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After You Dessert Cafe

December 13, 2013

Earlier in the year, my parents had gone on a vacation to Bangkok and when they returned, they told me about this popular new dessert spot that they had gone too that was not only good, but unique.  They took pictures, showed them to me, and though I was skeptical, they insisted that when my husband and I were in Bangkok over the summer as part of our vacation that we just had to give this place a try.  After doing some research on the Internet about the dessert shop since I was still wasn’t sure, I decided that it looked interesting and different, and certainly unlike any kind of dessert shop you’d find here in the states, so I figured we should give it a try.

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After You Dessert Café is a Thai dessert sensation that has quickly grown to 8 shops throughout busy parts of Bangkok.  The cafe’s motto is “There’s Always Room for Dessert” and when you see and try these desserts, you quickly understand why they are so popular.  Besides, it helps that their motto is probably one of my personal sayings.  After all, how can you say no to dessert?

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The branch of After You that I ended up going to is located on the bottom floor of Central Plaza Lardprao, which is a large shopping complex in the Lardprao neighborhood of Bangkok.  This particular location is really popular with locals that live in the area, whereas some of the other locations really play to very popular touristy locations.  The café is built as a large open air café in the middle of a walkway inside the mall with other restaurants and shops flanking the outside aisles of the mall.  We arrived on a Saturday night in the early evening and the place was already hopping!  We had a good 10-20 minute wait before we were able to grab a table.  Although the place was packed, seeing as they only serve desserts and sweets, people moved in and out of there pretty quickly.  This particular location is open from 10 am to 10 pm daily, though most locations have similar hours.  In addition to serving sweets and desserts, After You also has a limited breakfast/brunch sweet menu, hence the idea of opening a little earlier in the mornings than a traditional dessert café would.

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Here, when your number is called, you are seated at a table.  But this isn’t the type of café where a waitress comes up to take your order.  Once you’ve sat down, someone in your party has to walk up to the counter and place the order for the table.  Behind the service counter is an open kitchen concept where you can watch the employees preparing what you’ve ordered right in front of you.  Once you’ve ordered, you are given a number, and then when your order has been prepared, an employee will deliver your order to the table you’re sitting at based upon the number you’re holding.  There’s a variety of different items on the menu that you can order from.  There’s a line of unique drinks such as those pictured here, a fruit tart iced tea, popcorn green tea and earl grey milk tea.  But there’s also your traditional coffeehouse/dessert café drinks of lattes, cappuccinos, hot chocolate topped with homemade marshmallows, honey lemon tea, iced lattes, iced matcha lattes, royal Thai milk tea, lemon soda, strawberry limeade, matcha frappe, mango passion fruit frappe and hot apple cider to name a few.

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But the star of the show at After You is the desserts themselves.  Namely one dessert, the Shibuya toast.  Shibuya toast is the Japanese version of French toast and named after the Shibuya District of Tokyo.  Thick rich toast, which looks more like a huge cube of toast, is deep-fried, scored into squares you can easily tear apart and then served alongside sweets like maple syrup, fresh fruit, ice cream and whipped cream.  I’d never heard anything like this before.  Really, who has ever thought about having bread with ice cream?  I know that there is bread pudding where you take crusty bread and combine it with custard, and there is French toast that you can enjoy for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but I’ve never really thought about having toast with ice cream before.  I never thought that yeasty, doughy bread could be combined with ice cream and called dessert.  But, I was wrong.

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We ended up ordering two different types of Shibuya toast, the first was the cafes original Shibuya honey toast.  Shibuya dusted with powdered sugar and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and then served alongside homemade whipped cream sprinkled with toasted nuts and another scoop of vanilla ice cream.  On the side is served a small carafe of hot honey.  The idea is to pour the honey from the carafe right over the toast and the ice cream.  The ice cream slowly melts into the toast and you take a fork and knife and cut into the toast.  Take a bite into your mouth and you know this isn’t like anything you’ve ever tried before.  It’s sweet, it’s doughy, it’s rich and its delightful.  My family members who had taken us to After You ordered this dessert and it looked mouth-wateringly good.

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My husband and I decided to split the chocolate toast with banana.  In this dish, the Shibuya toast is topped with chocolate sauce, dusted with powdered sugar and then topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  The toast is then served alongside the homemade whipped cream topped with toasted nuts, another scoop of ice cream, and then sliced bananas that circle the plate.  The combination of fresh sliced bananas and warm rich chocolate sauce is heavenly.  Add to that the creamy and sweet vanilla ice cream and the rich and sweet Shibuya toast and the dish is absolutely phenomenal.  I think that my husband and I completely devoured the dessert in record time.  Neither of us had ever eaten anything like this and we were both a bit skeptical that this kind of dessert would even be tasty, but boy were we wrong.

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If we had had more time in Bangkok, you could surely bet that I would have gone back to After You Dessert Café again.  There were plenty of so many other amazing looking Shibuya toast varieties that I would have loved to try as well as some of their other dessert options and drinks.  Unfortunately, I just didn’t have the time to try them all.  But, next time I’m back in Bangkok, I think I know where I’ll be going for my desserts!

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