New Light Coffee House
Despite the feeling that New Light is almost a Bangkok institution (your parents could have met there), the concept is pretty exotic, more reminiscent of Hong Kong’s cha chaan tengs (Chinese diners), with their mix of Chinese noodles, rice and Western dishes, than anything we’re used to here. A revamp saw its second floor handed over to Ootoya, but much of New Light’s retro charm remains intact: a cashier booth lettered with a 70s font and topped by a vintage clock, an excess of leatherette and brown wood, checkered tiles on the floor, and elaborate panels and dividers throughout. We also like how democratic the place is: high school kids, young mothers, tourists, couples who just got off work—everyone can call New Light home and sink back into one of the oversized booths. The waiters—girls have kitcshy old-school hotel uniforms, the guys look like uni students in long sleeves—range from helpful and informed to completely useless, but the general tone is one of snappy efficiency, not patient smiles and recommendations. There’s an extensive Chinese menu (which can only be enjoyed 11am-2pm and 6-9:45pm) available on the third floor in a traditional dining room with big round tables or in the ground floor diner. It’s more convincing to our palate than the Western dishes, which with the exception of the grilled pork chop, (B180) lean towards overcooked spaghetti, boiled vegetables and beef steaks hammered within an inch of their life. Instead, try something Chinese and out of the ordinary, like the very boozy chicken “in Chinese wine” or alternatively soak up the booze with a late night khao tom (B20/person). Thai dishes, like the spicy prawn salad (B140) can be a bit heavy-handed on the seasoning, erring on the side of sweetness and a lack of chili but there are some convincing stir fries, like the humble beef with garlic and pepper. New Light is cheap and one of the best options in Siam Square, but it might take you a few visits before you can track down dishes you’ll be calling old time favorites.
|Address:||New Light Coffee House, 426/1-4 Siam Square Rd., Bangkok, Thailand|
|Opening hours:||daily 8:30am-11:30pm|
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