Bangkok Post reviews
Beary sweet fantasies
- Writer: Bangkok Post Editorial
- Published: September 21, 2012 at 8:52 am
A darling 'orphanage' with lots of milk, desserts and teddies for all
This orphanage’s got a marvellous tower packed with goodies for all.
If there is some god or gnome out there who brings overwhelming success to every restaurant a person opens, we're pretty sure Ashley Sutton has one up his sleeves. His newest joint, which just opened last month, Mr Jones' Orphanage, is already an easy home run. After already ruling a burger, cocktail, pizza and fish and chips empire, now he's finally invading the realm of desserts and getting a packed crowd daily.
If you don't live in a kingdom far, far away you would know that Sutton's restaurants thrive on their fresh creative concepts and interior design. This time, it's a cheery little orphanage that is home to a myriad of fluffy teddy bears.
If all orphanages looked like this, most children would probably want to be disowned: stepping into the milk bar itself is like stepping into a whimsical world of childhood fantasies. When you first step into a tunnel of fir woodwork, dozens of teddy bears on swings dangling from the ceiling will greet you. The interior consists mainly of carpentry to resemble a mix of an abbey and dollhouse, with vintage prints and toys as decor. A wooden carousel cage stands tall in the centre of one dining area and a magnificent silver tower of cakes fills the other room. The second floor resembles an attic, complete with the dark, low ceiling and crawling necessary to get around. A lovely, warm and welcoming ambience.
Chocky Mud Pie
You can also "adopt" a teddy-bear, complete with passport and personality, and bring him/her home. Half of the earnings from the bid will be donated to Camilian Home, a foundation for children with disabilities.
Albeit being a wondrous location that's overdosed on happy pills, Victorian-era fans will also dig this spot. All prints here are genuine vintage from Sutton's grandmother's cookbooks and all kitchenware is also custom-made to resemble tin plates and cups of the 1900s. Oldies that are played really give off an old-school Snow White vibe, although the petite furniture may be a bit tight for anyone who isn't a dwarf. This corner's become a little world of its own, a perfect blend of cutesy and archaic.
The first dreamer to arrive was Custard Cow's Poo (120 baht). We don't know if the joint is trying to win a medal for wackiest dish names, but they do set the place apart from others and establish a culture and identity of its own. The custard has a hole in the middle and is baked until chewy and slightly brown. The first stab with your fork may trick you into thinking it's a cold, sticky cake but it's not. The texture is weird and unfamiliar _ a hybrid between a chewy sponge and smooth custard, but tastes mildly pleasant with the vanilla sauce and strawberries.
The next sweet bite to come was Chocky Mud Pie (135 baht), a chocolate lava cake served with vanilla ice cream, strawberries, a pink flower and a toy car. With less cake and more "mud", the dish is lighter and softer compared to lava cakes elsewhere, but with a generous burst of chocolate. A bit too watery but it's a double win if you're into super-chocolatey. The attention to the little details, such as the teddy bear stencilled from sugar on the lava cake gives an endearing touch.
Mr. Jones’ Giant Marshmallow
The last signature dessert that was also a sheer enchantment was Mr Jones' Giant Marshmallow (120 baht). A lightly torched, enormous marshmallow sits on top of a biscuit in a shallow pond of chocolate sauce. The delightfully sweet and fluffy taste of the marshmallow is balanced by the bitter taste of the rich, dark chocolate sauce and crunchy biscuit.
The drinks are also big hearted with imported ingredients. Chunky Monkey (150 baht) is an aromatic milkshake with a perfect blend of coffee, chocolate chips and a hint of banana. The tangy Mummy (150 baht) _ a strong, zesty splash of mango and passion fruit _ is the best. A wide variety of drinks include milkshakes, hot tea, coffee, sodas, "adult" drinks, juices and hot chocolate, but the don't-miss is their homemade milk. The different flavours available are vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, spearmint and bubble gum (40 baht).
The last wonder, poached eggs with bacon, avocado and salsa (190 baht) also shows this place knows how breakfast is done. The two perfectly toasted slices of bread with just enough crunch serve as the base for the other plentiful ingredients. Salsa is a great add-on instead of the usual tomatoes _ it gives a tart taste to cancel out the salty bacon and creamy avocados.
But for every sweet dream you have, a nightmare kicks in occasionally. While the food and atmosphere is definitely flawless, some of the waiters give the impression that they are grouches and grumps that have dropped out of Roald Dahl novels. What this place is still missing is the sing-songy attitude and the syrupy sweet (even if fake) smiles. Other than that, Mr Jones' Orphanage has easily succeeded in creating a culture and identity of its own and deserves the title of a dreamy dessert destination in its own right.