When a beloved restaurant or café opens up a second branch, many questions can run through a regular patron’s mind – will it taste the same? Will the service be as good? Will it still feel like it’s the place I love?

To rest everybody’s anxieties about the newest Gallery Café, opened nearly a year ago in Chalong, the answer is an astounding ‘yes, yes and yes! Though the new addition has a more relaxed, home-like look, the popular menu remains the same, the staff as friendly as ever, and the chilled out, relaxed vibe still emanate.

Unlike its Phuket Town counterpart, Gallery Café in Chalong offers outdoor seating, which is a much-needed change for when you want a lazy Sunday to relax and eat your Avocado Eggs. (Yes, they are there and still as popular as ever!) Offering up some of the best coffee on the island and an equally delicious and extensive menu, Gallery Café has plenty of regulars who diligently order their favorite dish time and time again. I am no different! Like clockwork, I order my iced latte and Eggs Benedict with bacon instead of ham and am never disappointed. That’s why when I was given the opportunity to try other things on the menu, I felt very nervous and hesitant. But it very well may have been one of the best culinary decisions I have ever made!

First up was their Spiced French Toast with Bacon and Maple Syrup. Before I even took a bite, or a good look at the food, I picked up the dish containing what I was sure was going to be honey – as most of you on the island have had the heartbreak of this moment, I’m sure – but there it was, in all it’s glory, a good portion of REAL maple syrup! With that off my mind I could finally marvel at the thick pieces of French toast, thick, crispy bacon… in fact everything about this meal was thick, including the syrup! And let me just say, it was incredible! I am not one to order French toast, but this was amazing! Soft in the middle, crispy on the outside, equal parts sweet and savory, and there is nothing better than crispy bacon covered in maple syrup!

Just when I was about to declare my new favorite, a beautiful looking, cheese covered vision appeared on the table. A new menu addition, the Croque Monsieur has been catching my eye every time I come in, because quite frankly, if it says cheese and béchamel sauce in the ingredients I swoon a little inside, but faithful to my Eggs Benedict, I never swayed. A mammoth-sized, toasted ham and cheese sandwich topped with béchamel and melted mozzarella, this beauty tasted out of this world. Not only is it proper baked ham, not cheap processed cold cuts, but it was thick bread, creamy sauce, enough cheese to make you want to cry with joy – and the smallest, yet most important ingredient to bring it all together – a small amount of mustard to give it a kick and some tang.

I honestly could not recommend this more to anyone and everyone. Live a little, stray from the norm! And since I was on a roll, I really couldn’t leave without at least trying a non-breakfast related food item. Equally nervous to try something other than what I had just experienced, I had to remember that I could not compare a breakfast dish with a main. So when presented with Spaghetti with mixed seafood, I was very relieved! How can you compare French toast with THAT? You can’t! When it comes to pasta of any kind, I can be a bit of a hard judge. I love it more than most people love their friends. But just as the previous dishes, this was also a winner. Amazingly fresh tomatoes and basil, with just the right amount of heat, created the sauce for the perfectly al dente pasta filled with a generous amount of fish, squid, prawn and mussels. The sauce-to-seafood ratio was also perfect, melding the flavors together without one overpowering the other. This is a must-try if you are there for dinner.

So one might ask ‘what’s next’ for this Phuket favorite. People of Kathu, get ready! There are plans to open a branch there sometime next year! And you can be sure that the quality and amazingness will also be in tow! And for those avid diners who equally love Gallery Café, you can always ask for them to cater for you, host your birthday party, or just faithfully be there to serve you your favorites day in and day out. As for me, I will now have to roll a die or flip a coin to decide what I will order next time. Sorry Eggs Benedict with bacon, you will always be my first love!

Written by Katie, E-Table Asia