Jun 02 2013
Vientiane has some of the best bakeries in Southeast Asia so there’s little difficulty finding fresh bread or tasty pastries — in French, Swedish or Indian varieties, just for starters. A recent addition to the bakery scene here is Common Grounds, which serves up the best Mexican meals in town as well as some great bakery items in very child-friendly surrounds.
The calibre of food here is more classy bistro than greasy spoon, so when you’ve had enough of noodle soup, you’re back from a big motorbike trip in the sticks, or just feel like a taste of something cheesey and doughy, this is a step up in style and delivers the goods. The drinks menu offers a variety of coffees, ranging from the standard cups of Joe to pumpkin-spiced lattes and icy frappes, at prices from 10,000 to 22,000 kip. Or try a fruit juice or smoothie, while you should know they serve perhaps the best lemonade (actually limeade) in Vientiane.
Cookies and muffins dominate the baked goods section, alongside cheesecakes with flavours like mango and apple-walnut, and a range of pastries, breads and pita all made in-house. Flour tortillas are a speciality here, served as sandwich wraps, burritos, enchiladas, tacos and chips. Standard breakfast fare and sandwiches are well worth a try, but the sandwich wraps and Mexican food are what distinguishes this cafe from its competitors. Breakfast and lunch dishes range from 22,000 to 32,000 kip, which is reasonable for what you get.
The breakfast burrito is yummy and filling, while the ‘hash’, a delicious scramble of eggs, veggies, potato and chorizo sausage, offers a lighter alternative. Meal sets are around 50,000 kip, including a main dish, side order of tortilla chips with salsa and a beverage. The beverage sizes are smaller than individually ordered drinks, although the friendly staff ensures that your water glass is never empty.
The chicken enchilada is highly recommended. Those in search of authentic Mexican cooking will not find that traditional taqueria flavour, but rather than being a poor imitation of Mexican cuisine (ahem… Tex Mex Alexia), Common Grounds serves well-seasoned Mexican dishes with gringo flair.
Bonus: Common Grounds is one of the most child-friendly places to eat in Vientiane. The shaded outdoor play area gives the kids plenty to do while parents take a break with some refreshment. With the play area at the back, the noise is not disruptive for patrons at the front, and for those seeking further respite, the upstairs room is quiet. For some fresh air, the patio out front has tables and chairs. With free WiFi as well, this joint ticks lots of boxes and attracts a range of customers.
35 Chao Anou
T: (020) 7872 7183
Open Mon-Sat 7:00-20:00, Monday-Saturday
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