[Kuala Lumpur] Alexis Cafe

Rocking the ghetto streets of Bangsar is this classy, off-the-beaten-track bistro cafe that has maintained its name with a fine selection of cakes and a sleek price to match. Not a conceptually-strong bistro, but Alexis banks its traffic on excellent word-of-mouth and high quality desserts.


  

Having heard a great deal about their Tiramisu, the 8 of us couldn’t resist getting a couple to share. Their fruit meringue and lemon tart were so darn amazing too.

With tasteful decor, scattered art pieces, white chairs and pale wood tables, Alexis needed little else in their concept to be a decent chill-out spot for afternoon tea. While the wall of wine bottles added a layer of sophistication, it was a tad lacking in the bar/pub factor. Nonetheless I loved how they stacked up all their collection so patrons could literally check the bottles out.
  

Again, random installations – this one is ‘crowdsourced’ since everybody could add their graffiti to the paper chandelier. It’s both sleek and rustic at the same time.
  
Ta-Da! Tiramisu & Fruit Meringue. Interesting how they glazed pecans and an assortment of nuts over the traditional tiramisu coating to create that crunch in your mouth that is oh-so-satisfying.

Nothing beats coffee and cakes with the best of friends. Totally did not expect these 2 to join our KL trip…till they literally surprised me by appearing in the hotel room!! They planned this all along for my birthday. What sweetie-pies!
  
  
More from that lovely afternoon.

 

A short snap from my snapchat above. Couldn’t bring out the tastefulness in Alexis (which coincidentally is one of our friends’ name). But all in all, the cakes were to die for. I’ve had amazing tiramisu cakes, but the uniqueness of this one was rather memorable.

29, Jalan Telawi 3,
Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SINGAPORE] Privé Grill @ Keppel Bay (& other tantalizing eats)

Disclaimer: This throwback post contains images of food, coffee and good people having a good time.
Do not proceed if hungry.

The Privé Grill and Privé Cafe are amongst my favourite haunts, especially since the cafe’s pretty zen on weekday afternoons when I need my caffeine most. The coffee is above-average but not the best since I’ve had better lattes for less (just had a really good ice latte not long ago at The Plain!), but definitely the view of docked yachts, calm seas and expats’ properties definitely beats the  scene at the central business district.

This afternoon, sometime back, was a weekday brunch at the grill. My friends from Thailand finally tasted the famous Privé meats, cooked to perfection using the acclaimed “Spanish imported Josper grill”. According to the extensive all-day brunch selection, Privé Grill also features tantalizing appetizers, mouth-watering mains and decadent desserts.

          

Sometime back too, was this insanely good catching up over coffee with a university senior from the good old days. Ogopogo at the Bussorah Street near Haji Lane (aside from its renowned night scene) offers really good flat white, and amazing old-school knick-knacks. Throwback to the ’90s, anybody?      

I miss humongous and insanely yummy cakes from the Cheesecake Factory in the States. I guess one of those places on this sunny little island with portions, quality control and taste that actually can be compared to the cheesecake giant, is Lady M. Of course, without the crazy waiting time. In the States, we had to make reservations and wait for up to 1.5hrs for a seat at the Cheesecake Factory. Whereas the Lady M is much classier and serves up a mean millefeuille. Bon appetit.  

This is the last of my dessert reminiscences, I swear! Tiong Bahru Bakery brings back really good memories, not just for its good coffee – every time I get TBB I’m reminded of the first person who ever brought me for TBB croissants, black smoked salmon sandwiches and latte. Cheers to good ol’times. One unfortunate thing about this place happens to be their iced lattes – they seriously don’t taste as good when cold.

Privé
2 Keppel Bay Vista, Singapore City 098382
Phone:6776 0777

Ogopogo
73 Bussorah St
Singapore 199486

Tiong Bahru Bakery @ Eng Hoon
56 Eng Hoon Street
#01-70
Singapore 160056

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

London Lovin’: W6 Garden Centre Café

“This is our way of celebrating the great city we live and work in. Where others see nothing but debris and stone, we see the possibility of a truly life-enhancing experience.”
– W6 Creative Director Paul Holt.

I was pleasantly thrilled to be amongst privileged writers notified of the grand opening of W6 Garden Centre Café. This gem of a coffeehouse takes centerstage under the rail arches of Ravenscourt Park tube station, promising a soothing experience that will whisk you away from the trains running just metres above, by bringing a piece of old London back to life.

Judging from this hearty menu, the cafè can expect a long list of returning patrons. Nuala O’Connor, who previously worked as a chef at Petersham Nurseries Cafe, helms the kitchen. To quote her directly, ”I want to see the cafe become established as a favourite for local people and a lovely discovery for new customers. We already serve fantastic coffee; I would like to match that with simple but delicious fresh food made with great ingredients, some of which we are even starting to grow ourselves in our herb garden.”

Yes, from a luxuriant herb garden, no less than a foliage in the interior to potted ferns on your dining table – these little green details makes W6 a perfect place to get in touch with nature. Just looking at snapshots of the greenery brings a sense of peace – who would not love these lush overhanging plants and walls of mossy bricks?

photo H&F ad

West Six Garden Cafe, Ravenscourt

West Six Garden Cafe Cappuccino

Our Cafe Interior 20.11.14Cafe Seating 20.11.14

Getting super excited by these photographs courtesy of David from W6 (thank you). I don’t usually write about cafés which I haven’t personally been, but this is too lovely not to share!

Am definitely adding this to my bucket-list on my next trip to London!

W6 Garden Centre Café
West Six Garden Centre & Cafe Ravenscourt Avenue
London W6 0SL
Opening hours: 
Mon to Fri: 8.30am – 5.00pm 
Sat & Sun: 9.30am – 6.00pm

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SINGAPORE] ASANOYA BOULANGERIE

I must confess: I’m a breadaholic. My favourite home appliance is my bread machine, and preferred choice of breakfast is always flour-based.  So the pastry-maniac in me jumped for joy when I finally popped by Asanoya Bakery, and 81-year-old brand founded in Karuizawa Japan.

The place is absolutely haven for all dough-lovers out there! With the abundance of seats it could jolly well serve as a cafe. The boulangerie is ready for business as early as 8am, but their signature Karuizawa Matcha Green Tea Bread doesn’t appear till 10. If that happens, stay calm, take a seat and have their royal milk tea loaf in the meantime. Their mean selection of salads comes in petite Asian portions which are just right to go with your dough. To ogle at pastries and sweetbreads please continue to scroll…

I’m in love with these cubes, not to mention they are absolute darlings in the mouth.

Tiramisu in bread = more than I can bargain for!

                          

The royal milk tea loaf tasted like it was soaked and glazed in frothy tea, which, for a tea-lover like me, was killing two birds with a bite as I could eat and drink tea at the same time. The maple walnuts pretzel was slightly more savoury, though too crispy and hard in certain parts. I’m still looking forward to coming again, and trying every darn thing eventually!

  

Asanoya Boulangerie
15 Queen Street, #01-03, Singapore 188537
Tel: (65) 6703 8703

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SINGAPORE] 3 COFFEE JOINTS WHICH ARE AS HIPSTER AS IT GETS

What do I look for in an excellent coffee place? Ambience, brews and its insta-worthy quotient. Here are 3 Cafes I’ve been in love with for all the right reasons: [1] THE NEW BLACK Chatted briefly with the barista whose photograph I blatantly took while he was expertly manoeuvring complicated brewing equipment in The New Black laboratory. Think Back To The Future meets pop art plus mad scientist (sorry, but bubbling filter glass pipes just screams nerdist). Totally in love with their graphic site listing their international brews. I miss my days in London, and a whiff of good old Workshop Coffee brings back wonderful memories.       What I loved: generous scoops of coffee powder, expertly filtered through the water pressure pipes; be assured of painstaking efforts taken to brew and prepare each and every cuppa. I had the ‘Sweet Bloom’, which I presumed, from what I understood of the menu, was made of Aricha Natural, an Ethiopian blend expertly mixed in Colorado. The floral scent rendered me unable to stop sniffing at my aromatic cuppa while the enticing black liquid cooled – it didn’t help that the cup was uber pretty in sunny pop-art colours. The barista was right – even without sugar, the blend was amazingly, refreshingly sweet. And when it’s cold and cooled it had none of the rancid acidic ratchet aftertaste. Instead, it tasted even better when left to cool on its own. On the plus side (as if it needs any bonus points) one standard sized cup was loaded with enough caffeine to tackle your roughest mornings. I’m in love. THE NEW BLACK CONCEPT OUTLET ONE UPPER CIRCULAR ROAD SINGAPORE 058400 8:00 – 18:30 MONDAY – FRIDAY 8:30 – 16:30 SATURDAY CLOSED ON SUNDAY ☕ ——————————————————————— ☕ [2] COMMON MAN COFFEE ROASTERS Only recently discovered this amazing joint when colleagues decided on brunch. Common Man Veggie Wonderland is a darling at breakfast, at times when you need the fuel and are not in the mood for grease. They also make a mean flat white. But try to stop yourself from getting that third cuppa.    Processed with VSCOcam with n3 preset Coffee is never a bad idea. Common Man Coffee Roasters 22 Martin Road, #01-00, 239058 6836 4695  ☕ ——————————————————————– ☕ [3] Toby’s Estate Coffee A big name in the local scene. This place’s been here for awhile now and it’s reputation stays strong with its solid brunch menu. Loving the french toast with espresso bacon. I mean, who needs coffee when you’ve got espresso in your fatty fried meat? Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset   Also in a way the place’s really calm and warehousey in a de-constructed re-furbishment-in-progress manner. Whatever the ambience you may seek, Toby’s establishment is the right fit.    Toby’s Estate 8 Rodyk Street #01-03/04, 238216 6636 7629 What are some of your favourites? xoxo, Viktoria Jean

[THAILAND] o16. DAYTRIP TO AYUTTHAYA

40 miles north of Bangkok lies Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, capital of Ayutthaya Province, Thailand. Ayutthaya Kingdom was destroyed in 1767 by Burmese army who took down the city. Ayutthaya, like Rome, has since left most of its ruins within sight. Officially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site is its Historical Park, whose ruins were a peek into the kingdom’s past grandeur.

Dia and Ake drove us on a daytrip from Bangkok to Ayutthaya. The journey could have taken way longer (by means of Thailand’s inter-city railway) than our tranquil 1.5 hours drive to the country side which I truly enjoyed. Having lived in a city all my life, the drive was akin to entering a timezone ungoverned by conventional rules of time. I was fascinated by farmers in paddy fields seeming to move in slow-motion, accustomed to a lazy pace of life. The last time I’ve ever immersed in such a slow-moving city was during a layover in Mumbai, India, but even then I was concerned by and paranoid of the city’s hygiene. Here I rolled down my windows to let unfamiliar country smells invade my olfactory senses. The experience was truly rural and underrated.

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A stream leading to Chao Phraya, Thailand
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Enjoying this incredibly scenic view while dining on the country’s finest seafood

With Dia and Ake, our tummies were in for a treat. Along a stream that leads to Chao Phraya River, we located Yang Deaw Restaurant, a local eatery well-known amongst the natives for grilled river shrimps.

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A mouth-wateringly good salad with Thai version of the Chinese salted eggs, tossed with shrimps and chunks of chilli
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Steamboat / various fried fishcakes and pork dishes
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Pork in spicy gravy with salted eggs. Thai dishes are just so big on gravy and sauces it’s impossible to go without.

An old lady, aided by 2 others only a decade younger, took our orders, prepared the seafood, grilled the prawns, chopped the vegetables, served the dishes, iced our tea and washed the dishes in a small pantry; hence service was, like everywhere else in the country, slow. Oddly enough, us city-dwellers never for one second lost our patience. I contemplated going to the kitchen to help mince the pork and skewer some prawns.

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Looks ugly here, but this crispy salted fish blew our minds.
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Highlight of the meal: hugeass river shrimps!

Highlight of the meal: river shrimps! In all its fresh glory. Caught right off coast at neighbouring streams surrounding Ayutthaya. When de-shelled, these shrimps were almost the length of my forearm (note: I have long limbs)

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Did I make you wanna lick the screen?

We left Yang Deaw feeling like our lives was complete, then we drove further north, nursing an intense food coma with tonnes of iced tea. One of our major pit-stops was Wat Panan Choeng temple, on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River, part of Ayutthaya Historical Park. Fervent Thai Buddhists usually made it a point to journey to this temple to pray for the best of luck on New Years and special occasions. The Golden Buddha statue is known as Luang Pho Tho, who stands at 19meters tall.

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Our Thai friend Ake going about with his prayers by sticking gold flecks on small Buddha statues

 

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Luang Pho Tho @ 19m tall

We were there for a ceremony on that particular day – Thais were flocking in to pray for good luck for the coming year (2015). Fervent Buddhists purchased golden cloth to ‘clothe the Buddha statue’. We purchased one each and handed the golden sashes to a temple staff, who then proceeded to mumble his blessings, before tossing the golden cloth to 3 pairs of waiting hands standing on Luang Pho Tho who would catch the cloth, tie them to the existing length covering Luang Pho Tho. During the ceremony, Buddhist monks would then chant a long series of words in Thai. We joined the fervent Buddhists in kneeling at the Buddha’s feet with our heads bowed. When the time came, the monks and temple staff began throwing the tied cloth back at us and people in the front started pulling the cloth for us people at the back. The cloth went over our heads as a symbol of protection and having us ‘covered’. After we were all draped in gold cloth, the chant went on in Thai for about 5 to 10 minutes, before we returned the cloth and made our donations to the temple.

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Blessings from Luang Pho Tho
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Passing the golden cloth, over our heads

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A room filled with religious statuettes
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Devotees

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The first of my posts on Ayutthaya had touched on aspects of local food and Wat Phanan Choeng. In the coming posts I’ll be sharing on other places to visit in Ayutthaya, including the famous ‘Buddha head in tree‘ featured in many travel guides on Thailand. Stay tuned for more!

Yang Deaw Restaurant
5/1 Moo 4, Tambon Ban Len, Amphoe Bang Pa-in, Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya

Wat Phanan Choeng

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[THAILAND] o15. VINTAGE ROD FAI

Talad Rod Fai, Bangkok, is an open-air bazaar peddling an insane array of vintage collectables, quirky kitsch and memorabilia from yesteryear. Since its move in 2013 due to an expansion of the BTS Skytrain line, its reappearance at the new site accommodated a bigger, more international crowd. I loved the old Rod Fai next to the train tracks, where shop-owners displayed their wares on floors or did business right out of 1950s Cadillacs. The new locale is posh, less rugged than before, while retaining signature vintage elements.

Shopping was way down on my list of priorities as opposed to capturing these on camera.

“Vintage books, old china, antiques; maybe I love old things so much because I feel impermanent myself.”
― Josh Lanyon

All things biker chic
All things biker chic
Vintage television
Vintage television
Lorries from another era
Lorries from another era
From before our parents were born
From before our parents were born
Vintage Chinese
Vintage Chinese

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For Sale: Gas masks, anybody?
For Sale: Gas masks, anybody?
So old your nose will blow
So old your nose will blow
Coca cola signs
Coca cola signs
This still exist?!
This still exist?!
Route 66, US
Route 66, US
Old is gold
Old is gold
Rod Fai Gems
Rod Fai Gems
This is how coffee is made, sometimes
This is how coffee is made, sometimes
Pretty interiors of Title @ Rod Fai
Pretty interiors of Title @ Rod Fai
Title @ Rod Fai
Title @ Rod Fai
LOVE @ Rod Fai Thailand
LOVE @ Rod Fai Thailand
Leaving space
Leaving space
Pinball or something
Pinball or something
Vintage bikes...vespa?
Vintage bikes…vespa?
Mannequin.
Mannequin.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[THAILAND] o14. SIX HANGOUTS TO HIT IN BANGKOK (FOODIES ONLY)

Perks of having native Thai friends – they’ve tried it all and only take you for the best. I had the honour of my Thai native friends’ undivided attention 5 days in January this year. Knowing us (foodies who were through with tourist traps in the big city), the pair of them took us gallivanting through Bangkok for the best F&B. Here are 6 of my favourite picks,

GRAM CAFE – Brunch

Nestled within the trendy streets of Sukhumvit 49 near to Thong Lor is GRAM Cafe, featuring an open-kitchen counter and a pretty garden where you dine. Highlights of our meal: ovaltine volcano pancakes dripping in chocolate fudge and ovaltine powdered goodness. Also loved their latte: I’m a sucker for hand-drip coffee.

Gram Cafe Thailand

Gram Cafe, Bangkok
Gram Cafe, Bangkok
Their lattes are not to be missed
Their lattes are not to be missed
Smoked salmon salad - my all-time salad of choice
Smoked salmon salad – my all-time salad of choice
What 5 Persons Ate
What 5 Persons Ate
Ovaltine Volcano Pancakes
Ovaltine Volcano Pancakes
Pulled Pork Burger
Pulled Pork Burger

Outdoor-dining only meant there were certain elements of nature interrupting our quiet brunch: flies, mozzies and leaves falling into your coffee. But when your bill arrives all’s good again, since a Bangkok hipster brunch is one of the most affordable in the world.

GRAM CAFE
1/F, 49 Terrace, Sukhumvit Soi 49, Bangkok, Thailand
Tue-Sun 9am-5pm
081-884-8554
Nearest Train: BTS Phrom Phong


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ROCKET COFFEE BAR – Brunch

An uber-chic hangout for hipster lunch in the up and coming Sathorn area; the best flat white in town makes this the expats’ choice on the weekends. Save yourself the best seat by the window when you make reservations! Rocket is well-known for their artisanal coffees – I fell so in love with their iced latte that I had to have two.

Muesli Yoghurt with Honey
brunch bangkok
Eggs Benedict
brunch thailand
Salmon Roe and Crab Meat Toast

Their eggs-ben weren’t fantastic and drool-worthy so don’t bother if you’re hunting for the best food in time. Come here for a cozy meet-up, and to immerse in a chic up-town environment.

Check out their menu here.

Rocket Coffee Bar
147, Sathorn Soi 12, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
+66 2 635 0404
Monday to Sunday 7am – 11pm
Nearest station: BTS Chong Nonsi


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MR JONES’ ORPHANAGE – Cakes, waffles and all things sweet

Named after a renowned children’s book, Mr Jones’ Orphanage lives up to its name with teddy-bear strewn interiors, low-hanging ceilings resembling children’s bedrooms, and quirky cutesy dessert creations. We ordered a round of cakes and rocky road waffles after heavy-on-the-savoury-buds lunch – the kick on our sense of taste was incredible. Mr Jones’ is a sweet-tooth’s haven.

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Cookie Monster Cupcakes
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Red Velvet Cakes

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We had one of each: the strawberry shortcake is too amazing. The kitkat mud monster was way too chocolatey but if you’re a fan, it’s a chocolate heart attack.
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Marshmallows Rocky Road Waffles

With more than one outlet, the cafe still gets crowded. Save the wait and make reservations!

Mr Jones’ Orphanage
2nd Level, Siam Center
Rama 1 Road, Bangkok, Pathumwan 10330
11:00 am – 10:00 pm


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MANNA THAI – Rock Melon Sorbet

rock melon sorbet siam paragon manna thai

Situated at the basement level of Siam Paragon is an outdoor paradise, where the food isn’t spectacular but they serve a mean rock melon sorbet straight out of rock melon skin. A hand-drip latte goes well enough, and together we’ve got tea-break for the high-soul in Bangkok. Dining in is great, but the view outside is better. If you’re into people-watching this is your little heaven.

Rock melon sorbet is highly recommended.

Manna Thai
G Fl., Siam Paragon
991 Rama1, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
+66 2129 4555


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CHATUCHAK WEEKEND MARKET – Street Food

Don’t waste your time and money if you’re hell-bent on eating clean in Thailand! Street food has too much flavour and life in it, so who cares what happens in the kitchen right? Eating straight from street stalls gave me a genuine taste of Thailand – where the culture stands, and what the people enjoy in their spare time. Here, flavour is key (as lovers of uber-sweet Thai Iced Milk Tea can vouch for), and Thais are big on traditional spices. Meet some of my favourites from the all-time touristy Weekend Market of Chatuchak.

Yummy oily thing
Carrot cake-ish mash up – oily but sooo good
Quail Eggs
Quail Eggs! Featuring my Batman-inspired nails.
smoky ice cream
Smoking Ice Cream
Street oysters
Street Oysters

Shoppers are advised not to waste any time stopping to ogle at street food if intent on covering every nook and cranny of this 32.91 km² maze. Shopping can be endless in this god-amazing place, but some things are just not up my alley, especially when the weather’s too hot and I’ve been here more times than I bothered to count.

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SOMBOON – Seafood

The best place for fresh seafood fix in Bangkok: my all time favourite dish is the fried curry crab which comes in a fuss-free pre-shelled form so all you need to do is scoop it up, eat it with rice or fried bread! Do not exclaim “so cheap!” each time you select a dish or you’ll end up sounding like a bird. Yes, seafood is seriously affordable here.

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PRE-SHELLED FRIED CURRY CRAB: Party in my mouth and heaven in a dish
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Deep fried sea-bass – just look at this meaty goodness
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Steamed and tossed mussels in onion and gravy. Hmm
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Darn fresh oysters! Gotta slurp ’em all
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Feast for Five
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Delish mango sticky rice

Somboon Seafood
895/6-12 Chula Soi8, Bangthadthong Road | Wang Mai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
11:00 to 23:00 Daily
0-2216-4203-4 or 0-2214-4927


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Stay tuned for more adventures in Bangkok, as I’m always back for more. I’ve got too much affinity with the Land Of Smiles, it seems.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 034: BEANS & WAFFLE

“Waffles are just awesome bread.”
— John Green

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Loading up on carbs before a full day of Seoul-tripping. Breakfast was palm-sized Sweet Maple Waffles 스위트 메이플 와플 at Beans and Waffle, downtown Gangnam.

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Surrounded by imposing office towers, a food alley plus a couple of pubs, the cafe has fed plenty of OLs, pub-crawlers and hungry interns. One of the only two Beans & Waffle stores in Seoul, its small, dark interior could easily have you fooled. An extensive waffle menu aside, there’s no lack of flavoured coffees, teas and blended juices. They even have a decent selection of bingsoo!
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Next time I’ll make it a point to try their green tea and tiramisu waffles.
Bon appetit~

빈스앤와플 강남역점
1329-9 Seocho-dong (181 Saimdang-ro)
Seocho-gu, Seoul

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

SEOUL DIARIES 033: BASILUR TEA

“What do you want?”
“Just coffee. Black – like my soul.”
— Cassandra Clare

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Enjoying my afternoon cuppa at Basilur Tea on Sinsa-Dong’s Garosugil. On display within the 3-storeyed building are tins and tins of tea leaves and related tea spices that tickled my olfactory senses. Basilur does premium tea exports from Sri Lanka to the rest of the world. They also do make a mean cuppa latte. The building’s really grand and beautiful, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main garosugil street. Good to note that it’s also not too quiet for people-watching. Make a right turn when you see Deux Cremes or Mug for Rabbit and you won’t miss it.

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강남구 신사동 554 2층, 대한민국

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Mellow Baking Cafe | 멜로우베이킹 카페

Just round the corner of my guesthouse, opposite Orange Guesthouse and Book Cafe Jungle in Seogyo-Dong Hongdae, is this gem of a baking cafe, complete with its own outdoor sitting area and garden patio! The owners are bakers themselves as they also regularly conduct baking classes on top of home-baking all their sumptuous goods.
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I had the green tea frappucino and their home-made New York Cheesecake! The green tea frappucino tasted really fresh. They blended ice, honey, and a Japanese-branded matcha powder to lots of fresh milk, then sprinkled matcha powder and a generous serving of whipped cream. It tasted better than any Starbucks green tea I’ve ever drank! Being home-made, the cheesecake also tasted fresh and free from preservatives. It was a bit harder and less egg-yolky than most cheesecakes I’ve had. There seemed to be more flour in it. Loved it nonetheless ^^

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Bright walls, polished rosewood tables and lots of mid-morning sunshine gives cheer to this spacious homely cafe. With wall paintings of trees, aesthetically placed potted plants, the area closest to the cafe main entrance resembles a well-kept gardening shed with a heavy feminine influence. Most of what’s baked within the store can be for in-store consumption of take-outs, so yes you can actually order a celebratory cake and have it personalized. There’s a wide selection of coffees, frappucino s, sandwiches and tarts on their cute little menu-book. It seems to me that a lot of thought went into every minute little detail in their cafe – a trait of an undoubtedly feminine boss. 20140321-101015.jpg

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Come for their baking class or just to have a taste of home-made goodness in a sunny cheery backdrop. Loads of customers came and went within the span of an hour and most of them sat down on the comfortable couches and chairs for their business meetings or conversations! This is the cheeriest hangout I’ve seen so far and this place makes me very happy indeed.

Mellow Baking Cafe
375-45 서교동 마포구 서울
375-45 Seogyo-Dong Mapo-Gu Seoul

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Day One: BLU Home Guesthouse

7:45am – Touched down at Incheon International Airport
8:30am – Claimed all baggage and cleared customs
8:45am – Bought T-Money (Bus, Train, All-In-One Fare Card) and WiBro (incredibly fast and useful portable WiFi egg gadget)
8:50am – Boarded Airport Railroad (AREX) Commuter Line towards Hongik University Station
9:40am – Reached Hongik University Station (Hongdae!) Then proceeds to take an hour to find BLU Home Guest-House. Because am stubborn and for the first half an hour, refused to use Google Maps. Lugs trolleybag all over Hongdae. Gets lost and finally seeks the almighty navigator.
10:40am – Heaved a huge sigh of relief at locating the blue swing doors. Successfully checks-In at BLU Home Guest-House!!

Well, I love this place! My room is small (am allocated the double bunk beds all to myself for the first 3 days although I paid for the single room) because somebody else is occupying it at the moment. I’ve been here for only half a day, and already the owner, Denny, appeared extremely helpful and dependable. BLU Home is a cosy double-storeyed building fully equipped with everything a backpacker/hostelite would ever need (internal heating, desktops, Free WiFi, heated water etc) despite not boasting of grand exteriors or showy furnishings. Presenting to you…my humble little room!

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Yes I am ALWAYS hungry so this honey pancakes comes in handy.20140320-204952.jpg

I really brought nothing much. My heaviest possession is my MacBook Pro and 4 novels.20140320-204958.jpg

BLU Home Guesthouse deserves a proper post when I get round to taking proper photographs of its kitchen, the laundry room, lobby and the breakfast area.

For the rest of the day upon checking in, I roamed all over Hongdae’s busiest streets and wandered over to its very quiet Wausanro 27 to 29-Gil. Visited some very interesting cafes which I’m dying to share with everybody ^^ Hope everyone’s having a good day!

BLU Home
464-52 Mapo-Gu, Seoul

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Chocolateria San Churro, Brisbane

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Got a major kick out of having churros in Brisbane! Finally satisfying my cravings for both dark chocolate and cinnamon churros and where better to have these? Australia’s most famous chocolateria!

드디어 츄 로스를위한 갈망을 충족.  주말에 브리즈번에있을 때, 나는 다크 초콜릿에 담근 피 츄 로스를 먹었다. 호주에서 가장 유명한 츄 로스 카페입니다. 카페 근처에 호텔에서 숙박 할 수 하게 아주 행복했습니다.

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Macarons, truffles, pralines, cakes, fudge bizcocho, smoothies, coffees in all sizes, flavours and shapes. Take your pick. Now that I’m hungry, can I stay in Brisbane, please?

이 카페는 마카롱, 케이크, 초콜릿, 커피의 다양한 맛을 판매하고 있습니다. 여기를 음식을 날 배가된다. 여기에 내가 살 수 있을까?

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Now to make you hungry too…
배고픈 만들기 위해… 츄 로스와 다크 초콜릿 소스!

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That, my friends, has got to be the best churros I’ve ever had. Also, I loved its teak wood tables and straight-backed chairs. Perfectly conducive place for studying or a quick catch-up with friends.

지금까지먹었던 최고의 츄 로스 로… 이것은 또한 대단히 잘 설계된 카페이다. 확실히본 카페에서 공부할 것. 친구를 충족하기 위해본 카페에 돌아 오는 생각 해.

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If you love coffee and fancy everything sweet, or just want to find a place that is in Brisbane’s CBD to put your feet up and fill your tummy, this place is your wonderland. Their extensive menu can be found here! You won’t be disappointed! I most definitely wasn’t.

Chocolateria San Churro
Shop 2/161 Grey St
South Bank Brisbane,
Queensland Australia 4101
Phone: 07 3844 2022
Email: southbankqld@sanchurro.com.au

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

The Living Room, Copenhagen

Cafè culture in Copenhagen is amaaaazing! Touched down in the morning at 6am, slept for 3hrs, until the silence of the hotel room made me so darn restless. So, I embarked on the list of coffee-places I wanted to visit! First stop: The Living Room @ Larsbjørnstræde. The street is lined with indie cafès, vintage designer stores, chill-out bars and late-night pubs – the kind of street culture I love the best.

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I took a while to make my choices because there were too many! Had a cuppa piping hot latte and a soft, slightly dry slice of tiramisu. Somehow I miss the tiramisu I had in Frankfurt – it’s more moist and tastes strongly of eggs and dark rum rather than flour and sugar.

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I love the interior of The Living Room – it’s spacious yet cosy and lives up to its name by being ideal for social gatherings! There’s even a dark underground ‘dungeon’ where friends or couples can sink into large sofas for more privacy.

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My view of the sidewalk from the bar-top is just right. Spent close to an hour hiding from the cold (-4°C!!) and reading my book whilst sipping on latte.

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If you’re out seeking for good coffee, I’m sure there are better caffeine joints with tastier brews. For cakes or food, definitely there would be better patisseries out there. I still loved this place nevertheless! It gave me very good vibes. The Living Room baristas were super friendly (one of them chatted with me in perfect English!) and the variety of tables and seats are made to suit any occasion. The Living Room is best enjoyed with good company for the ambience is fantastic. Even if you’re alone, the space is quiet without being stale, and is ideal for that me-time you’re seeking.

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The Living Room – Bars, Coffee & tea, Snacks
Larsbjørnstræde 17
Tel: +4533326610
Opening Hours:
Mon – Thu 10:00 – 23:00,
Fri 10:00 – 02:00,
Sat 11:00 – 02:00,
Sun 12:00 – 19:00

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Living out of a Suitcase

Guess what?! I’ve decided on a long solo trip to Incheon!! Wildly excited about cafè-hopping in Hongdae, Gangnam, Itaewon and Sinchon. Even more psyched about taking dance classes in Korea. Plus I will be doing what I do best: living out of a suitcase! Perhaps I will meet Krispy, dance partner Rasoo and blast! dancers in Seoul since I’ll be making my way there sometime in March. And everyone else can only make it in April?

I hope to share my trip with anyone who might be interested, thus I’ll be posting a cafè itinerary! To be honest, I’m taking pointers from the cafès in Korea because I hope to start up my own in Bangkok or somewhere in South East Asia one day. Been polishing up on my rusty Korean abilities, and am confident about surviving this solo trip. Wish me luck!!

This year, I can finally cross Cafè-Hopping in Seoul off my bucket-list. Hope everyone’s been doing great these days. 2014 is looking promising, ain’t it? Chins up people. When you love life, it almost always loves you back.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[MELBOURNE] oo1. Flinders Street Coffee

Since this roomy hangout was right next to our hotel, I checked myself in for my daily caffeine fix! But I didn’t get my order of latte or else I won’t be able to catch some sleep before going for work. Settled for their signature spinach and cheese roll which managed to look pretty good while tasting home-made and wholesome. I had my book with me to while away the time, and being WiFi-enabled was a major plus-point. FSC’s interior was incredibly spacious, and surprisingly empty for a Wednesday afternoon. Also loved the welcoming vibes from the baristas and the entire cafe’s ambience.

Flinders Street Coffee 1

Flinders Street Coffee 2

Flinders Street Coffee Spinach and Cheese Roll 2

Flinders Street Coffee Spinach and Cheese Roll 3

Flinders Street Coffee Spinach and Cheese Roll

Flinders Street Coffee 3

Flinders Street Coffee 4

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Flinders Street Coffee Cafe

Flinders Street Coffee Front

290 Flinders Street,
Melbourne

For some reason I was sooo tired this trip. Just felt like concussing in bed the entire day, thus only managing to stock up groceries and drystores which I would need when I reach Moscow tomorrow. Am so behind on Christmas and festive gift shopping. Then again I wouldn’t be home till 2014…

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Cafè-Hopping: Working Title SG

Stumbled upon {working title} at Arab Street whilst wandering along Haji Lane and Bali Lane before kicking ass at Muay Thai on a Monday morning. They share a place with a hostel, and the cafè’s small but cosy. Iced latte was okay, nothing fantastic; there’s also a selection of tummy-fillers like their ice-cream cookies which I’ve yet to try! Great for cafe-hoppers who’re looking to leech on WiFi.

Working Title SG Shopfront

Working Title SG Counter

Working Title SG Interior

Working Title SG Iced Cafe Latte

Working Title SG WIFI

48 Arab Street
Singapore 368979

1-Caramel Dessert Boutique

I miss hanging out here at 1-Caramel with my girls! On our usual cafe-hopping trips in Singapore, we go everywhere in search of the best cakes and coffee. This one at One Rochester Park served the best fluffy strawberry shortcake and Maltesers cheesecake, plus up here at Buona Vista, away from city centre’s hustle-bustle, we can chat away all afternoon with our coffees and cakes.

1-Caramel Viktoria Jean Cafe Cake 2

1-Caramel Viktoria Jean Cafe Cake

Affogato al caffè, the signature coffee with ice cream, my nemesis. Desserts and coffee in one; it’s too good to be true.
1-Caramel Viktoria Jean Cafe Coffee Icecream

Sticky-date pudding with a killer dribble of caramel!!
1-Caramel Viktoria Jean Cafe Sticky Date Pudding

This is how we spend our cafe-hopping afternoons.
1-Caramel Viktoria Jean Cafe

1 Rochester Park, #02-01
Singapore

London Lovin’: Wild & Coffee Company

Sniffing out the best brews on my London cafè-hunt, I stumbled upon Wild & Coffee Company along Oxford Street.  photo DSCN3977_zps2785a179.jpg

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Dying for a mid-day coffee fix, I was so glad to see that it’s been labelled ‘London’s best coffee’.
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Though small and subtle, the interior decor is amazingly cosy. A really awesome place to sit and read while sharing a bench-table with strangers.

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Every cup of coffee is freshly brewed by the baristas! (whom I couldn’t figure out were Spanish or Italian)
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After a short wait, I was served my coffee.
I almost shed tears of joy while gulping down this piping hot latte.
It was so good, I can’t begin to describe how good it is. I have no words.
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I loved their latte!!
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There’s a separate corner for more people to fill in, but it’s pretty dark and private. The room was so quiet I felt intrusive so I asked the barista for permission to snap these!
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Wild and Wood Coffee is mad famous for their cronuts and they’ve won a number of awards for both their coffee and cronuts, apparently.
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So, are they worthy of being in the running for ‘London’s best coffee’?
HELL YES!
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Before I left, the barista asked if I’d be here the next day and I said, sadly no.
Firstly I can’t remember the way.
Secondly I will be sniffing out cafès along Notting Hill in the ‘moro!

One New Oxford St.,
Greater London WC1A 1BA

5 Things I Learnt about Dubai

This weekend, I’m in Dubai, feeling so lost about the city’s roads, culture, everything.

With Harper’s Bazaar World of Fashion, Fashion Forward Season 2, Global Village 2013 – 2014 and all those exciting events going on, no doubt Dubai deserves being hailed as the regional fashion hub. There are just soooo many things I can’t get used to.

It’s a lovely lovely city, especially Downtown Dubai! People actually offer to hold your bags while you fish for your wallet at small local delis. The grocer at Robinsons hands you your change on a dish like in Japan and waves you goodbye. And everyone holds doors for everybody else.

Fascinated by this city, really. Here are 5 things that sprung to my mind.

1. There are no Cafès. Period.
Gosh. What’s their secret? How do people get their daily cuppa?

2. You get stared at, if you’re female and alone.
Then they start walking backwards with their eyes still trained on you.

3. You get stared at, if your skin colour is different.
Yes I know I’m pasty and practically translucent

4. Barricades in (some very rare) Starbucks are meant to separate  men and women
That being said, I’m darn impressed by Starbucks’ Dubai interior designers. Omg SO PRETTY
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5. Everyone walks > an arm’s distance apart.
I thought it was just me. Until I observed and realised they just don’t walk close to anyone else. Like a habit.

Also, girls can bear their skin. It’s not a sin.
Contrary to my misguided belief, it’s alright for tank tops in the sweltering heat! It is just very uncommon. The girls here are also very very pretty.
Well, seems like I’ve learnt something new!