Pretty soon we are going to need to find somewhere to live. Well technically not ‘need’ more like ‘want’. Currently we live quite a way out of town. It is on the BTS which is convenient but we do want to try more central living even if it’s so we can take more advantage of things Bangkok has to offer during the week not just the weekends! I have made (apologies, it’s very crude) a bit of a map to give you some idea as to what I’m talking about!
Map courtesy of Google Maps
Having spoken to lots of people about potential areas and visited quite a few we think we want to be around Ekamai. It seems realistic that we will be able to get a nice 2 bedroom condo there within our budget, it’s between town and school for Dave and a stones throw from our favourite area of Thong Lo but with a more affordable price tag and from what we’ve heard it’s got lots going on in it’s own right. So on Sunday morning, we set out for a wander.
Wandering perhaps isn’t the best choice of word for walking in Bangkok; wandering suggests easy, pleasant meandering in a carefree fashion. I’m not sure I’ve actually ‘wandered’ anywhere in Bangkok. The pavements here are pretty terrible (if there are pavements at all); local councils would be bankrupt at home if their pavements were anything like these. Dave and I did joke yesterday that you would see so much more of the city if you weren’t constantly looking down to prevent yourself from breaking your ankle. Ekamai is a really green area with lots of trees, most of which appear to be in the pavements, I honestly don’t know how you’d cope if you had a pram or were disabled!
Anyway, I digress. The BTS to Ekamai from Bearing where we live currently and where school is situated is about 15 minutes so totally bearable for the evening return journey. Ekamai has some high rise developments but tends to have more low rise condos and some stunning private houses. We got off the BTS and walked down the main Soi away from Sukhumvit. There are lots of little bars and restaurants but you can tell there’s still more development to come. There is a big supermarket and a small mall which would make shopping a lot easier.
Up on Soi 10 we fell upon an intriguing little cafe in a really sweet little parade of shops. Called UnFashion Cafe, with an adjoining vintage shop and looking like it belonged in Brooklyn, NY, we had to go in. The cafe is really narrow but really cosy with snug little booths, exposed lighting and gorgeous comfy cushions, a fab place to wind away a few hours with some friends. The menu wasn’t extensive but it did have a wide range of teas and coffees, whilst the cakes on display looked ridiculously good and the smell of coffee made your mouth water.
Dave went for a caramel latte and a piece of chocolate cake, I chose a rose and peach Italian soda and a slice of New York cheesecake with strawberry compote. Both tasted homemade, the chocolate cake was gooey but light and the cheesecake was just scrummy. I didn’t get quite as much rose from my drink as I wanted but it was really refreshing and I would have it again. Dave thought the coffee was probably the best he’s had in Bangkok…now there’s a call!
We left the UnFashion cafe and continued up to Soi 12 where I had read about another cafe called Vanilla Garden. We walked down the soi passed quite a few little cafes and restaurants we made mental notes to come back to one day before arriving at Vanilla Garden. This is a cafe and bake shop set in a, yep you guessed it, lush garden! This is the fourth place in Bangkok I gather from the Japanese/Italian Vanilla Industry group and it really is worth a visit.
It was pretty busy as it was Sunday lunchtime but we were shown straight to a table in the bake shop. Everything on display in here looked appetising from the range of cakes to the just baked loaves, in hindsight it could be dangerous to the waistline to live in this area! Despite having had a cake half an hour before we felt obliged to have some lunch…Dave ordered the full English (it had a way nicer name than that but the menu was whipped away before I could take notes!), I opted for the Salmon gravlax open sandwich. The drinks coming out looked incredible, Dave went for a vanilla soda lemon concoction whilst I ordered the lychee blend as they are just my favourite thing! They arrived, presented just beautifully, as big as my face and tasting sublime.
The food was equally as well presented. Dave’s full English looked amazing and after trying a mouthful of everything I can wholeheartedly say it also tasted great. I really liked the garlicky mushroom spinach thing but Dave hates mushrooms so I had to eat it all! A particular mention has to go to the fried cheese bread for just being ace. The berry salad on the side was a nice touch too.
For some strange reason my sandwich took the longest time to come (Dave had actually finished) and I had probably eaten too much spinach as I only managed one half. It was very nice, filled with capers, onion, roe and cream cheese, and was just way too rich for my palette now, something I need to bear in mind for the future!
I would highly recommend visiting both these cafes, Vanilla Garden does ‘proper food’ whilst Un Fashion is great for coffee and cake. It was a really worthwhile morning as it has firmed up in our minds that Ekamai is an area we could happily live in. Next up will be the hard part of actually finding an apartment!