This cafe in Central Embassy belongs to the chain of Scandinavian-focused fashion stores Uncensored (more specifically, its flagship boutique for Danish menswear label Soulland). Granola is also Danish in origin, twinned with a small, namesake coffee shop on one of Copenhagen’s trendier streets.
The Bangkok branch—and the only other Granola outside of Copenhagen—has made a bold effort at dressing up a cookie-cutter mall unit to look like anything but, and though the mixture of teals, wood panels and bentwood chairs is different from most new places in town, it’s a long way from the quaint standalone cafe it imitates.
The menu is also a shift from the ubiquitous egg dishes and duck confit at other Bangkok cafes, favoring instead fresh, simple sounding food that makes strong use of coldwater seafood like cod, bay scallops and even caviar. The bay scallop salad (B280) has a delicious blend of sturdy European ingredients like beet, apple, carrot and walnut, and even in this part of the world manages to taste fresh. It’s all plentifully served, as are the well-paired, sweet little scallops. Similarly, the granola-crusted cod in pea soup is unpretentious and not lacking in flavor. Its quaker-like simplicity belies a velvety texture and perfect seasoning, though the amply portioned fish verges on rubbery.
But when you break from these showpiece menu staples, things start to go downhill. Our “mussels in coconut royale” (pan-seared mussels on pepper-custard with coconut and sweetened chili; on special at B290) flies in the face of the clean flavors and unfussy presentation of everything else we’ve tried here. Served in a coconut shell on a bed of rock salt, the presentation is as unappetizing as the mussels, which taste like they’ve been doused in fish sauce. A dense slice of dry and tasteless carrot cake (B145) is no great end to a meal, either. The fruit juices (all B120), which we’re told are something of a specialty in Denmark, are also completely forgettable.
Stick to the dishes they’re proud enough to photograph and hang on the walls, and Granola will serve you a pretty good meal. But you’ll more likely pick up your phone for Instagram than to tell a friend about the food.