Vanilla Garden: Dim sum and then some

A peek into Sauce bookshop at Vanilla Garden
A mask display brightens up the garden

In a similar 3-in-1 setup to Spring-Summer-Winter, Vanilla Garden in Bangkok’s Ekkamai neighbourhood houses a bookshop, dim sum restaurant and retro-themed Japanese cafe in a funky little garden setting. I first read about this place on food/travel/photography/lifestyle blog Primitive Culture and knew straight away that I’d love it!

We’ve now visited twice (so far) – the first time to have one of our all-time favourite foods (dim sum) in the Royal Vanilla restaurant, then again to check out Vanilla Cafe. And both times to peruse the bookshop, Sauce, which is design and food book oriented and conducive to browsing (I could stay there all day).

The dim sum restaurant is mod and black inside, a contemporary take on an old-world Chinese teahouse. The menu consists of a sheet of tick boxes where you select from either dim sum or other Chinese dishes (like roast duck or fried soft shell crab). We stuck with the dim sum, which was around 50 to 70 baht a basket. The ha-kau (prawn dumplings) and steamed rolls with roasted duck were our favourites.

Over at Vanilla Cafe (on a separate day that is!), we ate some delicious prawn sushi, nicely cooked gyoza and some not so inspiring miso chicken (too fatty and lacking the charcoal taste of the same dish we recently ate at Ootoya). The cafe’s furniture and decor were highlights though – 70s wooden furniture with Japanese comics and retro/vintage toys on display.

Now if only someone in Phnom Penh would latch onto this ‘three cool establishments in one’ concept – the closest thing I can think of is Elsewhere’s pool, bar and clothing shop!


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