Review: Café Calin @Eight Thonglor

My first review can’t possibly not be of Café Calin. If you’ve read my post On Coffee, you’d know what a coffee fanatic I am.

Now that I’ve re-read the above introduction, I realised it doesn’t make sense. Oops. Too lazy to change it though, so I’m just going to pretend this oversight never happened (got the pun?). This is she:

Looks like Paris. Feels like Paris.

Looks like Paris. Feels like Paris.

You know I really like an inanimate object (such as a restaurant) when I refer to it as a person. And Café Calin is a she. I’m not going to bother with the back story of the restaurant. I’m sure it has been covered elsewhere. Everyone I’ve talked to about the place seems to know it. So I’m going to assume it’s famous, do away with the who-what-when-where-why, and tell you my story of Calin.

I discovered this gem of a café some months ago when I was working in Thonglor. Café Calin is situated on the ground floor of Eight Thonglor, which is conveniently located just before Thonglor Soi 8 coming from Sukhumvit. How very aptly named. The café isn’t directly visible from the main road. Access is only through Eight Thonglor (though there’s service access from Soi 8 which I’m ever tempted to try. Just to see the waitresses’ face as a customer emerges from the service ladder). (Ok I lied about doing away with the where – sorry. In my defence it’s kinda crucial I tell you where it, sorry she, is. Urgh. Coherence.)

Why do I love her so? The coffee. I ordered coffee, and this is what arrived.

Colour-coded coffees. They have 7 by now and an 8th one is arriving soon. #Ishouldgetcommission

Colour-coded coffees. They have 7 by now and an 8th one is arriving soon. #Ishouldgetcommission

2013-11-26 08.31.45

Today was green coffee’s turn.

Not one, not two, but six. SIX coffees to choose from, which for a coffee enthusiast/fanatic/purist/[insert other noun indicating obsession] like me is coffee heaven. (In case you were wondering, yes I’ve tried all six. I won’t tell you which is my favourite. I guess you’ll have to try for yourself.)

Here’s a picture of a coffee.

Soon enough, I became a regular. The waitress seemed slightly (yet pleasantly… well, hopefully pleasantly) surprised when I showed up the next day. She probably didn’t think I was serious when I said “Oh it doesn’t matter too much which one I take today. I’m coming back every day until I’ve tried them all!”

This being a French café, they – of course – have pastries. I’ve tried their croissant and pain au chocolat so far, and though neither’s the best in the world, they both are quite decent (which is a lot coming from me – a.k.a. stuck-up girl who lived in Paris for a year and consequently thinks she’s the authority on all things French).

Freshly baked croissant and a pain au chocolat.

Freshly baked croissant and a pain au chocolat.

Fresh baguettes.

Fresh baguettes and home-made jams.

After coffee, the next best edible thing is the jam. They do home-made jams. I’ve tried both. One is good. The other heavenly. I’ll let you go try for yourself and see which you prefer. (The food also isn’t too bad – a bit pricey, as one would expect. Their lamb deserves special mention.)

Now, only coffee and jam don’t suffice to make this my favourite place in Bangkok. I’m harder to please (or so I’d like to think). What did it for me is the atmosphere. The café has a proper outdoor area, a sizeable balcony with lounge chairs and round marble-topped tables, with large overhung fans which effectively simulate the feel of a cool breeze (see below). I’m not sure how hot it gets in April, but every time I’ve been this year (October-December) I’ve been able to sit comfortably, and blissfully, outside. That the café doesn’t overlook the main street is probably a plus in this respect. Cars pass from time to time, but not nearly enough to make you feel distressed at having to inhale car fumes over your coffee.

Favourite outdoor corner in Bangkok so far.

Favourite outdoor corner in Bangkok so far.

To sum things up, and because I like bullet points, here are some bullet points.

Why I’d recommend this place:

  • the coffee: try out their selection of coffees – I recommend an americano, though some of their coffees are better suited to espressos. If in doubt, ask the waiter/waitress who brought you the box. They’re all pretty clued up.
  • the balcony: perfect for an afternoon read if you have some hours to kill
  • the staff: call me old-fashioned, but I believe the heart of the restaurant is its food and its service, equally. The staff I’ve come in contact with are quietly efficient, fast, and amiable. I wouldn’t ask for more.
  • they have tap water. And they ask if you want ice with your water. And they refill your glass when it’s empty.

Why you might not want to believe above recommendation:

  • the price: it’s expensive. Trying out all six of their coffees has been quite financially devastating. Though you could look at this another way: their coffees must be very good for me to financially incapacitate myself over them. (Or I might just be overly obsessed with coffee. Which clearly doesn’t sound as good. Which is why it’s in brackets.)

So that’s my very much biased review of Café Calin. For more information, do visit her Facebook page here. Have you been? Did you like it? Do share your thoughts.

And to end this first-ever review, I’d like to borrow some wise words from her menu. No plagiarism intended.

"Eat Well. Laugh Often. Love Abundantly."

“Eat Well. Laugh Often. Love Abundantly.”

Happy Sunday everyone!

Love,

Val

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