{ bkk } tealily cafe

"tea is a religion of the art of life"

i had made plans with a friend to meet up at the book store before we headed out for a cup of coffee/tea. when i finally found her in the quiet book store in the late afternoon, she had already picked out a book by okakura kakuzou.

-- the book of tea.  

i almost chuckled,"i didn't know you were very much into tea too."

she and coffee has a special relationship, one that i might define as inseparable bffs - it was almost mandatory that by her side, a cup of coffee, be it warm/cold/decaf/with milk/straight black is necessary.

but, there are a few exceptions to the rule.

for one, tealily cafe's matcha latte is understandably a compelling one.

"unsuspecting without expectations but not without anticipation" was promptly substituted by "cravings deliciously steeped with excitement" after my first introduction to tealily cafe. hence, the 'understandably compelling'

"with tea amused the evening,
with tea solaced the midnight,
and with tea welcomed the morning"

nestled hidden within sukhumvit, the small cafe embodies the term 'teahouse' quite literally. a home converted into cafe, the decor reflected an old rustic charm in its mismatched wooden tables and chairs, where the owner drew inspiration from her visits to japan.

a framed drawing of a japanese girl with cats seemed to mimic tealily cafe's owner and her adorable scottish fold, mochi-chan :)

the one year old kitten (most likely the boss of this place), #mochithecat has his own personality and a need for independence (or so he thinks) but is very playful and during his spare time outside of his naps, he partakes the role of a good host, entertaining the guests at the cafe.

it wasn't long before i warmed up to the pleasant and cheery cafe owner and also felt right at home with her friendly mom. (plus my dining companion has become friends with the family) after conversations with the owner, it was her unmistakably passion and heart for the craft that shone most brightly behind her gentle demeanor - from sourcing high quality ingredients from kyoto, japan to keeping customers on their toes with the anticipation of regularly new creations on the menu, translating her personal insights into japanese culture.

"each preparation of the leaves has its own individuality, 
its special affinity with water & heat, 
its own method of telling a story"

beverage :: iced houjicha latte (thb 135)

resembling the appearance of local thai iced coffee, the darker hue of the houjicha - roasted japanese green tea - distinguished itself from the layer of milk, begging to be mixed for the first sip. it was a resounding expression of forceful roasted fragrance that lightly scorched the tips of floral notes of the green tea, rounded by the milk and murmurs of light sweetness. it was the depth of the intricate flavors that left a deep impression - and a declaration that this will be the yardstick for all the other future iced houjicha lattes.

"perfection is everywhere if 
we only choose to recognize it"

beverage :: hot houjicha latte (thb 130)

its warmer counterpart served in a traditional mug, possessed a deeper, accentuated nuances that proclaimed its presence blatantly.  i crinkled my nose at i tasted the unexpected strength of houjicha. sip after sip, i mulled it over  --  and came to a conclusion: the cold version edges out the warm; it must be the balance of flavor notes it struck.

beverage :: iced matcha latte (thb 130)

unroasted, the floral fragrance of the japanese green tea charmed the tastebuds but with clarity and cleaner disposition, sweetened lightly by the milk. i can't remember my dining companion ordering any other drinks from tealily except for the matcha latte.

"tea is a work of art and 
needs a mastermind to bring out its noblest quality"

desserts :: goma dango | dango, roast white sesame, roast black sesame (thb 135)

i've noticed that the owner steps away and into the kitchen whenever customers places an order of dessert from the menu. desserts does take a little extra time to be served because of her devotion of churning out made-to-order desserts, served fresh and warm. dango, the japanese dumpling was warm and soft with a slight chewiness, contrasted texturally by the roasted sesame for nuttiness.

desserts :: matcha brownie | matcha brownie, whipping cream, matcha sauce (thb 125)

this brownie may bring joy to matcha enthusiasts; the comforting warmth of the moist brownie with the familiar japanese green tea flavors with a light sweetness was inviting, when paired with the whipped cream, lighten the whole affair - it exuded the coziness of a homemade dessert.

my friend revealed that the book of tea was more than just about tea but linked teaism to the aesthetic and cultural aspects of japanese life.

“teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful 
among the sordid facts of everyday existence. 
it inculcates purity and harmony, 
the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. 
it is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, 
as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible 
in this impossible thing we know as life.” 

if this is how tea is supposed to taste like, perhaps it's not a bad idea to learn a thing or two about life from the book of tea.

tldr // what sets tealily cafe apart is the owner's sensitivity to technique, ingredients and her passion to share her personal insight into japanese tea and culture. made to order desserts philosophy and excellent green tea lattes, both houjicha and matcha makes tealily cafe one of my favorite cafes in bangkok.

tealily cafe | location 
sukhumvit 39,
soi prommit,
bangkok,  thailand
{opens weekdays: 10:30am -6:30pm
weekends: 9:30am - 6:30pm} 

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.

kenny hills bakers, bukit tunku

the car turned into a street where parts of it were flanked by a corridor of trees. it was faintly reminiscent of the street in front of my home where i grew up in. while savoring the memories from my childhood, it was a little down the street when i spotted the petite cafe in the commercial row on the first floor of a dated apartment. 

the car was parked by the side of the quiet street just across the street. i found my way through the dark wooden tables and red metal chairs tucked under to get to the glass entrance of the petite cafe. on the left on the dark brick wall were stenciled in white: 

organic artisanal breads
patisserie coffee

as i opened the door, the espresso machine squealed as the barista was brewing a cup of coffee while i inhaled the aroma. the sights of golden flaky layers on pastries beckoned at me while artisanal breads nestled comfortably in wicker baskets and the plump, crumbly huge wedges of pies & quiches stood on pedestals under glass cake dome, enticing me closer.

"wow, i don't even know where to start..."

several minutes of ogling at the cornucopia of golden pastries and pondering my important bread choices in my head later, it was the specials on the mini chalkboard that finally caught my attention.

i wasn't half as devoted to my pick as i inched myself towards the selections of pastries again, pondering which ones would go home with me. as i browsed its menu board, the next board read:

please pay & pay
at the counter 
and we'll send 
your food to you. 
we accept cash only

"oh darn. cash only. this means.. this limits how much i can buy."

which i suppose was a good thing. or not i'd be hoarding a whole lot of pastries i just can't finish.

it was just enough space for my dining companion and i to stand comfortably in the compact lil' bakery - perhaps suffice for one additional person to join in the pastry party.

a lone diner reading his paper contently at the high industrial counter against the wall after his hearty meal. we quickly realized that we'd be taking the definition of cozy lunch way too literally if we were both sardined at the counter.

torn between a very snug lunch space but with the comforts of air conditioning and the outdoor dining where the blinding rays from the sun sneaked its way through the crevices of the wooden blinds which only highlighted the heat in the middle of the afternoon, we chose the latter after a quick contemplation. the heat was occasionally relieved by the wall fan and a cold glass of the cafe's house cooler.

house cooler :: fresh passion fruit with wild organic honey (rm 10)

the punch of tropical tartness intermingled with the whispers of natural floral honey's mild sweetness, chilling in a glassful of ice cubes, with droplets of water condensed on the glass in the warm temperatures. the passion fruit seeds rendered the straw almost pointless and after struggling for a few seconds, i took a sip straight from the glass and was surprised by the prominent tartness that begged for the addition of just a bit more honey. refreshing, nonetheless.

specials :: smoked salmon & avocado salsa s'wich | choice of croissant/bread (rm 21)

i picked up the top half of the shatter-crisp shell to unveil plump greens atop the light pinkish-orange slices of fresh smoked salmon, sprinkled with freshly cracked black pepper. i flipped the top half of  the croissant to discover soft buttery layers mimicking the honeycomb insides.

the fresh slices of the smoked salmon donned a light layer of saltiness but barely took on the smokey fragrance. the butter-like quality of the diced avocado and fresh tomatoes (akin to roughly chopped guacamole) was interjected by unripe pieces of avocado.

i frowned as i bit into one and thought, "this is a real bummer"

if not for that slight hitch, i'd say it was a pretty hearty sandwich.

brew black potion :: mocha (rm 12)

brew with a  bitter aftertaste - overdone. the cacao/chocolate - not present.

our sandwiches :: beef pastrami bagel | with mustard & gherkins (rm 21)

as i stared at the sandwich, it was as if the pastrami was taunting me like an emoticon with its tongue sticking out. i had to request a pinch of the pastrami from my dining companion (it wasn't my order) and the moist meat tasted lightly smoked with a good hint of spiced saltiness. my companion gave it an average but i guess it wasn't fair when it was compared with its counterparts from deli in nyc - it's  just no competition.

desserts :: lemon meringue pie (rm 12)

even in the midst of the many colorful sweets, my cravings called for a good ol' fashion lemon meringue. torched brown, the crown of meringue nestled upon the lemon curd that filled up the tart shell. it had all the elements and flavors but were a hint wonky in its delicate ratio - too sweet.

a more crumbly crust and a more sour disposition would have done the trick to win me over.

tldr // kenny hills bakers dishes out legit buttery tender breads and lovely pastries with a few minor snags. its coffee - hmm.. i think that needs a second opinion.

kenny hills bakers | location 
lot I-1A, taman tunku
bukit tunku
50480 kuala lumpur
{opens daily: 8am - 7pm} 

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.

{ bkk } bangkok coffee trending // v2.0

i flipped through my personal travel guide, making mental notes on the places i missed out the first time. 

it was just shy of 6 months since my first time. i was walking along the familiar quiet, tree-shaded alley, branching off from the busy and bustling main street as i walked towards my first weekend brunch  with my friend since i arrived in bangkok... again.

"oh, a new cafe just nearby! awesome..cos i'm really starving..."

my thoughts drifted just for a brief second - only half a year has passed but there were even more new cafes, trying to make a name for itself in this haven for coffee enthusiasts. 

after my first #bkkcaféhopping adventure (read here!), coffees and cafés were among the top things i was looking forward the most.

oh those and bagels...just mainly 'cos i've been craving for some good ones since i've returned from the US, which was several years ago....

.....so the craving was for  real

i snapped back to the present as we were led up to the second floor where the cafe's ambiance reflected a minimalist meet rustic with its warm, light wood hues blending in against the white brick wall; the space illuminated by the morning sunlight streaming in through the ceiling high, narrow bi-fold glass doors.

it was just one of the many cafes and hidden hole-in-the-wall local favorites i've tried as i checked them off my list. enthused doesn't begin to describe it. i've drunk way too much coffee and tea, tried the many desserts & brunches yet i am yearning to have more. 

i promise i will get to each one of them in separate posts as i try to devote the attention each of the eateries deserves, including the ones from the first series. no promises on the when though..

but first, the previews.

//1. brekkie.
organic brunch selections gravitating towards healthy.

//2. casa lapin x49.
a revisit to an old favorite for mocha. different location, same love.

//3. toby's.
a new kid on the block. rustic. cozy. classic french + new american brunch favorites.

//4. tealily's.
matcha & houjicha lattes mastered, close to perfection.

and of course the home of #mochithecat :)

//5. ceresia coffee.
a must have encore ofone of my favorite lattes.

//6. gallery drip cafe.
located in bangkok art and cultural center (bacc), an artistic with a touch of hipster stopover for an ice drip mocha.

//7. patisserie rosie.
delicately intricate desserts, flavors masterfully personified.

//8. d'ark.
another stopover - revisit for a teatime special. mini pastries + lattes.

//9. featherstone.
whimsy in its decor, faintly a la alice in wonderland.

//10. rocket.
the highlight: the d.i.y. hot chocolate. but caffeinated mocha was what i needed.

//11. warm wood cafe.
its name manifested in its decor, new american brunches with a twist.

//12. yellow spoon pastry.
quaint and simple cafe. my first canelé.
-- phenomenal.

full entries to follow soon after... i hope

having a foodie + coffee connoisseur friend who lives in bangkok is definitely a huge plus for me. and she's definitely have the formula down most of the time - delicious brunch and coffee with a punch.

even during my six-month-long absence after my first travels in the city, there were many new quaint and cozy cafés, offering a haven in their quaint, comfy space and their delicious renditions, seeking to find their spot in this ever evolving, exciting food scene in bangkok. so during your next visit, make time for a pit stop at these cafes for a quick cuppa or perhaps a sweet dessert or two, as you take a short break from your adventures, exploring this bustling city.

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.

-- apologies for the erratic entries. travel, life and work has taken over my life lately. and i've recently picked up online gaming again. but i will be striving to write a few entries on local eateries and some on bangkok in the next few weeks. 

dotty's pastries & coffee, ttdi

it felt like i opened the french doors to a cafe in london.

the pastries on display behind the glass window on the marble counter top flirted with me with its buttery flaky layers. i divided my attention between the whole breads on the shelves, with its name and price handwritten on brown tags to the detailing of the different spanish tiles on the kitchen wall that eventually phased into white ones. i stared quizzically at the bare cake stand that was labeled with "salted egg yolk cronut" - dotty's best seller and signature invention. 

streams of the morning light streamed through the large glass panes into the petite cafe with french inspired monochromatic floors filled with high table and chairs. a few tables were aligned against the brightly colored, cushioned bench that spanned against the royal blue walls.

we were seated at one of the tiny high table for two very close to the open kitchen at a spot away from main dining space. it almost felt we were sent for detention. i didn't understand dotty's preference for the high tables and without bag hooks, it meant bags had to go on the ground since there was just no space to spare on my petite high chair.

the open kitchen is where the cronut baking magic happens. bakers were hard at work carving out donut shaped pieces from thick sheets of pastries while another was frying them in hot oil.

"when will the cronuts be ready?" i queried the waitstaff.
"it should be ready at about 11am" 

that meant an hour and a half wait.

"we bake more than a hundred pieces so you don't have to worry about it running out. we will send one to you once it's ready" the waitstaff smiled when asked if i could reserve a coveted one when it got out of the kitchen.

and i thought in the meantime, why not coffee and other pastries before the main event? i opened the leather bound menu for brunch and sandwich options only to pick out coffee and to share two of the tempting pastries that probably had our names on them as soon as we stepped foot into the cafe.

specialty drinks :: mocha (rm 11)

a huge mug of mocha with dotty's emblazoned upon the coffee art made it to the table. the chocolate tipped the scales in its favor vs the faint coffee bitter notes with a strong milky finish. a decent cup of mocha but would have preferred a stronger chocolate-coffee combo against the milk.

off the shelf :: salmon & zucchini quiche (rm 12)

zucchini ribbons swirled in the golden egg custard, speckled with pieces of smoked salmon that filled out the lightly browned but slightly dense tart shell. the egg custard was soft but begged for some seasoning in bites where the smoked salmon was missing in action. an addition of a fresh herb could have brought that something special.

off the shelf :: butter croissant (rm 5)

breaking into the golden crispy crescent shaped revealed flaky layers but not without leaving a buttery trail on my fingers. the shell flaked into crumbs as i picked up my half and admired the honeycomb insides but with a slight chewiness. however, it felt like the butteriness piled with every bite that it got too greasy/rich. it came with a side of softened butter but tasted like margarine - firstly, don't need it; secondly, margarine is a no-no with croissants.

off the shelf :: salted egg yolk cronut (rm 11)

the genius invention dominique ansel that makes doughnut - croissant fans rejoice in glee.
this hybrid pastry wears layers like a croissant but is fried like a doughnut.

this was my first. and i was excited.

wearing a crown of golden glaze jeweled with sprinkles of salt, the doughnut shaped pastry had distinct layers as it would a croissant; it glistened slightly from the grease on layers. as i cut into the cronut, the golden lava oozed out generously. the thick custard was buttery rich with a more prominent sweet profile over salty but was disappointed by the weak flavors of the salted yolk richness. combine the two and there you have it: a richness overload that pushed my tastebuds to wave a white flag.

the greasiness from all the pastries finally caught up to me, prompting me to stop after my second bite. it was odd that it was so rich that i was craving for good ol' chinese food after that.

while that was my observation, i also have friends who loved the richness and the concepts it believes in - salted egg yolk. in fact, while we were there, a group of six diners grabbed one cronut each while my dining companion and i managed only half.

perhaps it is still best to try this coveted pastry for yourself to see which camp you belong to.

tldr // dotty's pastries & coffee is a european inspired petite cafe that churns out rich, buttery classics and a few interesting creations such as salted egg yolk cronuts that you may either love or hate but you'd have to try it out yourself. coffee was more milky than it was coffee strong.

dotty's pastries & coffee | location
20 jalan tun mohd fuad 2,
taman tun dr ismail
60000 kuala lumpur
{opens mon, wed - fri : 9am - 5pm;
weekends : 8am - 6pm}

disclaimer this is written based on personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.