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Grub and gears at Bangkok's Pedalicious restaurant
Taking the fixie trend down new trails, an Ekamai restaurant caters to fans of the city's cycle culture
Bangkok restaurant owner Rafiq Ridzwan and his partners are fixie addicts. So strong is their addiction that the need to feed their habit led to a new venture, a hip hangout for other users craving a much-needed grub and gear fix.
Pedalicious, located in the quiet residential area of Ekamai Soi 12, in a two-story shophouse, is a bistro that was designed to serve as a hub for anyone passionate about riding, racing and the culture of cycling.
Outside, a rack of bicycles hangs from the wall. Within, the interior is cafeteria-meets-workshop, a pleasant space with simple furniture.
Just past the front door is a long dining table crowned by a Schwinn bicycle. Black and white photos, funky graphics and quotes punctuate the walls, all waxing lyrical about the joys of riding a bike.
One corner houses a variety of biking magazines and a small television set showing a parade of trick cyclists. You almost expect Queen’s “Bicycle Race” track to surge from the speakers.
“There was no real meeting point for cyclists in Bangkok, so we decided to open something that would serve as a community center for them, much like the Rapha Cycling Club,” explains Rafiq, a Malaysian whose day job is art director at advertising agency JWT.
He and his “gang” are part of the city’s 25,000-strong cycling community, and members of the Jao Noo Singh Nak Pan (or Mighty Mice on Wheels), a club for devotees of fixed-gear bicycles, or fixies as they are called in biking parlance.
“We are five partners -- the others are all ex-JWT, so our common bond is the love of cycling and creativity,” he says, pointing out that most of artwork on the walls was created by the artist in the group, Suraporn “Jekkie” Lertwongpaitoon.
A menu tailor-made for bikers
Another partner manages the finances of the bistro that opened its doors to neighborhood bikers last October. The remaining two, who worked in client servicing before branching out into the food business, put together the menu, a simple (yet sometimes quirky) mix of Thai and Western dishes that won’t break the bank.
Kick off with the Onion Cream Cheese Fries or the Too Crispy Chicken Wings that, while reminiscent of another popular city eatery’s offering, stands up to the test.
The signature Secret Pan-Fried Eggs is unfussy comfort food but indulgent with ham, bacon and herbs. The Lychee Parma ham, while an innovative take on the original, is a disappointment with the syrup sweetness of the fruit overpowering the salt in the ham.
Loaded as the food is with carbs for cyclists who need the energy boost, weight-watchers can order from a selection of salads with the Juicy Tuna Apple being the standout; chunks of tuna are paired with slices of Granny Smiths and drizzled with a Thai lime and chili dressing.
An array of standard Thai rice bowls offers a fulfilling quick meal too, while the pasta selection provides a few surprises with its east-meets-west flavours. One couples crunchy smoked lardons and dry chilies with perfectly al dente spaghetti, while in another wasabi breathes new life into the standard shrimp carbonara, giving it a zingy bittersweet flavour.
If the food isn’t enough to make you want to pedal across to this eatery daily, the drink list might. Thirsty riders who arrive by bike are offered a complimentary drink -- an adrenaline-boosting mix of Red Bull, grenadine and M-150.
And the one-page drink list offers a number of signature concoctions in addition to old favorites, both by the glass and to share, as well as spirits, beers and wines. Sample “Got Milky,” a creamy blend of Soju and Yakult, or Pedalicious' refreshing namesake with a bite that brings together Malibu, vodka and pineapple juice in blue.
The killer “Live Strong” is a knockout combination of vodka, tequila, gin, rum, Triple Sec and Red Bull. There are plenty of non-alcoholic options as well including Iced Horlicks, Pinky Milk and Mrs Potts, which you should head over to check out yourself as there are bike garage sales and live sessions on the agenda.
38 Ekkamai, Soi 12, Bangkok
Open Tuesday through Friday, 5 p.m.-midnight
Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-midnight
+66 (0)2 713 3377