The sun is hovering above my head, and it barbecues me as I defy dust and Chiang Mai’s traffic. It is always challenging to find parking inside the city walls and the moat. If you do not want the car chained and forced to redeem it at a not too nearby police station, you sometimes have to park a short distance from where you intended. I’m on my way to the fairytale cafe, as my daughter calls it. The real name is Into the Woods.
It derives from the Disney musical Into the Woods from 2014. I want to ask the owner about the choice of name. What was it that the baker said now again? Outside the forest was a small village? Here it is a vast city. I remember some fractions from the film. For instance, several Disney heroes, including Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood, got stuck in the woods. However, they did find their way out. Moreover, they would have a chance to live with the baker for a new life opportunity.
In my case, I guess seeing my way out is not an issue here, well, maybe because it is so lovely that you don’t want to leave.
It is a relief to mentally leave the big city behind and step into the cafe. To begin with, you are met by a message from Hogwarts at the door. Secondly, you realise that the person who created the place is fascinated by the Into the Woods musical.
The owner is probably somewhat of a bookworm. It proves immediately when you see a bookshelf with a library down to the left—a place to borrow a book and sink on the couch. The wall on the right is adorned with Little Red Riding Hood Rapunzel and more Disney characters. It was created on the Into the Woods theme without any doubt.
What piqued my interest in coming here was the famous dish sponge cake. Yes, you heard right. A bestseller that is difficult to distinguish from a natural dish sponge.
The owner Khim, (name from the Thai musical instrument), explains to me that she baked butter cakes and the intense yellow colour reminded her of something. She went out into the kitchen and saw the dish sponge and realised that it was the one she was thinking of. So the idea was born to create this dish, which also has a lemon flavour that makes it all even more reminiscent of dishwashing.
The cafe also serves light lunch dishes, not compelling you to eat cakes only.
But it does not stop there; the whole room, when you examine it, is really like a fairy tale. The pillars that support the cafeteria are trees; the toilet is a disguised wardrobe and a secret door. Ooops, sorry for the spoiler. The wall shelves are overflowing with different dolls, miniature toy figures but not least bottles with magic potions of various kinds.
Khim prints out the excellent texts herself and is a big collector of toy figurines.
I have followed Khim on Instagram for a while, fascinated by her ability to innovate and the imagination visible in her creations. She often posts an artistic latte with a particular theme, with a book lying next to it. It can quickly be from cute fairy tales as from scary movies. Or a famous person like Steve Jobs.
She also has a unique attraction to horror stories and that kind of film. There is also an interest in everything Korean, but as I said, the name Khim is purely Thai. Just a coincidence that it is reminiscent of the Korean name Kim. But her curiosity in Korea has meant that she has spent a lot of time learning the Korean language.
I also note a chessboard. It insinuates a bit that it’s a dream for nerds at this coffee place. It is so lovely that it is an oasis where you can sit for a long time. Escape the noise outside. And, of course, there is an explanation for the chessboard as well. Khim is a big fan of the Netflix series The Queens Gambit. I told her my son loves her cafe. He is tired of all the coffee places where you only take pictures and selfies. Here you can take your time, sit down, relax. Order a Devils Mocha. And he likes chess.
The menu is like a storybook in itself regarding the names of the drinks, not least. The pastries are, in their sense, fabulous or downright scary. Every Halloween, things like “severed finger” cookies, “brain cakes”, and “eyeball jelly” are served here. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with for next Halloween. She said that one year some of the decorations even scared some kids to come in.
Before I have to rush out into the heat again to go and get my son from his drama lesson, I ask Khim for a Latte Art Creation. She asks if I’m a dog or a cat person. I answer that right now; we only have a cat at home. So when a cat is drawn in my latte. It takes her less than a minute.
I leave the cafe with even higher respect and fascination for someone who not only lets her dream be a fantasy but someone that turns the imagination into a reality that you get to be a part of.
– Just a moment!
– One peculiar passing moment.
– Just a trick of the woods!!All said by the Bakers wife while in the woods.