Tuesday 14 January 2014

My Secret Cafe

Yes, this charming cafe really lives up to the name, and I do wish that it really is a secret... Which means I shouldn't really write a post about this! LOL

When a friend first took me to this rather well hidden location... my first thought was... wow! This is rather adventurous.... Then it was... where on earth are you taking me? She took me through a beautiful tree lined street, crossed a little canal, over a dirt road, and into a rather bushy carpark with no building in sight.

A short stroll through a row of roses later, a pink house appeared. I excitedly quickened my step towards this littIe cafe. I could see immediately that this would be a very nice and relaxing place to hang around for the afternoon.

The decor is an eclectic mix of antiques from various places, but somehow they work! The cafe itself is very comfortable and cosy.

If you like to have a bit of a walk afterwards to burn off some calories, you'll also be able to wander the grounds of My Secret Cafe, may be say hello to the resident dogs and horse, walk over to the large pond and check out the guest house.

Ja Jaa, the lovely young Thai owner lived in the UK for about 10 years, and studied cookery at an Irish country hotel before returning to Thailand, which explains the unusual (for Chiang Mai) country style cakes in the cafe...At My Secret Cafe, you'll be sampling homemade cakes such as Peach and Kumquat Upside down Cake (90 baht), GCC- Giant Cookie Cake (90 baht), Apple Cake (80 baht), and more..

The Peach and Kumquat Upside down Cake was nice and moist - quite lovely, and with chunks of peaches and kumquats providing a nice contrast of flavours and texture.

The GCC was exactly that - a giant cookie. Nice, chunky and rich.

We also had the brownie, which was very lovely and rich with all the chocolaty goodness. Perfect for a chocolate fix.

In terms of beverages, I ordered a Nutella cocoa drink. It was quite nice, but wasn't very hot when served. 65 baht. Hot coffee here cost about 55-65 baht.

....all these between two people...we were extremely full!

From front and going clockwise - GCC (Giant Cookie Cake),
Peach & Kumquat Upside Down Cake & Chocolate Brownie

The second time I visited with my family one afternoon, there weren't many cakes left. However, Ja Jaa was making fresh waffles - Thai Tea Caramel Waffles (with caramel sauce that has been infused with Thai tea) and Chocolate Chip Waffles. We ordered one of each and they both were fantastic - warm, crispy on the outside, richly flavoured and soft on the inside. They were great ... some of the nicest waffles I've had!

All in all, we all really enjoyed My Secret Cafe. It's such a charming place, and very relaxing. A perfect get away for an afternoon. The homemade country style cakes are lovely and very different from what you'd get elsewhere. Really worth visiting!

My Secret Cafe
10/4 Moo 3
T. Sanpheeseur A. Muang
Chiang Mai
Tel: 081 499 9911
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Secret-Cafe/160854730624889
Opens: Tue-Sun 10:30am-5pm

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Sunday 5 January 2014

Shang Garden @ Shangri-La Hotel (Now China Kitchen)

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope everyone has the most wonderful and happiest year ever, and of course, filled with delicious food!

Today, we will visit Shangri-La Hotel's new Chinese Restaurant - Shang Garden, a much welcomed addition-at least to me, and I'm sure to many Chiang Mai residents!... and it's not just any Chinese restaurant... it's a restaurant that offers dimsum... and the food is great!

Shang Garden's Hong Kong chef, Jackie Chan, came from Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok....So things are already looking pretty good! After my first dinner at Shang Garden on 30th Dec 2013, I was very impressed with the food, and the price seemed pretty reasonable for the quality, but the service that night though, was very lacking and slow. It could be that they were quite short staffed, but we decided we could put up with the slow and not so great service (as the food was so good) and go back to have a dimsum lunch before my brother and his family go back to Australia in the afternoon. Fortunately, the service this time was much better, but the tea refilling rate was still pretty slow so we had to rely on a bit of self-service there. (It's not a big deal, but you'd expect the service to be perfect in a 5 star hotel, and especially if you'll be paying 10% service charge on top of the food prices.)

OK...on with the food review!

Deep Fried Mashed Taro with Shrimp and Chicken. This is my brother's favourite dimsum dish. It's very nicely done at Shang Garden, very nice "pastry", firm yet crumbly, with mild filling with subtle flavours. It was served kind of luke warm though... would have been better if it came out hotter. 140 baht.

Xiao Long Pao - steamed pork dumplings (with soup inside). Very nice skin and lovely soft pork filling. Be careful eating these though, as the skin is quite delicate. If you accidentally poke a hole in the "skin", some of the soup might leak out! 70 baht.

Baked BBQ Pork Pastries - (front dish in the photo below) - These were great! Buttery melt in your mouth pastry with sweetish BBQ pork filling. 60 baht.

Steamed Crispy Rice Rolls with Shrimp - (back of photo)  This is a really special and surprising dish. Highly recommended if you come to Shang Garden. Looks kind of ordinary, but as I bite into the soft looking "fresh spring roll", there is a surprising crunch!  There's a crispy spring roll inside the rice paper wrapping. Served with hoisin sauce. 90 baht.

Crispy Noodles with Seafood - This is also a pretty special dish. Lovely crispy noodles (which is also pretty nice eaten by itself) with stir-fried seafood and vegies with lots of gravy/thick soup which you put on the crispy noodles. The noodles stayed kind of crispy and a little chewy in the gravy - very nice. 460 baht.

My 6 year old nephew and 3 year old niece (who are rather fussy eaters) loved the Steamed BBQ Pork buns so much  2 extra servings were ordered to take on the plane. I thought the buns were rather nice too - the "skin" very soft and smooth. 60 baht.

The total bill for 5 very full adults and 2 kids came to about 2700 baht (including tax and service charge).

Shang Garden
Shangri-La Hotel

Lunch: 11:30am-2:30pm
Dinner: 6pm-10pm

Tel: 053 253 888

Website: http://www.shangri-la.com/chiangmai/shangrila/dining/restaurants/shang-garden/

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