By : MICHAEL MOORE
16 February 2016
About: Luka is a café located inside a branch of Casa Pagoda, a home furnishings store that serves Western “comfort food” made using high quality local ingredients that are organic whenever possible. In addition it has a wide selection of in-house organic teas and coffee.
Setting: The cafe is located on Soi Pan, the soi that runs from “Wat Khaek” on Silom Road to the Myanmar Embassy on Sathorn. It is housed in a building that was once used as offices by an architectural firm. Other than adding a large staircase in the middle of things to make life easier for customers and servers transporting food, the striking bare concrete interior remains largely unchanged. Things are made even more interesting by the numerous pieces of furniture on sale by Casa Pagoda, the furniture/lifestyle outlet sharing the premises with the cafe. Most of the eating and drinking takes place on the ground floor, while the second floor has a large table suitable for groups and a short counter for those who want to work while drinking and snacking. There is limited on-site parking and the restaurant is reachable by walking from the Surasak BTS station.
Menu: The kitchen is under the control of Sirote Udomthongsuk, a talented young chef with experience at some of Bangkok's leading restaurants, including Water Library, Gaggan and Savelberg. His relatively short menu features his take on Western comfort food with emphasis on Latin American and Mediterranean items. We especially enjoyed the Luka Breakfast Burrito (280 baht) made with organic eggs, cheese, sausage, avocado, green peppers, grilled corn salsa and sour cream that was enclosed in a flour tortilla and seared in a panini machine. We also lusted over the Olive Oil Brownie (210 baht), made with dark chocolate, cashews, grilled banana crema, passion fruit coulis, accompanied by a scoop of scrumptious salted caramel ice cream. Special mention also needs to be made of the teas and coffee. The cafe possesses a trained barista who has created a blend that ranks among the best we have found in Bangkok. One of the owners is a tea lover who has developed a menu of delightful single origin and blended teas. She occasionally offers tea tastings and has plans to convert a portion of the second floor into a showcase for teas.
Evaluation: A delightful marriage of setting and good food. Luka takes the minimalist, industrial movement currently engulfing Bangkok restaurants and elevates it to new levels, largely because of the furnishings provided by the lifestyle/furnishings outlet Casa Pagoda that are an integral part of the cafe. But Luka is more than a unique place to look at household furnishings. It is also a cafe with some of the best food and drinks we've found in a long time. Ideal for breakfast, brunch, lunch, snacks and drinks, this is definitely a place worth getting excited about.