CO-WORKING SPACES are all the rage in Bangkok these days and new facilities are popping up all over town to meet the needs of start-ups and freelancers who need a base that’s not their living room.
And we’re not talking about just office space. Today’s workspaces go far beyond the serviced facilities to include a brasserie, fitness studio, hostel and spa to make the working day a far more pleasant experience.
Glowfish Sathorn offers serviced offices, meeting rooms, conference halls and individual desks for startups and the self-employed.
Covering an area of 3,800 square metres on the second floor of Sathorn Thani 2 Building and easily accessed from Skytrain Chong Nonsi station, the new branch of Glowfish Offices is based on the concept of a healthy work-life balance. The office space offers serviced offices matched to business size along with meeting rooms, studios, conference halls, individual desks and collaboration areas. That’s complemented by stress-relieving workout studios Base and Physique 57 along with a recently opened co-dining space. Spread over 1,300sqm, it’s home to five eateries serving up a range of favourites including khao pad gapao (fried rice with meat and holy basil), Northern-style khao soi (curried noodle soup), Vietnamese pho, stewed chicken over rice as well as sandwiches and coffees.
Glowfish’s co-dining space offers premium comfort foods from five eateries in pleasant work-life environment.
“The millennial generation seeks a healthy work-life balance and we want our place to be a creative community that fosters a culture of sharing and exchange, and brings out the best out in every individual. That’s why we offer a flexible workspace, a motivating workout environment and a dining area designed specifically to meet their needs,” says Glowfish’s managing director Gavin Vongkusolkit.
Designed by IAW Architect, the 200-seat, self-service, co-dining space offers a choice of spaces. There’s a long wooden table for a large group, a high table and stool for those eating alone and two to four-seat tables for low-key socialising. Tropical plants, retro hanging lamps, natural wood tones and a turquoise vibe create a calm retreat from the livelier working and dining spaces. Free Wi-Fi and plug-in sockets are available for freewheeling Bangkokians. There’s even a pantry equipped with microwaves and dinnerware for co-working customers.
“You can come here to eat, have a cup of coffee, work or hold a formal meeting,” adds Gavin. “We focus on comfort foods with high quality ingredients and the four new eateries are run by young entrepreneurs who have passion for food and creativity.”
Estimates put the number of people working in the two Sathorn Thani buildings at around 8,000, and Gavin admits it’s a challenge to draw them into dining at Glowfish where prices range from Bt80 to Bt350 from their more usual and cheaper haunts at the nearby Lalai Sup Market.
“We can be a choice for people who prefer good food and nice environment, but we also have to come up with a promotional strategy to encourage customers to linger here over brunch, lunch, break times and dinner. So far, our regular customers are executives, young professionals and expats. We’ll open a beer bar with a live band soon and that can be a new hangout for after work,” he says.
Easy! Buddy presents Thai favourite khao pad gapao such as beef fried rice with marinated sirloin.
Often when people are unsure what to order, they opt for khao pad gapao – often referred to as a “silly dish”. The truth, though, is that the khao pad gapao offered at many street-food stalls is not particularly appetising. You get chopped long beans, onion, baby corn, carrot and a lot of oyster sauce, and maybe a basil leaf or two. It has little to do with the real recipe.
At Easy! Buddy, you can build your own dish with premium ingredients. Rice options are jasmine rice, sticky rice and quinoa. For meats you can opt for marinated sirloin slices, diced rib eye, salmon fillet, kurobuta pork and chicken liver pate. The choices of toppings are fried egg, onsen egg, creamy omelette, grilled sweet corn, pork crackling and chilli paste and the levels of spiciness are customised to your taste.
Fried quinoa with salmon fillet and onsen egg and cornbread with honey butter
Easy! Buddy is the brainchild of Thamtanut Hatayodom who runs a chef’s table of Western cuisine for six to 16 people at his home and discovered that the trimmed leftovers of beef taste great when stir-fried until crispy and cooked with rice, garlic, chilli and holy basil leaves. He was cooking the dish for his guests as a complimentary treat but they loved it so much that Thamtanut decided to open Buddy to Go and has been offering his khao pad gapao via a food delivery service last October.
Beef fried rice with marinated sirloin topped with fried egg, sweet corn, pork crackling and chilli paste
“Every dish is made fresh to order. I don’t serve stir-fried meats with leaves of holy basil over rice, but I cook the rice thoroughly with the ingredients and a special sauce. I use old jasmine rice and after steaming, it will be kept in a refrigerator overnight or for three hours for sticky rice. This helps to dry the grains out enough to give fried rice a good texture. If I use warm or just-cooked rice, the fried rice will turn out soggy, without those distinct chewy grains,” says Thamtanut who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Paris and worked in the kitchen at Kiin Kiin Copenhagen for six months.
If you don’t know where to start, pick up any one of the chef’s favourites, such as beef fried rice with marinated sirloin topped with fried egg, sweet corn, pork crackling and chilli paste (Bt250), beef fried sticky rice with marinated sirloin (Bt200), and fried quinoa with salmon fillet and onsen egg (Bt320). Snacks like cornbread with honey butter (Bt160) and toast with chicken liver pate (Bt200) are also available.
Viet Concept has Vietnamese classics like naem nueang.
Monica Singh loves Vietnamese food because of its abundance of vegetables but is allergic to chemicals all too often used to grow the veg. She decided to open her own contemporary Vietnamese eatery called Viet Concept.
“I use only organic vegetables delivered directly from the farm. As my mother is a native of Nong Khai province, I can source pho noodles made by descendants of the Vietnamese who settled here. I get my moo yor (pork sausage) from Ubon Ratchathani because it has a high percentage of ground pork with less starch,” says Monica. “With its minimal use of dairy and oil and the reliance on herbs and vegetables, Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines around.”
Pork pho noodle
The menu so far offers 16 classic Vietnamese dishes. The popular naem nueang can be enjoyed as a platter of pork meatballs, fresh herbs and vegetables and rice papers for you to wrap by yourselves (Bt280) or as ready-to-eat rolls (Bt120) for easy eating. Pho noodles can be served with pork (Bt135), shrimp (Bt175) or with a spicy fusion of tom yum broth and pork balls (Bt160).
Shrimp paste sugar cane skewers
Perfect for sharing with friends is a plate of savoury-sweet shrimp paste sugar cane skewers (Bt190). The ground shrimp is mixed with pork paste to add moisture and is wrapped around a stick of sugar cane then fried to finish and served with blanched rice vermicelli tossed with fried shallots.
“People working around this area are so busy and they eat without really thinking about it. I want to offer pleasurable eating. When we work hard, we should enjoy life,” she adds.
Nam ngiao noodle at North Sathorn
Lampang-born Siwat Tongpatanakul’s North Sathorn offers the classic dishes of the North prepared to family recipes. Nam ngiao noodle (Bt150) is a great balance of sour, salty and spicy flavours and has rice noodles with minced pork, diced curdled pork blood, chopped tomato and tua nao (fermented soybean) with pork crackling, pickled mustard greens, beansprouts and a slice of lime.
Nam prik ong
“I found that there are no Northern-style foods that look and taste nice around this area, so there’s potential for my business,” says Siwat, who is also a creative director of Glowfish.
Other favourites are khao soi gai (chicken curry and egg noodle, Bt150), grilled sai oua (Northern-style, spiced pork sausage, Bt125), and nam prik ong (ground pork, tomato, fermented soybean and chilli dip, Bt125). A favourite is the spicy tum mamuang (Bt100) with shredded green mango, fish paste, chilli and palm sugar tossed with dried small fishes.
Dessert is lumyai sorbet (Bt80) made with wood-fire baked longan from Lamphun and served with separate small cups of dried longan and brown sugar.
Stewed chicken/beef/pork over rice is a favourite dish with Sasi Uraiwanchai’s children. At her Hip Bowl, the premium, home-made stews are her selling points, made to recipes handed down through the generations.
Hip Bowl serves stewed chicken over rice prepared to a family recipe.
“It started with my grandmother who cooked for my mum. Then my mum cooked for me and now I cook it for my children. Chicken, pork and beef are slowly braised in herbal broth for two, three and four hours respectively and simmered with stock until the meat tendered. It’s a single dish that is easy to eat and can be served immediately –perfect for a quick meal,” says Sasi.
Stewed beef over rice
The stewed chicken over rice (Bt140) comes with mushroom, carrot, Chinese-style pork sausage and chopped green chilli while the stewed Thai-French beef over rice (Bt220) is served with fried, dried crispy chilli, julienned Japanese spring onion and chilli vinegar sauce. Diners can substitute rice for rice noodles or instant noodles. For an additional Bt60, you also get salad, dessert and hot/cold tea.
Take a break with a cup of coffee, a sandwich and sweet treats at Kuppadeli.
Gavin, who also runs the popular cafe Kuppadeli, has opened a new outlet at Glowfish where customers can enjoy a wide range of coffees, sodas and sandwiches made with sour dough, rye or whole wheat bread.
EAT A LITTLE
Glowfish’s co-dining space is on the second floor of Sathorn Thani 2 Building and easily accessed from BTS: Chong Nonsi station (exit 2).
It’s opens Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 8pm.
Call (02) 109 9600 or visit www.GlowFishOffices.com.