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Atmospheric Chomp Cafe is the place near Khao San Road for hearty vegetarian and meaty Western dishes served up with great music, an art gallery, weekly yoga classes, quality cocktails and air-con. Whether you’re after a serious feed or low-key conversation and drinks, Chomp is an excellent choice.
Some fantastic Western-style cafes are found in Sukhumvit and other pricy parts of Bangkok, but those staying around Khao San have long endured overpriced “Thai/Western” restaurants that usually water down the Thai and butcher the Western. In 2013, Chomp swooped to the rescue by offering well-done Western dishes with a creative flair and ambiance that will transport you to San Francisco or Melbourne.
Polished concrete, exposed brick, off-yellow paint and wall-size windows lend a modern edge to the roomy dining room that occupies the first floor of Chomp’s old teakwood house. Couches, rotating art exhibitions and occasional live music keep the creativity flowing upstairs. During our visit, the soundtrack ebbed from a funky Billy Jean remix to 1930s Harlem jazz and obscure Indy rock. With good cocktails and a few beers available, this is the perfect place for dinner and a bit of pre-gaming before moving a few doors down to Adhere the 13th Blues Bar.
And don’t be surprised if you find yourself back at Chomp for a hangover cure the next morning. More than a dozen breakfast options range from a massive English breakfast to less conventional choices like the “Shakshuka”, which the menu describes as “Middle Eastern-style pan-fried eggs with herby grated tomatoes, garlic and red onions finished off with cheese and served with herby bread”.
Those leaning towards the lunch end of brunch can choose from several large salads and “chompwiches” like “smoked salmon Benedictine”, “cheesy meat balls” and “roasted vegetables & peppered cream cheese”. Along with a wide range of sides, the young ones can be tricked into eating healthy thanks to fun kids’ menu items with names like “Traffic Lights” and “Green Eggs & Ham”.
Chomp offers loads of options for everyone from strict vegans to extreme meat lovers. Veggie dogs and mushroom-and-tofu burgers compete with spicy-chilli sausages and double-bacon beef burgers with cheese. In between you’ll find things like the Cajun chicken sandwich with grilled pineapple, with full-on dinner entrees including barbecued shrimp and filet mignon.
We tried out the pumpkin burger, a monstrous stack of handmade squash patty with feta cheese, lettuce, pickle and grilled tomato on a soft whole-wheat bun, all served on a thick slab of wood with chips and real Dijon mustard on the side. While the pumpkin patty was a bit bland at first bite, it livened up as we reached the tasty tomato and feta centre.
Chomp also offers a small selection of baked goods to go with an extensive coffee, tea and juice menu. We were expecting something special from the 95-baht espresso but found it average despite the French drip setup. Food and drinks arrived quick at lunchtime, though some have complained of slow service during the dinner rush. Prices range from 50 baht for sides up to 300 for the priciest entrees, with most breakfasts, burgers, sandwiches, pasta and salads falling somewhere in between. Portions are huge and you get what you pay for.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 21st June, 2014.