Bangkok's CODE cafe puts a Thai spin on Asian desserts

(THE NATION) - Korean shaved milk iced dessert Bingsu, Shibuya honey toast, charcoal bread and lava bun are all the rage these days so it comes as little surprise that Juthamas Sukumvitaya, owner of the dessert cafe CODE, has decided to go with the flow, though she adds what she calls a Thai twist.

Colourful fresh fruits, red bean paste and condensed milk are among the popular toppings for Bingsu, but Juthamas’s treat Coconut Dream Bingsu (Bt215) comes with such familiar treats as lod chong (pandan flavoured rice flour droplets), coconut jelly, look chid (candied palm seed), shredded jackfruit and pandan-flavoured crumble. The toppings are also served separately on the side along with palm sugar sauce turning the Bingsu into a modern take on ruam mit (Thai-style sweet mixed treats in coconut milk and ice).

“Though French pastries, Japanese cheese tart and Korean treats are popular today, Thais actually prefer the blend of sweet, creamy and salty that they’re used to in Thai desserts. That’s why I came up with a menu that emphasises Thai flavour,” says Juthamas.

She also combines the current fad of Shibuya honey toast, charcoal bread and lava bun in her Thai Tea Lava Toast (Bt175). It features a slab of charcoal toast and a side of whipped cream and vanilla ice cream. The toast is filled with melting Thai tea custard that oozes like lava when torn apart. 

“I went through a lot of trials before coming up with the right recipe for the Thai tea. It needed a flavour, a taste that wasn’t too sweet, a tempting fragrance and an attractive colour that set off the black bread. The blend uses three kinds of tea. The finest charcoal powder is also used to get the strong black shade and gives a good texture when it’s blended with the dough,” she adds.

A self-taught pastry chef, Juthamas learned her craft from cookery books and online food channels. She started her online business two years ago selling home-made brownies under the brand name Sweet Treats by Som (her nickname). The feedback was positive and she opened a kiosk at the EmQuartier six months later before expanding to the full-scale dessert cafe named CODE, which stands for Cafe of Dessert Enthusiasts.

 CODE dessert cafe at Jas Urban Srinakarin offers trendy sweet treats with a Thai twist in a relaxing ambience.

“It’s always been my dream to operate a cafe where people can hang out and relax while indulging in tempting sweet treats and refreshing drinks. I opened the first branch at Jas Ramintra, the community mall next to my house, in late 2015. I now have five outlets.”

The flagship store at the newly opened Jas Urban on Srinakarin Road is spacious, accommodating about 60 people. It also has two private rooms for eight to 10 people, making it perfect for a small party. Wifi is also available.

Salted Egg Yolk Sizzling Roti.

Other tempting hot treats are Lava Croissant (Bt120) with a choice of Thai tea, Earl Grey tea, and salted egg yolk fillings all dressed with vanilla crumble, as well as Sizzling Roti (Bt165) – crispy thin roti served on a hot pan with vanilla crumble, marshmallow and a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a choice of salted egg yolk, cocoa or Thai tea sauce.

Thai Tea Kakigori.

Also popular is the Japanese-style shaved ice dessert Kakigori and CODE has it in five flavours – Thai tea, cocoa, pink milk, passion fruit and blueberry from Bt135 to Bt145. The most popular flavour is Thai tea, which is poured over the generous helping of shaved ice and topped with fresh cream sauce and crunchy cocoa beads.

Nutella Lava Toast.

To welcome the festive season, Juthamas created Nutella Lava Toast (Bt265) and it’s available until the end of this month. The two-tone toast – butter and charcoal – is stuffed with sweetened hazelnut cocoa Nutella and is served with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, fresh strawberry slices, Ferrero Rocher chocolates and almond flakes as well as two macaroons in red and green colour. 

Blended coffees, iced teas, milkshakes and smoothies are also served. 

CODE has five outlets: Jas Urban Srinakarin, Jas Ramintra, Mega Bangna, Seacon Srinakarin and Terminal 21. The main branch is at Jas Urban on Srinakarin Road and is |open daily from 11 to 10. Call (02) 386 7348. Visit “CodeDessertCafe” page on Facebook.