In my previous post, I shared how we can visit the hipster cafes recommended by travel/foodie blogs without breaking a sweat. That being said, some may argue that the experience was totally different.
As I had explained in that same post, the gastronomic experience should be the same, even though we’re having meals in a franchise outlet; if the food does not taste the same across the outlets, they would fail as a franchise.
However, most of the gripe stem from the fact that most Singaporeans want to have a different dining experience when they are out of Singapore. There is a whole range of shopping malls in Singapore, so why go and dine in shopping malls when in Bangkok?
Well, I have a sort of balanced solution here. This “mall” is nestled within the locality, far from a BTS station (you can choose to walk 30 minutes, which I did, or take a tuktuk), and is not air-conditioned (there is only 1 other non-airconditioned shopping mall in Singapore I can think of! lol). Yet, this place is comfortable enough for one to cafe-hop, and I actually quite liked the college-y vibe it gives to visitors.
Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce you, theCOMMONS (see, even the name is so hipster).
The nearest BTS is Thong Lo (can someone tell me if I’m crazy to actually pronounce it as 同乐?), which is a good 30-minutes’ stroll away. You can jump onto a tuktuk to get to theCOMMONS, but you will also miss the chance of slipping into another hipster cafe just off the road to escape the Bangkok heat. You choose.
My first objective was J Avenue, following Seth Lui’s recommendations. Unfortunately, that place was so uninspiring (except for the famous Greyhound Cafe and some high-end Japanese restaurant, the place was dead with tuition centres). Most important of all, it was not air-conditioned and the architecture was stifling (visually and with respect to the flow of air).
Thankfully, Seth Lui also recommended theCOMMONS, which also housed some of the highly recommended hipster cafes he mentioned. It was just around the corner from J Avenue and I loved the place immediately.
ROAST สาขา theCOMMONS
ROAST sits at the top of theCommons, overlooking the neighbourhood. Like D’ARK, it was a well-lit restaurant also known for serving gourmet coffee, except that N and I were not there for its coffee.
For mains, we ordered a pot of mussels and wedges to come with our cup of black coffee. I added on French Onion Soup which was not to N’s liking.
The mussels were fresh, though I must say the salty broth spoilt the whole experience. I usually like to finish off the broth by dipping in the baguette, but the broth was so salty I gave up halfway.
The French Onion Soup was more or less the same in terms of saltiness. The cheese-bread crust was crunchy and chewy enough and kept the soup super hot for a long while. If I had a choice, this soup should also be shared, rather than enjoyed alone.
As for the wedges (actually, it was labelled as fries), it tasted more like the sweet potato fries that McDonald’s once served. Those who know me knew I disliked the latter. Thankfully enough, that taste only emerged after the fries cooled down. My advice for those who are against sweet potato fries like me is to eat it while it’s still piping hot!
I totally loved the view the restaurant offered. The immediate surrounding was low-density housing, and one could see as far as the Makkasan MRT station (I didn’t see the station itself, but I knew I could see the buildings near it). Just outside of ROAST, there was a little garden-ish socialising area, which was also very insta-worthy. Note: this was not the only insta-worthy spot in the COMMONS.
I believe the design of theCOMMONS revolved around the theme of socialising. Everywhere, there were seats and chairs in open spaces. One can actually buy a take out and then have their meals at one of those spaces, people watching and enjoying the breeze that swept through the building once in a while.
One can spend a good 3 hours at theCOMMONS just having a meal, taking photos and dropping into one of the cafes for a cuppa. Alternatively, there’s still the famous Greyhound Cafe nearby for another meal.
For N and I, we decided to look for an outlet of After You just round the corner.
This outlet is hidden, off the main road, but is immediately recognisable with its distinctive sign. Although not as huge as its outlets in Siam Square or Terminal 21, this outlet offers a cosy experience, with both indoor and outdoor dining (by the way, who eats alfresco in Bangkok’s heat?).
The only thing N and I loved about After You was its Mango Sticky Rice Kakigori. Unlike the Thai Milk Tea Shaved Ice I recommended in the previous post, the ice of this kakigori was well-infused with the mango syrup (how they did it, I don’t know!). It was also equally exciting to dig through a (small) mountain of ice to find mango sticky rice buried underneath.
The only thing different on this visit was that we ordered Lavender Soda Fizz. My only verdict? I’m not a soda fizz person 🙂
As mentioned, if you choose to walk back to Thong Lo BTS, you can actually drop by one of the hipster cafes hidden in one of the stores lining the main road, which would be a great idea to break the monotony of walking in the heat for 30 minutes. At the end of the journey, you will find a huge store that sells fresh, sweet mangoes and mango sticky rice for take away. N bought a few mangoes back to Singapore (as a tribute to her highness his mum and testified that they remained sweet and juicy after the flight!