Lounge, eat, drink, repeat
Do you enjoy really good coffee? A robust cup of northern Thai Arabica is readily available all over Bangkok, but sometimes a taste of Guatemala, Kenya or Brazil is in order. Located off Sukhumvit Road, Kuppa is a high-end coffee shop and restaurant that offers an array of house-roasted gourmet beans from several continents. Throw in some savouries and baked goods served in a comfy lounge and Kuppa is indeed a step above the average Bangkok coffee shop — but is it worth the hefty prices?
Kuppa takes the whole “intimate coffee shop” idea and throws it out one of the wall-size windows. A downstairs seating area has sturdy tables that could comfortably seat four professional basketball players, all set around a large circular bar area. Along the sides of this huge air-conditioned room are semi-private lounges with couches, love seats and cushioned chairs set around coffee tables with plenty of space for larger groups. Such roominess is refreshing after Bangkok’s cramped footpaths, and the dim lamps and dark hardwoods lend a classic coffee shop feel.
Additional seating is found on an upstairs balcony that’s a good choice for a private lunch. Out back is a separate white tablecloth restaurant with a full bar, and there’s even a full service spa in a separate building, just in case you fancy an oil massage with that espresso.
Complete with sacks of beans piled high, the actual coffee shop is tucked off to one corner and staffed by an expert who can send you home with a freshly roasted pouch or two. All take-home coffees go for between 75 and 270 baht per 100 grams, and Kuppa can also deliver to your door. They provide coffee to many of Bangkok’s high-end hotels and restaurants.
The house brew is a blend of northern Thai and imported Arabica that fetches a hefty 120 baht for an espresso or long black, or 150 for a cappuccino or latte. We tried the house long black, and while it was perfectly brewed and obviously of a high quality, we kicked ourselves afterwards for not shelling out the extra 30 baht for something different, such as the Papua New Guinea, Guatemala Volcan, Indian Monsooned Malabar or “Kuppa Prestige”, a 50/50 blend of Kenyan and Colombian.
Along with teas, fresh juices and shakes, Kuppa also offers a small but well thought out selection of wine, champagne and cocktails. Both the lychee martini and the blend of grapes, ginger, passion fruit, fresh lime and vodka known as the Rich Dog caught our attention, but the atmosphere is perhaps more suited to a classic Bloody Mary or Kir Royale along with brunch. House wines go for 250 baht per glass or 995 for a bottle, while most cocktails will set you back 295 baht.
Much more than just a coffee shop and bar, Kuppa boasts an extensive food menu that aims to satisfy anyone and everyone. Breakfasts include eggs benedict or French toast with real Canadian maple syrup, both for 195 baht and served all day. For lunch, you might start with a large salad (160 to 295 baht) or port wine duck liver parfait appetiser (265 baht) before moving on to a Penang curry pot pie (150 baht) or Hoisin crispy duck pizza (250 baht).
If those selections sound too daring, classics like mushroom quiche and margherita pizza are also available along with Thai staples like som tam, muu yang (grilled pork) and krapao kai (chicken stir-fry with chillies, garlic and holy basil) in the 120 to 200 baht range. For a dinner splurge, the squid ink fettucine with salmon (420 baht) or Australian ribeye steak (1,050 baht) should do the trick. We took a pass on the display of house-made baked goodies, but they sure did look enticing.
For our modest lunch, we ordered the chicken avocado sandwich for 160 baht. Served club style on a wooden slab along with a small side salad with balsamic dressing, the big hunks of avocado and sun-dried tomato hit the spot. The small amount of chicken however was a little chewy, and the thin wholewheat bread that looked and tasted very similar to what you can buy at Tops Supermarket for 30 baht per loaf was nothing to write home about. We may have been overly critical after waiting more than 30 minutes for the sandwich to arrive even though the place was almost empty.
While Kuppa’s spacious atmosphere and outstanding coffee selection are tough to match in Bangkok, the high prices will make it a once-in-a-while splurge for most; a coffee, sandwich and small bottled water cost us 400 baht including tax and automatic 10% service charge. This is certainly a fine choice for groups with varied tastes and money to spend, but for a great everyday brew and tasty food at reasonable prices, we’ll stick to M Coffee a few stops up the Skytrain line.
To get here, take the BTS to Asok station and follow signs towards exits 3, 4 and 6. Continue past these exits along the elevated sky walk and take the last stairway on the right after crossing over the major intersection where Ratchadaphisek Road meets Sukhumvit. Walk straight at the end of the stairs and take an immediate left on to Ratchadaphisek. Continue for a couple hundred metres and take a left on to Sukhumvit Soi 16. Kuppa is another few hundred metres down on the left, directly across from Avenue Bistro in the heart of this upscale neighbourhood.
Address: 39 Soi Sukhumvit 16, Bangkok
T: (02 259 1954 , (026) 630 4504
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º33'40.33" E, 13º43'49.34" N
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David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
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