Jul 28 2013
Centrally located at the beginning of Sukhumvit Road, Cafe Bicycle is a bright and casual breakfast-and-lunch spot that opened at the tail end of 2012. Although it’s not-to-be-missed by cycling enthusiasts, the cafe is an excellent choice for anyone after wholesome food and social-environmental sustainability.
Like Cafe Velodome in Bangkok’s old city, Cafe Bicycle is run by a team of eco-conscious cycling enthusiasts. It has a a sizable bike rack out front and a portion of profits goes to providing bicycles to underprivileged kids in rural areas of Thailand; anyone in Bangkok who wishes to donate bicycles is encouraged to drop them off at Cafe Bicycle. While the cafe aims to be a centre for the city’s cycling culture, it caters to anyone and everyone.
The minimalist interior seems to have been inspired by a bicycle ride through crisp morning air. Wall-size windows bathe the air-conditioned space in natural light. A “chandelier” of bicycle tyres hangs from the ceiling. Light wood tables are spread over the ground floor, and a raised balcony is perfect for a semi-private meeting. If you prefer the open-air, a handful of tables are also set up streetside.
The cafe has an unpretentious vibe that draws a mix of local university students, office workers, expats and travellers. Table space is ample and it’s perfectly acceptable to kick back for as long as you like, but the cafe is also conducive for a quick meal. After placing orders directly at the counter, customers carry a numbered sign and prop it up on their table of choice, and orders are dropped off by the efficient English-speaking staff when they’re ready.
Those seeking a solid start to the day will find it in the form of eggs benedict (either classic or with smoked salmon), buttermilk pancakes, French toast, waffles and several varieties of omelettes. Breakfast is only served until 10:30 on weekdays but it runs until 15:00 on Saturday. Fresh-baked brownies and croissants are available until they run out. Beverages include fresh squeezed orange, guava or pineapple juice, fresh-fruit smoothies, quality Bluekoff northern Thai coffee, hot cocoa and tea. Singha and Beer Lao are also available.
While a handful of Thai staples are offered, the lunch menu focuses on healthy Western-style salads, sandwiches and pasta. About half of the total items are vegetarian. With names like “Live Well” and “Power House”, meal-size salads incorporate hard-to-find (at least in Bangkok) ingredients like smoked salmon, avocado, feta cheese, toasted almonds, grilled zucchini, beat root and roasted bell peppers. During our most recent visit, lobster bisque was the soup-of-the-day.
Classic and creative sandwiches include a “Roast Beef Reuben” with rosemary mayo, a “Lox and Rye” with cream cheese and tomatoes, and a vegetarian “Avocado and Pesto” on whole wheat. We’re partial to the “Mediterranean”, another veggie mix of roasted red peppers, tomatoes, black olives, a tasty olive oil based spread and big hunks of feta cheese stuffed between toasted slices of ciabatta. The bread is fresh, and unlike typically teeny Thai-style sandwiches, portions are hearty.
Cafe Bicycle’s breakfasts, salads and sandwiches really are excellent, and we don’t mean only “by Southeast Asia standards”. Given the freshness and quality of ingredients and the skill with which the food is prepared, these dishes could hold their own in New York or Sydney.
The best part: Cafe Bicycle offers stellar value for money. All dishes fetch between 120 and 190 baht and nothing goes for over 200. Although it lacks table service, wine, cocktails and the variety of coffee, Cafe Bicycle dishes out comparable (perhaps better) food at roughly half the price of Roast, Kuppa and other high-end Bangkok cafes. The atmosphere is equally pleasant and the location more convenient.
Cafe Bicycle is situated in the front of Mahatun Plaza, right next to Phloen Chit BTS skytrain station (see map). From inside the BTS station, take either exit 2 or 4 and then backtrack; you can’t miss the cafe’s classy brown frontage with white letters.
888/5-6 Phloenchit Road, Bangkok
T: (026) 515 188
BTS: Phloen Chit
Open: Mon-Fri 07:00-22:00; Sat 08:30-22:00; closed Sunday
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