Introducing Guest Article By: Khun Kasinee Silapee
Cafe de Norasingha @ Phayathai Palace
Written by: Kasinee Silapee
Originally known as Kafae Norasingha (‘Norasingha Café’), the café was established in a small sala (‘pavilion’) in Sanam Suea Pa (‘Wild Tiger Park’), which is located just a short distance from Norasingha House and the Royal Plaza. Norasingha House currently serves as the Government House. This first cafe in Siam was established in the reign of King Rama VI, to be the place of noble people to meet and greet here.
Receiving both local and foreign diners, the café served coffee and light dishes, such as congee, sausages, ice cream, as well as local desserts. Many of the dishes were prepared in the kitchens at Norasingha House, which was then owned by one of the king’s most trusted officials – Chao Praya Ram Rakob (The Commander of Orchestra department at that time). This meant that diners at Cafe de Norasingha were lucky enough to be able to sample authentic Royal recipes. Unfortunately, the café would have to close as its popularity began to fall into decline amid the outbreak of the Greater East Asia War (also known as the Pacific War [1941-1945]).
Café de Norasingha reopened in 2003 within the reception area at Phya Thai Palace, which was an important palace during the reign of King Rama VI. It closed again earlier this year in order to undergo a comprehensive restoration program.
During the restoration, Yingyot Thapanapaha and his partner Wongsamaet Plangsukhum, both of whom had been involved in importing coffee-making machines and equipment from Italy and Spain, were made aware of Café de Norasingha and decided to open their own functional coffee shop nearby. While their café resembles a brand new outlet, where customers can order from a menu featuring numerous coffee and dessert options, diners are surrounded by some truly classic decorative features, such as chandeliers and mural paintings.
When the Cafe has been located in the palace, most of the beverage menu must be well-selected and perfectly suitable for the venue. Most of the food menu still remains the recipes of the original court rite tastes, which might be quite difficult to find in the general cafes. Even better, all prices of food and beverages are not expensive as you expected. Such as hot cappuccino is only 40 Baht, nice smelling of the coffee aroma comes with the soft foam on the top which is so gentle to your tongue and your throat.
All coffee seeds are well-selected directly from the plantation. But amid the heat of Bangkok, you might love to order Iced Green Tea Late to cool you down; this glass costs you only 65 Baht, the material of Matcha green tea imported from Japan, mixed with syrup and fresh milk. This drink will bring the delightfulness to your day. Besides those two menus, there are hot and iced Mocca, Chocolate Signature, Fruit juice and smoothies, etc.
The outstanding dishes as appetizers to eat with your fine coffee will be like Salty pork with toast, Catfish fried with chilli paste (130 Baht) The soft and juicy salty pork with the secret recipe from the court, eat with toast and Catfish fried with chilli paste which is not spicy but quite sweet. The other dish that you should not miss as it is ordered from every customer is “Khao Naa Kai” or Rice with Chicken Topping (85 Baht), the taste is as same as it is directly cooked from Chirada Palace (King’s resident). For this dish, you might miss the chance to taste it, if you come to the shop so late in the day, it has limited dishes to be served in each day.
After you finished the main dishes, you should have some sweet to end your course , I recommended Almond Meringue (95 Baht) or you prefer Blue Berry Cheese cake (110 baht), it’s also superb!
Though the time has been passing by year by year, Cafe de Norasingha never leaves you disappointed to let you taste the feeling of the past after spending time sipping coffee and eating foods here. If you still have more time, please do not miss to explore the Phyathai Palace, there is no charge for visiting and viewing stuffs inside the palace. If you need the narrator/ guide to tell you about the story of this palace, you should come at the weekend (Sat & Sun), there will be moderator to guide you through the historical periods at 9:30 A.M and 13:30 P.M. only each day.
Phyathai Palace 315 (adjacent King Mongkut Hospital), Rajavithi Road, Phayathai district, Phyathai, Bangkok 10400.
Mon: 08.00 A.M. -19.00 P.M.
Tue: 08.00 A.M. -19.00 P.M.
Wed: 08.00 A.M. -19.00 P.M
Thurs: 08.00 A.M. -19.00 P.M
Fri: 08.00 A.M. -19.00 P.M
Sat: 08.00 A.M. -19.00 P.M
Sun: 09.30 A.M. -19.00 P.M.
To read more of the work of Khun Kasinee Silapee On This Blog Please Follow The Links Below
Khun Kasinee On Thai Food
Khun Kasinee On Thai Travel
Khun Kasinee For Tips On Living In Thailand
Khun Kasinee On Thai and Bangkok Lifestyle
Where Can I Find More Interesting Articles And Information About Thailand
A History Of Thailand by Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit