The most pleasurable thing to have in Bangkok is space to walk. However, the metropolitan and developed areas of this city are simply too crowded to allow for this privilege. Surprisingly, most Bangkokians don’t seem to understand this simple pleasure I seek, or maybe they just don’t know how and where to find it.
The neighbourhood that I know won’t fail me in my quest is located around the Sao Ching Cha area. There are endless pockets of side streets and street corners full of surprises, as well as many legacy shops in which to sit, but not many in which to “sip”. That is, until recently when I was walking along Kokwau Street and stumbled across a little turn-off leading into a charming residential compound. I made my way into that quiet and peaceful alleyway, and instantly fell for its yesteryear charm. But the discovery of a hidden ‘Tea Room’, or Ran Cha, felt like discovering an oasis within an oasis!
The tea room’s setting evokes a bygone time and place, and upon entering I inhale the scent of Thai herbal medicine that perfumes the air. I then notice this fragrance co-mingling with the buttery scent of fresh baking, and am taken by surprise with all the above.
If what you need is to have a cozy corner to sit in and enjoy an Old Town feel, Ran Cha will serve you well. As for me I take a break from street food for a moment, and indulge myself with something different—ordering a matcha green tea and fresh baked scone for my afternoon nosh.
Khun Wii is the only person behind the bar during my visit, and she makes everything by herself as though she is performing a ritual. It’s a lovely treat. My green tea was carefully stirred using a special bamboo whisk, and prepared in room temperature water so the aroma would not fade away in the heat. The airy, fluffy milk topping gives the beverage a creamy taste—like a bit of female touch on the strong green tea body.
My first inhalation of the aroma was impressive, and the green tea taste was majestic. I also ordered one of the freshly baked scones—fresh from the oven—together with Wii’s seasonal jam on top. I am immediately impressed by the lightly toasted crispy outside, and dense but buttery soft inside.
But even more interesting to me about Ran Cha is the space itself. There’s a cinema theme, as the owner has lots of friends working in the film industry (and many special film events take place here too). The “movie room” on the side is a perfect size for 10 to 12 people to sit and have a private session—anything from private film viewings, to craft workshops, or just casual get-togethers in a unique space. I adore what Ran Cha is offering to the neighbourhood, and to all of us looking for a peaceful place to sit and sip.
Address: Ran Cha is in the alleyway opposite Wat Mahan Pharam parking lot gate. It is open every day except Monday, from 11:30am till 7pm.