Top: Three Little Pigs (295 baht).
BANGKOK — To savor a dessert made by one of Thailand’s most skilled pastry chefs, one can go to a Michelin-star fine dining restaurant, or a cafe in Asok.
Ici, a cosy, storybook-themed cafe in Sukhumvit Soi 27, is helmed by Chef Arisara “Paper” Chongphanitkul – otherwise known as the patisserie chef at one-star Michelin Saawaan.
As is Chef Paper’s signature, each pastry is infused with a playfulness and delicate French know-how – not surprising, as she was trained at Paris’ Gastronomicom culinary school, and later worked at patisseries Sadaharu Aoki and Victor & Hugo.
Although prices at Ici are slightly steeper than most other Bangkok dessert cafes, it’s worth pointing out that many of those other cafes may charge 150 baht for a pretty, but barely edible cake. Ici’s pastries are in the 200-plus range for a serving, 400-plus range for a shareable, larger piece, and even 900 to about 2000 baht for a large dessert that can be shared by a whole party.
Ici opened in March 2019, but queues to the cafe, especially on weekends, are tight. Reservations and pre-booked orders are preferred.
Fortunately, unlike many Instagrammable cafes that turn out to be tiny holes-in-the-wall with barely a space to sit as one is being elbowed by bloggers – Ici is in a spacious-enough house and garden, decorated in 2020 Pantone color Classic Blue. The hanging pictures in the cafe are a cute version of a Western piece of art with a dessert: Mona Lisa with a choux cream, for instance, or the Jeff Koons’ balloon dog with her Blueberry Balloon pastry.
The Blueberry Balloon (235 baht) arrives as a glossy sphere of hardened blueberry – take all the pictures you want, then crack it open to and have at the cheesecake, lemon cream, and blueberry gelee filling. The cheese’s slight saltiness is a blessing, as is the buttery crumble.
We also opted for the adorable Three Little Pigs (295 baht) – the textured choux pastry was filled with chantilly cream, and the pigs were made of strawberry mousse, filled with strawberry gelee. Nothing was a chore to eat – forget pastries of excess flour, cheap cream, and fake berries.
Although the presentation of the Elderflower Soda (185 baht) was delightful, it was a tad too expensive for a sweet flower soda filled with jelly – if we had ditched it and the white tea (170 baht), we could have ordered another dessert instead.
We also tried the salted egg macaron (85 baht each) – although a well-made structure-wise, the cream filling lacked the gritty goodness we have come to expect from anything good salted-egg item.
Final tip: if you haven’t overdosed on sweetness yet, head over to the corner of the cafe with jars of meringues to end the meal with light, airy crunches.
Ici, located in Sukhumvit Soi 27, is reachable from BTS Asok or MRT Sukhumvit. The cafe is open noon to 8pm every day except Mondays, and reservations, as well as the menu items you want to order, should be made in advance. Weekday bookings can be made a day in advance, but book at least a week in advance for weekend ones.
This review is unsponsored and was based on an unannounced visit to the cafe.