Bangkok Brunch: Chu chocolate bar and café

Having my own home, kitchen and not so crazy about food as in my fat days, I’ve been eating out a lot less.  However, don’t get me wrong, I still go out and enjoy good food.  Today my good friend recommended we go try this new place in town called “Chu: chocolate bar and café” as we wanted to have “Eggs benedict” and this place served breakfast all day long as well as a variety of chocolate drinks and desserts.  My favorite kind of place for a lazy weekend breakfast.

It’s still it’s soft opening, but it seems to have attracted quite a bit of clientele with its new space and great atmosphere.   It’s furnished fairly simply in an industrial style with open ceilings, cement floors and wooden tables.  Simple, yet comfortable and most importantly, spacious.   Something that is now harder and harder to find in Bangkok.  It has a lot of natural light which is great, even though there is no view.  There are seats for every kind of customer. If you just wanted dessert, there were soft sofas where you could rest, and if you were eating alone, there’s a high table with high chair where you can look out of the restaurant and people watch. Lovely.  A seat for everyone.

What about the food?  We ordered Eggs Benedict with Norwegian Salmon, Norwegian Scramble, Homemade Pancakes with blueberries, Chicken Ciabatta with pesto, walnut .  For dessert we had Lava cake and Chocolate con churros.  What a feast it was.  So what’s the verdict?  I think overall the food was average.  The ingredients were fresh, presentation beautiful, but taste wise it wasn’t the best place in town.  The Eggs Benedict were a bit disappointing.  I had expected the jumbo poached egg to just melt into the smoked salmon and sourdough muffin base when pierced, but instead the yolk was soft boiled.  I wanted runny eggs to just melt into the hollandaise sauce and permeate the smoked salmon and muffin.  That’s how I like it.  The sauce was okay, but I think there was slightly too little of it to offset the jumbo egg.

The Norwegian Scramble was good though.  I love anything with eggs and the scrambled eggs were a delight to eat.  Soft with mascarpone cheese and smoked salmon, it melted with each bite.  I just wished I had a little more of the scrambled eggs. Portions are not exactly on the large scale here, but good if you want to watch your waistline.

My favorite was the Homemade Pancakes.  I think it was probably the only dish to which I have nothing to comment on.   The texture was nice and fluffy, the fruits fresh and the maple syrup just lovely.  I enjoyed every bite.  Chu only provides you a little pot of syrup though, so if you are the type that loves to just drench your pancakes in maple syrup then you’d better ask for more.

The Pesto Chicken Ciabatta with Walnut Sandwich was okay.  I always like chicken and pesto so for me, it’s always a good choice to order.  It tasted great, but if you want to use fork and knife, it gets a bit hard to cut.  I ended up using my hands to eat the sandwich.

Dessert was chocolate lava cake and Chocolate con churros.  It’s okay, but I thought the lava cake slightly too sweet, the outside not soft and fluffy enough.  If you’ve had chocolate and churros in Spain, of course it’s no way as good as the original.  I miss San Gines in Madrid and wanted the Chocolate con Churros here to be like the one I had in Madrid, so was a bit disappointed at the small size of the churros and the chocolate that wasn’t liquid chocolate.  It could be from a different part of Spain, but helas I’ve only had the one in Madrid.

Service?  It was fast, friendly and efficient, but I was a bit surprised when one of the waiters did not speak Thai.  Hey, I’m in Thailand!  It was also a bit inconsistent. Before dessert, they cleared the dishes, but failed to finish clearing all of it.  Minor details which I am sure will be improved upon once the restaurant is fully opened.

Overall?  I still like the place and thoroughly enjoyed sitting there for almost three hours without feeling rushed.  The food was average, atmosphere pleasant and a great place for a lazy weekend breakfast with friends.  It’s great if you are indeed of a quick meal and are not necessarily in search of the best Eggs Benedict in town. Will I go there again?  Yes.  Location is great. Atmosphere lovely.

It’s at Asoke BTS, Exchange Tower 2nd Floor.  Convenient and you can even go walk around Terminal 21 afterwards to digest. Bon appetite!  https://www.facebook.com/CHU.BKK

Seating area
Seating area

IMG_8652 IMG_8648 IMG_8647 IMG_8644 IMG_8642 IMG_8641 Chu cute sofa corner Like their decor Chu brownies Chu seating view Chu menu Chu long table Chu menu Chu menu

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Bangkok Dining: Wine I love you @ CDC

Finally the weekend is here and what else is there to think about other than good food and good company?  (I, however, will be home resting since the flu has caught up on me and going around with my sore throat and stuffy nose is just not good).    Although my tastebuds are currently tasteless from the flu, I do have some craving for some sphaghetti and hamburgers which reminded me of this place I went to a few weekends ago.  It’s called “Wine I Love You” and is located at the CDC also known as Crystal Design Centre.
I have to admit, the last time I went to CDC was when it was just newly opened with few shops and hardly any people.  Now on weekends, it’s bustling and full of activity. Absolutely amazing.  With shops, comes restaurants and wanting to try something new, Alex and I decided to try out “Wine I Love You.”

The decor has a bistro kind of feel to it, and it reminds me of a wonderful hamburger place I went to in D.C.  I felt like I was living somewhere else other than Bangkok.   The decor was lovely, wine decorated the walls, and the high ceiling made it feel spacious.  The seating, however, was a bit uncomfortable.  Or maybe I just got one with a low table, but others seemed okay with it.   The music also seemed somewhat off with the place.  I would think that if they played jazz it would have been a better choice, but instead it was a mix of pop rock music.

Food?  They serve western dishes, from salads to spaghetti, sandwiches and even pizza.  We ordered the spaghetti carbonara and a lamb hamburger.  Yes, we were not on a diet.  It was a hot, humid day and we were both hungry.  Eat then exercise.  That’s what we do.  All exercise and no eating makes life no fun.

What did I think of the food?  The sphaghetti was delicious.  I loved the creamy texture and it wasn’t
too salty.  I finished the entire dish by myself, however, it was served with an extra egg yolk and after a few bites it started making the dish a bit too rich for me.  Definitely not something to eat if you are watching your cholesterol level.  If, however, you really enjoy the dish rich and creamy, this is the one for you.  The hamburger too was good.  Medium rare it was juicy, and served with large fries.  Not spectacular, but a satisfying hamburger.

I think the fact that service was extremely slow might have affected the overall experience.   It took a while for the spaghetti to arrive and the hamburger took what seemed a very long time to arrive.  We finished the spaghetti, sat and chatted, asked about our hamburger, and still it did not arrive.   The staff were cordial, thought we would have appreciated a little more attention or a little “sorry” considering how long it took for the food to arrive.

The price was reasonable for a nicely decorated fashionable place.  The two dishes amounted to a little less than 500thb.  Yes, its a great place to go chill and enjoy the ambiance if you are in no rush and do not mind waiting.  Perhaps the low table offers a good excuse to lean in to talk to the other person opposite you.  Perhaps at night it is a good place for drinks and wine.   I must go see it in the evening one day.

Bangkok Lunch Trip: Seafood at Rabienta-Le, Bangpu

It’s Friday evening and the weekend lies ahead.  When I get tired, when I need a holiday sometimes all it takes is a little day trip to revitalize the soul.  Just an hour outside of Bangkok and already it can make one feel relaxed. I see the big open sky high above me and somehow it dissolves away the hassles and tiredness of everyday life.  If you are wondering what to do this weekend, perhaps you can take a little trip to Bang pu (Bangpoo).  It’s actually only around 45 minutes away and a good place to just go have a good lunch and come back refreshed.

Bang pu is adjacent to Bangkok in Samut Prakarn province and lies southeast of Bangkok.  It borders on the Gulf of Thailand and that’s where its charm lies.  You can go have a nice meal by the gulf and it’s only an hour’s drive away.  A good place to escape the hassle and bustle of modern Bangkok.  A restaurant Alex and I tried and have since gone back is called “Rabiengta- Le” which literally translates to the “Sea Balcony.”

They have a few branches, but the one in Bangpu is located in a particularly nice location on the edge of the gulf.  You can therefore have lunch with a sea view.  It’s not beautiful (especially during the monsoons season when the waters are muddy), but its the sea and somehow that always makes things alright.  You get the breeze and the wide open space.  The mind clears up.

Rabiengta-le sells all kinds of seafood, but what I enjoy is always the basic dishes.  We ordered fish deep fried in fish sauce, prawn cakes, crab fried rice and soft shell crab fried with garlic.  Everything was delicious and fresh.  Hot off the stove.  Yes, together with just the two of us, we polished off enough food to feed five people.  The table next to us had around five people and they actually ordered roughly the same amount of food.  I even had their dessert of Sala in ice and syrup.  Definitely a good way to end the meal. It’s so refreshing.

The price was also very reasonable.  All that food came out to only around 700 thb ($23).  That’s not much compared to if we had the same kind of food in town.

An added benefit is the little walkway just in front of the restaurant.  You can walk around and sit on the bench looking out to sea. We loved it and will definitely go back there again.

Oh here’s their website:  Sadly it’s only in Thai.     http://www.rabiengta-le.com/

Bangkok Dining: Brunch at “The Horse Says Moooo”

This past weekend, my friends and I went to try out a new restaurant. Thanks to one of my dearest friends, who always seeks out wonderful new places, we get to try out new restaurants and eateries which aren’t located in hotels and department stores. Those are left for the days when you need a safe option. This weekend we went to a Restaurant and Winebar on Sukhumvit Soi 33 called “The Horse Says Moooo.”

It’s a strange name that really catches your attention and has everyone asking “What is the name again?” the first time they hear it. That was certainly my reaction. It is also a name that once you’ve heard it and been, it’s hard to forget. I definitely won’t be forgetting it anytime soon (which I suppose is what the owners must want.)

We went there for brunch, but they are also serve wine and beer and have live music in the evening so
the atmosphere must be quite different. It seems to be a restaurant of many “moods” depending upon the time of day. Perfect for a horse that needs variety. The brunch mood was calm, cosy and I felt like I was eating in a private room. It was Saturday so the brunch crowd wasn’t too big and there were only a couple tables while we ate there. I loved it and thought it perfect for alittle mini-reunion because then you are sure to hear the person opposite you whilst just relaxing and taking your time eating. You don’t need to feel pressured to vacate the table for the next person in line.

What about their food? Starters was Grandma’s original pancake with butter, honey and maple syrup(200thb). The pancakes were crispy on the edges and the middle soft.  Just the way I like it. Maple syrup is always good and they provide it in a jug so you can have as much as you want.

We ordered the all time favorite brunch food of Eggs Benedict (350thb). It came out beautifully arranged and equally tasty. I loved the freshly poached eggs and the salmon. My only wish was that we had a little more of the hollandaise sauce. I suppose I also am a bit of traditionalist. I am not too big a fan of the citrus in the sauce, but it was still good nevertheless. Yes, I will go there and eat it again.

Next was the corned beef hash with potato slices and fresh thyme (280thb). This was one of my favorite dishes. I think it’s because for me it’s like comfort food. It simple yet satisfying with corn beef and potatoes. I feel like that food critic in the animation “Ratatouille” that gets pleasure from a dish that reminds him of home. (The only difference for me is that I don’t eat beef hash at home, but it is someone like one of those comfort foods.)

Crab cake salad with lemon creme fraiche (250thb) came next. It was good and seemingly more healthy than the beef hash, but the amount of fresh crabs they put into the crab cake might be enough to make anyone with high cholesterol scared. It’s good a good scare though, I love crab cakes which are filled with crab meat. You really taste the flavor and biting into it is very satisfying. I also loved the fresh greens they put on top. It complements the crab cake well.

Our final main dish was Toad in the hole with yorkshire pudding, italian sausage and onion gravy (300thb). It’s a large portion so beware when ordering. I loved the sausage (yet I always do) and the pudding was great too. Though, I think my stomach was just a little too full from all the other delicious dishes to really appreciate it’s flavor. You will just have to go and try it yourself.

For dessert, we ordered the Raspberry Tiramisu. It was out of this world. I love raspberries. In fact I love anything berry so it’s always a delight for me to eat. I have to tell you though that here you really get a full satisfying serving so make sure you have enough space to eat it all.

The pictures and the writing is once again making me hungry so I shall have to say my farewell. I know not who the owners are, but I heard that the name comes from the years they were born. A group of friends with some born in the year of the horse and some in the year of the pig (which in Thai pronounced “moo”) Wonderfully original isn’t it?

It’s accessible by BTS Phromphong station (the same one as Emporium) and they have 4 hours parking at the UBC building at the beginning of Sukhumvit Soi 33. The restaurant is just a short walk and is located diagonally opposite Novotel Lotus hotel.

Oh here’s their contact info: Tel. 02-662-0402 Fax. 02-662-0402 Website: http://www.thehorsesaysmoooo.com they also have an FB page so check it out. I tried their website and seem to have trouble, but you might have better luck than me! Bon Appetit.

Old Bangkok Dining: Duck Noodles @ Nang Lerng Market

I’ve been up since 5.30am this morning.  I’m up this early not because I’m ill, nor do I have somewhere to go this early in the morning, but I’m up because I was so exhausted yesterday I came home and fell  flat on my bed at 9.30pm and a good eight hours later, I am up.  I have to say that I feel totally refreshed and alive once again.  Since it’s the weekend (and because I’m getting hungry) I thought I’d take you on a little trip to have duck noodles at an old Bangkok market.

If you’ve been following me since last year, you’d probably know how I love having noodles for lunch. I still do (though now I can also have them for dinner) and when I discover a noodle place that’s delicious, I just get all happy and giddy.  Today’s duck noodles is the one at Nang Lerng Market which is near to the Nang Lerng stadium where horse races are held.  It’s on the border between old Bangkok and modern Bangkok and not too far by taxi.  It’s around thirty minutes from Siam Square.

These noodles are legendary but I didn’t have the opportunity to go try it out, until one day Alex and I were both free and decided this was the place to go have lunch.  And so we went.  We got off in front of the Nang Lerng market on Nakorn Sawan Road and made our way across the zebra crossing.   Just waiting to cross, we were already tempted by the delicious aroma of grilled chicken sticks that were being grilled.  They had the “shell shuan shim” sign which is like a mark of approval and so we had to try it.  It was delicious. Juicy marinated grilled chicken. Comfort food.

Although the Nang Lerng market is one of Bangkok’s oldest fresh markets it is no longer wet nor dark and grimy as you might expect for something that’s been around over a hundred years.  The market has been renovated and now the shop houses are beautifully painted in pink and white and new tiles adorn the insides.  It also no longers functions as a fresh market but its stills are instead filled with ready made foods ranging from curries, noodles to an assortment of desserts.

The duck noodle place is just off from the main square and it occupies a shop house of itself.   Catering to the modern Bangkokian, they also have an airconditioned room which although is not as authentic, but it is a good place to rest from all the commotion and the hot Bangkok air.  I, of course, took the air-conditioned room, and all its coolness for a mere ten baht extra.

The walls of the room are lined with photos of all the famous people who have eaten here and a large sign with the “shell shuan shim” sign also adorns its wall telling me again that it is indeed delicious.  I ordered noodles with plain duck (no skins).  The noodles came fast and the portions are relatively large.  The soup was full of flavour and sent me to another level of happiness.  Liking meaty foods, the duck was indeed satisfying. Large pieces of duck filled my bowl.

If you like goose, they also serve goose cooked in earthen ware as well as fried duck and other delicous dishes.    They also do catering and deliver.  Something to note in case you ever find yourself in need of some delicious duck noodles.

My stomach’s growling now thinking of the duck noodles, and since I haven’t had breakfast I should get myself something to eat.   Have a good Saturday and if you happen to go try duck noodles, let me know how you like it!

Bangkok Dining: Buttercup @ Amari Residences

It’s been a busy few days for this writer but fear not, she has not forgotten Having “Me” Time.  It’s  has become a part of her life that can no longer be separated, for no matter how much there is to do, you must take time out to enjoy it a little, experience the moment, remember the little things in life.  One such way of course is to reunite with friends, chit chat, catch up on each others lives and all this while enjoying good food and good atmosphere. (Girls always like the nice ambiance)  Last weekend, I had the opportunity to explore this cafe and restaurant called “Buttercup.”

The name itself is so adorable it brings me back to my childhood days when you still ran around on the grass and got your hands dirty with dirt and flowers.    We’d play with buttercups (yes the real flowers) and put them under our chin to see if its beautiful shade of yellow would reflect onto our chin.  If it did, it was supposed to mean that your wish would come true (or something like that).  How wonderfully simple life was back then.

This cafe and restaurant was just as cute as it’s name.  I’ve always liked bright colours and this of course, to go with it’s name, this place was decorated in a beautiful shade of yellow.  Not too bright, not too orange, this was a nice soft yellow with a tinge of grey.  The minute you walk in, you feel relaxed.  I suppose the fact that it also borders on a beautiful lush green courtyard garden and the fact that it was raining the morning I went gave it all a more relaxed atmosphere.

There’s a table to greet with you a selection of scones, cookies and other little decorations.  There’s a large bookshelf cutely decorated that gives it a more homey atmosphere.  There are also plenty of magazines and newspapers for you to pick and choose.  If you want to check out the cakes, there is a large selection for you to choose from.

The seating is also quite nice.  You can sit on couches, normal dining tables as well as outdoors if you dare to brave the heat.  I suppose it would be a good place to come back in the winter months.  All the seats are comfortable so you can sit there and spend time with your friends for quite a few hours.

What’s on the  menu?  We tried chicken pot pie, spring rollls with ham and cheese, mini burgers,  fried chicken wings,  sphagetthi carbonara, spicy spaghetti with mushrooms and cake.  The food I thought was good and something you can come back again to.  It’s not out of this world delicious Michelin star level, but it’s a good everyday restaurant where you can come back again and again.  My favorite was the sphaghetti.  Both the carbonara and the spicy one were delicious.  Being a fan of pies and anything with puff pastry, I also liked the chicken pot pie.

Drinks and service? They had quite a selection of drinks from their own unique expresso with strawberry sauce (which my colleague tried), smoothies, and I had the green tea latte.  Now I’m particular about not having syrup with my drinks and always make a note to ask for it on the side.  In other restaurants, I might get a somewhat confused look from the waitress, but at Buttercup they understood my request.  A few minutes later, as desired, my green tea latte came with syrup on the side and no whip cream.  I have to tell you it’s a relief to not have to ask them to redo drinks.   Service at buttercup therefore gets top marks from me.  Everyone was friendly, food was on the slow side, but we spent the time chit chatting way, and they got the orders all correct.

So if you are looking out for a place to catch up with friends, reunions or just somewhere to go have a relaxing brunch on the weekends, I think Buttercup is really quite a little discovery. It’s quiet and there isn’t a buzz of people everywhere.   Oh the prices are also quite reasonable.  Most dishes range from around 180thb to 250thb.

Here’s their website:  www.buttercupbkk.com  They open from 9.00am to 8.00pm and their number is 02-319-9630 if you need to make a reservation.  Bon appetit!

Bangkok Must See: The Deck and the Temple of Dawn

In my previous post I took you to a little coffee shop that overlooks the river and has a majestic view of the Temple of Dawn.  If you aren’t too tired after the walk around the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, I suggest you make one more stop before you journey back to rest.  If it’s too hot and you have more days, come back another day to visit the Temple of Dawn.  It is indeed beautiful and one that should not be missed.

I wrote about my visit to the Temple of Dawn earlier last year, so check it out if you are interested 🙂 
( https://havingmetime.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/the-temple-of-dawn/)  It is a beautiful site indeed.

What I didn’t mention last year though was this little restaurant right opposite the Temple of Dawn called “The Deck”(which a friend kindly mentioned yesterday 🙂 Thank you.  It is located not too far from Vivi the Coffee Place and it too is part of a boutique hotel called Arun Residence (http://www.arunresidence.com/).  This hotel is so small it has only five bedrooms but it is indeed cosy and cute.  I’ve never seen the rooms so I can’t say how they are, but I have been to the restaurant more than a few times.   They have a stunning view of the temple and it’s somewhere I like to take my friends from abroad especially in the evenings or for a few drinks.  It’s unique and not like just another hotel bar where people go to “be seen.”  Here you go to “see” and to get in touch with your romantic side.  

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy hotel bars, but depending on the mood, the weather, sometimes I just want to be outdoors and at peace.

The food itself I thought was average, but there are a lot of people who like it.  I’m not sure if it’s the ambiance that makes it taste good or whether the fact that we are usually quite hungry when we get there.  I suppose you’d have to go taste the food for yourself 🙂  They serve both thai and western dishes like spaghetti and salads.   They have both indoor and outdoor seating, but the one with the best view is outdoor on the balcony.   There on the second floor you will having dinner opposite the Temple of Dawn with lights shining on all its glory.

Most nights, you’ll find couples out for a romantic dinner, but some days (like when I go) it’d be a slightly bigger group of friends out for a good time.  I discovered that its best to make a reservation before going, and if you want to take someone out on a date, make sure you ask for the table on the left of the balcony.  It offers a clearer view of the Temple 🙂  Oh, beware of mosquitoes.  I get bitten all the time but it doesn’t deter me from enjoying my time.

What you shouldn’t miss though is the little bar on the third floor.  The stairway up is small and not for those who are scared of heights,  but almost certainly a sound expressing delight will escape from anyone’s mouth when they first see the view.  I remember my first climb up.  I didn’t expect it to be so beautiful, but there was the temple, right opposite me with nothing but the sky between us. I immediately lost my heart to it.  On a clear evening, it is magical.  The dark sky, the soft sounds of the waves reflecting the light that illuminates the Temple of Dawn give it all a surreal feeling.

There are a few high tables and a little sofa where you can order a few drinks or coffee and just bathe in the glory of the Temple of Dawn.  The view itself is enough to make the trip worthwhile.  I wonder what it was like in the 1800’s. Without buildings nor electricity, it must have been a dark and mysterious presence looming over the river.  How I wish I could travel back in time…. Maybe I’ll go back for a visit soon if it doesn’t get too hot.