Good cafes tend to feature comfort food, delectable treats and an inviting setting, without pretence. Steps with Theera checks all these boxes and also places emphasis on creating a more inclusive environment for people with learning differences.
For anyone unfamiliar with Steps with Theera, it is a social enterprise that is part cafe, part vocational training centre. It has now expanded to four locations across Bangkok and two in Phuket. The training centre here provides inclusive, UK-accredited vocational training programmes for young adults with learning differences, while the cafe offers trainees a platform to display their capabilities and helps integrate them into the community. Recently, Steps with Theera has opened another branch on the second floor of theCOMMONS Thonglor. The cosy cafe there operates the same way that the other branches do; serving wholesome eats with plenty of options for vegans, vegetarians and patrons allergic to eggs, dairy, sugar and gluten.
The cafe's interior is colourful, with light blue ornaments and splashes of green in the form of potted plants throughout the space. A small kitchen in a corner gives off a homely feel, while pictures of Steps with Theera trainees and lovely notes from customers on the large wall next to the kitchen add a heartwarming touch.
Tom yum rice bowl with shrimp.
The food here has both Western and Asian influences and focuses on bold flavours. Must-try vegan items include Cheese toastie (homemade spinach bread loaded with oozing nut cheese, B320); Penne pasta with creamy hummus sauce, spinach, pecans and cherry tomatoes (B270); Korean rice bowl (rice bowl topped with vegan sausage bites, mixed shredded vegetables, kimchi and sweet and tangy mayo, B290); and Full English breakfast (B380) that features vegan sausages, scrambled eggs made using pumpkin seeds, hash browns, tomatoes, roasted mushrooms, guacamole and spinach toast.
If you're a meat-eater, you should certainly check out their hearty non-vegan options, such as Tom yum rice bowl with shrimp (B270) and Steps pesto scramble (pesto scrambled eggs served on a spinach toast, B220).
Wash the food down with Fresh orange juice (B40) and Hot matcha (B100) enriched with soy milk. If you seek a more indulgent drink, get a Sea salt caramel latte (B140) or a Vegan affogato (an espresso shot with a scoop of dairy-free ice cream, B85).
The dessert menu further expands on the indulgence available here, with a Warm fudge brownie (B200) that is served with vanilla ice cream, banana brûlée, caramelised nuts and chocolate sauce. Those avoiding gluten should go for Gluten-free vegan pancakes (B115) that are also free of dairy, eggs, nuts and soy. At the restaurant's counter, you can find plenty more wholesome goodies in the form of Raspberry coconut almond bar (B100), Peanut butter cake (B160), Macadamia cookie (B85) and Caramel nut bar (B90).
Tom yum rice bowl with shrimp, Korean rice bowl, Steps pesto scramble. Photos: About Eatery
Steps pesto scramble.
Regarding Steps with Theera cafes, founder Max Simpson says in Guru's past interview (read more at bit.ly/3d0x3kt), "As a social enterprise, all profit from our branches go back into the organisation and we use that to fund growth, which in turn funds more training and employment opportunities. Our long term theory of change focuses on employment equality and by buying a coffee or cake from us, you can help contribute towards that mission."
Steps with Theera, 2nd Floor, theCOMMONS Thonglor, Thonglor 17 / Call 085-840-7095, visit stepswiththeera.com.