If you want to experience a true Thai institution, try the cakes at Coffee Beans by Dao. With royal connections this café has become the byword for desserts from their delicious cheesecakes to doughnuts. With four branches in central Bangkok you are never far away from a slice of sugary goodness. There are 70 varieties of cake at Coffee Beans by Dao - and with desserts as good as these only ordering one piece would be a shame.
The original branch is just near Ploen Chit BTS around five minutes’ walk down Soi Ruamrudee, on the right hand side from the skytrain station. Look for the large car park that includes Bacchus restaurant and Coffee Beans by Dao in the same square. There are also branches in Central World and Siam Paragon shopping malls, and on Ekkamai Soi 12.
This is a cafe that lets the food do the talking. The exterior is plain wood, with a blue sign in child-like bubble script. You can either sit outside on the narrow fan-cooled terrace, or join the crowds enjoying the air conditioned interior. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the cake display as you enter, which also serves as a takeaway counter. Lit up by crystal chandeliers and decorated in pale turquoise that is reminiscent of Tiffany's duck egg blue boxes, it showcases Dao’s exquisite cakes beautifully. The menu includes six pages of desserts, and although there is also a food menu, it is obvious that cake is what makes Coffee Bean’s loyal clientele return.
There are plenty of Thai favourites on the menu; green tea fresh cream cake offers a colourful taste of one of Asia's favourite drinks. Another local delicacy is crepe cake, and here there are two different varieties: vanilla with strawberry sauce or green tea with chocolate sauce. Cheesecakes include cookies and cream and a rich looking chocolate cheesecake decorated with a truffle. The team have also created a range of non-Thai desserts, including red velvet cake and colourful macaroons. If you are after something fruity, then there are also coconut and durian cakes on offer. The waiter recommended the carrot cake with a thick frosting and an intricate carrot iced on the top. Award for the most unusual coloured cake goes to the butterfly pea roll - bright blue with the delicate violet petals that looks too beautiful to be eaten.
There are a decent number of drinks to pick from as well. For something unusual try the sweetened red sorrel and Chinese date juice. It has a slightly sour aftertaste, the perfect accompaniment to those sweet treats. If you haven't already tried it, this is a great place to sample Thai iced tea, either with milk, lemon, or even mint. For those who want to keep the focus on the cakes there is a decent range of international teas and coffee.
This is a very Thai experience; on my last visit the café was full of ladies sharing a selection of treats, and families enjoying a slice after work. Cakes here are unlike those found in Europe or the USA, with a fluffier sponge and frequently incorporating fresh cream, but once you’ve had a bite, you’ll definitely be back for more.
Coffee Beans by Dao
- Opening Hours: 10:00 - 22:00 every day
- Tel: Ruamrudee: 0-2254-7117, 0-2254-7780 , Ekamai: 0-27132504-8, CentralWorld: 0-2613-1530-1, Siam Paragon: 0-2610-9702-3