When Khanchai “Khan” Kaewnate, 32, got fed up with commuting between his home in Senanikhom and his workplace in Thonglor, he decided it was high time to start anew in an area with genuine quality of life. For his girlfriend Papapin “Little” Deosurin, 29, a long-time resident of Chatuchak, that could only mean one neighborhood, her own.
Together they sought a space to start their business. Khanchai, formerly a creative designer and owner of an events agency, wanted a building befitting his keen design sense. Luck would have it, they found it just a few hundred meters from Papapin’s home. “Finding this house was like a destiny,” Khanchai says. “The house belonged to an architect,” Papapin says of the leafy 1970s home in which they opened Treat Café and Hangout. “That explains the original aesthetic of the structure. The current owners are my loyal customers and loved Khan’s design style so much that they urged us to rent the place to do something.”
"You can easily connect to all of Bangkok but it’s so quiet, here. You look at the road outside. It’s shady and breezy thanks to rows of old trees. You don’t find these things when you go further."
The result is a rustic Scandinavian dining room where caffeine addicts love to unwind, a Kinfolk-worthy garden and a photogenic glasshouse. But the renovation took months and Khan still sees it as a work in progress. “Khan gets bored of things easily so he intentionally designs different zones so customers have plenty of options to mellow out,” says Papapin. It’s all paid off and is a hit with a mix of university students, executives from the nearby SCB office and young professionals.
Food is equally important. Papapin’s business is a bakery supplying hundreds of restaurants and her knowledge of coffee is vast. “I’ve seen coffee shops blow their entire budget on decoration. But you have to have the right machines and coffee beans, too,” she says. As for Khanchai, he’s in charge of the savory menu. A talented amateur chef, he later took classes with Chef Ian Kittichai and later developed his own signature dishes, which include the best-selling salad yum moo yang (spicy grilled pork salad) and shrimp roe spaghetti.
When sourcing ingredients for their own kitchen, the couple visit the nearby supermarkets at Major Cineplex and Central Ladprao or the much livelier Bangkhen Fresh Market. In fact, Chatuchak’s mix of sleek urban offerings and resolutely local venues is something they particularly like about the area. “We sometimes get our coffee at a nearby Starbucks, too,” Papapin says with a laugh. “But at other times we just eat Kwanchitr, a homey restaurant near here with great comfort food.”
Just like their customers, Khanchai and Pippin couldn’t imagine living and working anywhere else. “You can easily connect to all of Bangkok but it’s so quiet, here. You look at the road outside. It’s shady and breezy thanks to rows of old trees. You don’t find these things when you go further. I love spending time here so much that my friends even joked me our first child would definitely be named Nong Sena,” Khanchai says with a laugh.
Treat Cafe and Hangout. 563 Senanikhom 1 Road (Phahonyothin Soi 32), Chatuchak, 093-264-9292. Open Thu-Tue 11:30am-10pm.
The Artwins Canteen & Bar
The second branch of successful cooking school-turned-casual bistro by Le Cordon Bleu-graduate twin sisters, King and Kaew Pokai-udom, The Artwins Canteen & Bar at the new P9 community mall serves comfort food in a laid-back, barn-like dining room. Head there in the morning for pancakes and freshly brewed coffee or, on the contrary, drop by late for the well-curated cocktail selection.
P9, Phahonyothin Soi 9, 089-563-6542. Open Mon-Thu 10:30am-10:30pm, Fri-Sun 10:30am-midnight.
Anya Dharu Perfumery & Tea Shop
The finest tea room in Chatuchak Weekend Market hides behind a dark, eclectic façade. The aromatic scents of this local perfumery lure in an upscale crowd. After browsing the room diffusers, candles, incense sticks and house-blended Lann Cha teas, it’s impossible to resist the urge to pull up a chair at one of the small marble-top table and order a cup.
Chatuchak Weekend Market, Section 3 Soi 3. Open Sat-Sun 10am-6pm.
Tucked away on the fourth floor of a retail shopping center Union Mall, O’s Coffee is the brainchild of actress Panisara “Opal” Arayasakul. The wooden tables, industrial chairs, and attentive staff set the mood for a no-nonsense experience. In fact, the coffee here is not Italian but Thai-style—sweet, milky, with hints of licorice and burned notes. It’s the perfect accompaniment to their signature brownies.
4th Floor, Union Mall. Open daily 10am-9pm.
Brought to you by Sansiri. Find out more about living in Chatuchak at thelinebkk.com