Cafe Nomad opened around June this year and so far the quiet little cafe tucked away near the Thai Consulate hasn’t made itself known to the wider community. But that’s the way owner Sanghyun Jung likes it. He doesn’t want hordes of people tromping around his artistic little Vientiane cafe; he seems to want to keep things on the down low and entertain a small but growing group of regulars who come for the coffee and stay for the brownies (and the free wi-fi).
You can see why it took nearly a year to funkify a rundown shop-house and turn it into Cafe Nomad. The owner certainly has a sense of style, but what style exactly is it? The only way to describe his interior is rustic/industrial/retro! Walls are painted a warm yellow, like the cafe’s logo, with interestingly laid brick flooring, a plain cement ceiling and metal piping which underpin a mezzanine floor. Floor-to-ceiling bi-fold doors let in tons of light allowing a good view of the small but professional kitchen and barista area overseen by Sanghyun himself. Meanwhile an equine motif is evident by the toy horses adorning nearly every corner and engraved into some of the woodwork.
A comfortable-looking banc runs along the length of one wall so my friends and I chose a table around this. The rest of the seating seems to be either vintage or reconstructed ‘danish deluxe‘ chairs and stools which are comfortable and add to the retro design. But coffee is what I came for and luckily coffee is in plentiful supply at Cafe Nomad. You can have an espresso, an americano, a latte, a mocha, a caramel machiato or an affogato (I had to look that one up). There’s a good range of teas, fruit juices and shakes too. Whilst Sanghyun worked his magic at the coffee machine I didn’t see exactly what kind of beans he was using but my latte was the perfect temperature and the taste was creamy and mildly delicate. Another in our party had an iced chocolate which was described as the best in Laos!
Since the menu features only paninis, a panini is what I ate. I went for an egg and bacon panini, served on a retro pink plate, which was tasty but a little heavy on the onions and quite bitter as a result. Some others in our party tried the cheese and ham, which was nice, and also an Italian panini with pesto, mozzarella and meat sauce. After paninis came desert – a soft, chocolaty brownie with sweet french vanilla ice-cream. Delicious!
Cafe Nomad is a great little private lunch or coffee spot, particularly when you’re bored of all the mainstream places in Vientiane. There’s free wi-fi but you can also make use of the cafe’s free computer station with two flatsceen computers and and a scanner/printer. The cafe is located more or less opposite the Lao Singapore Business College and can be contacted by phone on +856 20 5434 9977 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Open Mon – Sat 10:00am – 7:00pm.