Review: Tim Hortons is a Serious Newcomer in Bangkok Donut Ring

BANGKOK — Despite waiting two months for the hype to die down and the desire to avoid crowds due to the coronavirus, I couldn’t keep myself away from Tim Hortons.

The Canadian chain opened in January to much fanfare and crowds. It is currently the food obsession-du-jour of the Bangkok food chain scene. In other words, it’s the foreign chain that people are currently queueing for and grabbing greedily – think of the way people briefly obsessed over Taco Bell, Garett’s Popcorn, and Krispy Kreme. 

During Monday 3pm visit, it was a completely full cafe, filled with at least 80 people. I waited five minutes in the queue stretching outside of the shop at Samyan Mitrtown mall, and another 10 minutes for my order to arrive.

I ordered two donuts and a black brew coffee for the review. The Maple cream donut, at 30 baht, carries a faint taste of maple syrup. So sweet as to be teeth-chattering, it’s not something I would miss or come back for, since there is so little real maple syrup taste that I expected from the Canadian brand.

Tim Hortons’ chocolate glazed donut, also 30 baht, is chewy and far better than donuts from other big North American chains in town, however. Its glaze is not too thick or thin and goes well with a cup of “ethically sourced” dark coffee.

The price is slightly higher than Mister Donut and somewhat lower than Krispy Kreme, thus making Tim Hortons a serious newcomer to the donut and coffee scene in Bangkok.

While Krispy Kreme has its fair share of loyal customers and Mister Donut is the most economical and widely available, the bright red decor and seating at Tim Hortons is definitely more upscale than the other two.

A cleaning lady even suggested to me that I need to leave my bag at a table first to reserve a seat before queuing if I want to have a place to sit after ordering. She said some customers linger around the branch for as much as half of a day, using the free electricity outlets. These customers would not be asked to leave, she told me.

The dough is imported, and donuts are prepared inside a kitchen just behind the spacious shop.

I tried a brew coffee set that comes with one donut of your choice for 95 baht, and was satisfied with the price point, even though the quality of the brew is worse than Starbucks.

My verdict after trying the two donuts of my choice is that it’s up there in terms of taste and quality when compared to Krispy Kreme and slightly better than Mister Donut. Also, for those not wanting sweets, the shop offers a range of grilled cheese melts starting at 95 baht to 125 baht.

In the end, Tim Hortons offers a much more comfortable environment to sit, eat and forget the fact that perhaps Bangkok may soon be joining cities in countries like China, Italy in a partial lockdown.

Being surrounded by a carefree crowd amidst growing virus hysteria at Tim Hortons is therapeutic. I feel my endorphins being released although I am not sure if it’s due to the high-sugar content of the two donuts or being among the carefree customers who seem oblivious to coronavirus scare, with or without the face masks.

Tim Hortons is located at the ground floor of Samyan Mitrtown and is open from 7am to 10pm Mondays through Thursdays, and 7am to midnight on Fridays through Sunday. This review is not sponsored. Call 065-605-1668 for more details.

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