Sep 30 2011
Eatable bread in the land of rice can be a hit or a miss. Well, mostly a miss. I set out on a mission to figure out why bread in Bangkok was just so bad, and if there were any bakeries that fit the exception. My first question went unanswered (I’m thinking it has something to do with rice and the fact that Thailand has never having been colonised), but in pursuit of my second, I found a few bakeries that definitely defied the norm, and fulfilled my wildest carbohydrate dreams.
Bangkok Bread Boys
I had heard of the mysterious Bangkok Bread Boys from a friend, and imagined an army of men dressed like the Pillsbury dough boy, passing out loaves of bread from tuk tuk down to tourists on Sukhumvit. When I arranged to meet them, I discovered “Bangkok Bread Boys” is just one boy, or a man rather: Chris Palethorpe, a former photographer from Australia. “I made it plural to make it sound bigger than it is,” he explains, sheepishly. Chris had barely opened an oven before coming to Bangkok, but he was unemployed and looking for a hobby to keep his spirits up. “There’s no bread culture here,” he says, “so I thought it would be good to start making my own.” Self-taught and working out of his home kitchen, Chris now bakes more than 100 loaves of bread a week, all by hand. He started with his wife’s small office in the UN, and now serves 250 customers. “I now introduce people in the UN to her,” he says, laughing. His baked goods, ranging from soy & linseed bread to toasted muesli, are all made-to-order to insure freshness and avoid waste. He used to wake up at four in the morning and bake until two, hopping on the BTS to deliver the 30 loaves of bread himself, but recently hired a deliveryman who can drop off fresh loaves just in time for tea.
Grottino Swiss Restaurant
No one does banking… and bread better than the Swiss. Grottino is a multi-purpose institution: a haven of baked goods, an all-day fondue party, and a questionable guesthouse. When I asked to see the menu, it came in the form of a three-ring binder, which had the width and weight of 20 years worth of laminated tax returns. Inside, Grotinno promises a lot to their customers: Heidelberg rye, rustico, st. galler, and multigrain bread (45-100 baht), and anything from quiches to Christmas cookies. Orders are requested 24 hours in advance, though a limited selection of baked goods is available at the counter. Come early in the morning, as supply runs out fast and the flaky croissants will inevitably be stale by the evening.
9/10 Sukhumvit Soi 19
T: (02) 651 1075
Orders can be placed online at www.thailandonlineshop.net, over the phone or in store.
Open 07:00–23:00 daily
If you have a sudden craving for some French-inspired, Japanese-run, and Bangkok-based baked goods, Le Blanc is your place. First try the French baguette (45 baht), a beautiful marriage between a crunchy outside and deliciously fluffy interior. If you are willing to venture further, bite into the soft brioche roll, or delight in a custard-infused almond Danish (65 bht). Le Blanc offers a cosy dining area and cinnamon sprinkled cappuccinos to complement your pastry or bread.
15 Sukhumvit Soi 39
BTS: Phrom Pong
Open 8:00-18:30 Monday-Friday, 8:00-17:00 Saturday, closed Sunday
T:(02) 259 4353
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