse-like seating near the window, where one would be bathed in warm sunlight while being immersed in a garden ambience.
Just go for the Thai Milk Tea Crepe and a simple cup of coffee. Then, enjoy the decor while chatting with your friends.
We were super bloated by the time we left Audrey’s, and then I saw Fucheer and remembered that it was also one of the recommendations by Seth Lui. We decided to just give the ice-shaving dessert a try.
The cafe, or rather a kiosk, overlooked the inner atrium. We got a corner seat to enjoy the great spiraling plant sculpture hanging above the atrium. Since we were so full, we only ordered its signature: Thai Milk Tea Shaved Ice.
In layman’s term, it is a mountain of ice shaving, propped up by a bed of bread cubes and jelly/nata-de-coco, bathed in Thai Milk Tea. By the time we finished taking pictures of it, the goodness of milk tea had already flowed to the base and we were left with rather bland ice.
The trick is to dig through the ice and reach the yummy goodness at the bottom. There, you have the bread soaked with Thai Milk Tea. What was not absorbed by the bread was swarming with chewy bits of jelly.
The table of 4 beside us shared what N and I had, so naturally, we gave up halfway. To be frank, the jelly were not very calorifically worth it.
Just order the signature, sit down with a group of friends and chat away!