Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Afternoon breaks at Hua Hin / Pran Buri : Eighteen Below Ice-cream @ Hua Hin and La a Natu @ Pran Buri

Towards the end of February / beginning of March, we had a chance to take a short break to relax at Pran Buri. Having heard rumour about the famous Hay Lobby and Eatery @ La a Natu Bed and Bakery and Eighteen Below Ice-cream @ Naeb Kehardt Road, Hua Hin, we did not hesitate to find sometimes to visit them. In brief, we are not so impressed with both places, especially Hay Lobby and Eatery in term of taste but they are ok when not crowded and happen to be nearby.

Cuisine: cafe food / afternoon tea
Price: THB210 per person without alcohol (what we paid for)
Visited: 1 March 2014
Food: 2/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Value for money: 5/10
Services: 3/10
Scale: [ 1=poor ----- 5=average/standard ----- 10=outstanding/exceptional ]

La a Natu is set right on the quiet beach of Pran Buri. The place has been resembled to give the natural relaxing ambient by using haystack for most of its accommodation. Hay Lobby and Eatery of La a Natu is well-known for afternoon tea and even the place itself is proud of its reputation. The Hay Lobby is not really a big which can probably accommodate around 30 guests max. The very best part is the cool and relaxing atmosphere. The dining room provides a good sea view but bear in mind of hot weather and strong sunlight in the afternoon.

La a Natu @ Pran Buri

village style surrounding

Hay Lobby and Eatery

relax ambient for afternoon tea certainly

The pricing of menu is not so cheap nor so expensive, modest in fact for a hotel. However, we are not really so delight with the taste of it. The first impression goes for the tea. La a Natu is supposed to be famous for afternoon tea. But we were served with Twinings. Good god, I could not believe and it was tea bag instead of loose leaf. In addition, the staff tried to pour us a cup immediately after the tea had arrived out of the kitchen. For heaven sake, the tea was nowhere near being properly immersed and infused.

The next disappointment was the pastry set in the afternoon tea set (2/10). If I remember correctly, there were 7 kinds of dish that were served: cheese sandwich (I really mean the simply cheese only), scones with whipped cream and jam, panna cotta, cheesecake, brownie, carrot cake, and chocolate cake. The scones were the first one to make me laugh. It was sure not a scone with that spongy texture and served with whipped cream and somewhat sour strawberry jam which was supposed to be the classic homemade. The panna cotta was the worst. It melted after a while leaving us with creamy liquid with strawberry sauce (that tasted like the strawberry jam). Not so whether the weather was too hot or there was too little gelatin in the panna cotta. The rest of pastry were just ok to eat.

On the service side, it was nowhere near hotel standard. Notwithstanding the aforementioned tea pouring service, we encountered a long wait for bill checking. We waited for quite sometime for changes to be returned and when asking, the answer simply was they had run out of change and needed to go somewhere for exchange. I presumed that I should have been warned or else something could have been adjusted. Well, I guess I had enough experience of this place. They are not so professional in the service. We sure will never return to this.

pastry and tea menu

happen to be just Twinings

afternoon tea set (THB350)

again, really great ambient

Hay Lobby and Eatery @ La a Natu Bed and Bakery, Pran Buri, Thailand - เฮย์ ล๊อบบี้แอนด์อีทเทอรี่ @ ลา เอ นาตู เบดแอนด์เบเกอรี่ ปราณบุรี
234 Moo 2
Samroiyod, Pranburi
Prachuap Khiri Kha

Open Hours: all day but 02:00pm to 05:00pm for afternoon tea daily
Tel: +66 (0) 32 689 941-3, +66 (0) 81 731 8688


Cuisine: ice-cream / bakery
Price: THB190 per person without alcohol (what we paid for)
Visited: 2 March 2014
Food: 4/10
Atmosphere: 5/10
Value for money: 3/10
Services: 3/10 (kind of self-service)
Scale: [ 1=poor ----- 5=average/standard ----- 10=outstanding/exceptional ]

Eighteen Below Ice-cream is located almost directly opposite one of the most famous Thai restaurant in Hua Hin, Ban Itsara. The place is just a block of commercial building. It was small and tiny with cosy but simple ambient and decoration. Here you have to be kind of self-service. In other word, you order and pay at the till, collect your order and find a corner of yourself to enjoy the chosen dish: similar to cafe like Starbucks. Be warned that the place can be crowded just after lunch time during weekend and I mean any weekend, does not have to be long weekend. We arrived just a short while after noon and when it came after 1pm, the place was packed.

Eighteen Below Ice-cream at Hua Hin

the tiny place

cosy corner

ordering counter

Eighteen Below Ice-cream is surely meant to be famous for ice-cream. However, we both found that pastry choices were more enjoyable. We had lemon cheesecake ice-cream (4/10) and strawberry ice-cream (3/10). Both were fine and creamy at a certain level. Lemon cheesecake flavour was more delightful to me with its stronger and cheesy taste on the palate, whilst the strawberry flavour was mild: too mild for me really. The ice-cream is priced at THB69 per scoop. We think it is expensive for the price actually. We would rather go for Swensen's at the price of THB55 per scoop with more flavour to be chosen and does not have go all the way to Hua Hin just to find ordinary ice-cream.

For the pastry choices, we had flour less chocolate cake (5/10) and lemon rare cheese pie (4/10). The texture of chocolate cake was interestingly soft but chocolate flavour was not quite there just yet. Lemon cheese pie was in the similar situation as the chocolate cake. The texture was smooth, soft, and lovely. However, the sour flavour was weirdly immense: not really sure if that was sour from lemon. Well, all in all Eighteen Below Ice-cream is not a bad choice to spend sometime in an afternoon if you happen to be in Hua Hin area. But not a specific destination for a detour.

flourless chocolate cake (THB120) and lemon cheesecake ice-cream (THB69)

lemon rare cheese pie (THB120) and strawberry ice-cream (THB69)

self-service please

"We all love ice-cream"

Eighteen Below Ice-cream @ Naeb Kehardt Road, Hua Hin, Thailand - เอททีน บีโลว ไอศครีม @ ถนนแนบเคหาสน์ อำเภอหัวหิน จังหวัดประจวบคีรีขันธ์
2/57 Naeb Kehardt Road
Hua Hin
Prachuap Khiri Kha

Open Hours: 11:00am - 05:00pm from Tuesday to Sunday
Tel: +66 (0) 32 512 208, +66 (0) 81 751 7057

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