Nestled within Thailand’s Population and Community Development Association, Cabbages & Condoms is a cheeky place with a serious message. It proudly publicises the fact that “Our food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy” and, besides providing a unique dining experience, aims to promote better understanding and awareness of family planning. It does so by embracing – wholeheartedly – the use of condoms: as ornamentation, as an accompaniment to the bill, and as a substitute for after-dinner mints. It’s brash, playful and quintessentially Thai.
It’s also vegetarian-friendly, with a menu that boasts three pages (ten dishes) of vegetarian food. Sprawling over two floors, the vibe is relaxed, bohemian, and very popular amongst farangs. It’s located close to Korean Town, a little way down Soi 12. Big (neon) signs sporting the restaurant’s fabulously retro logo are everywhere – you can only miss it if you’re blind.
Apparently one of C&C’s ‘specialty dishes’, these things have all the characteristics of a satisfying spring roll. They are tightly packed with glass noodles, bean sprouts and sweetcorn. Spring rolls are usually a little too oily for my liking, but I think the glass noodles (and, surprisingly, the sweetcorn) provided an effective counter-balance. Good stuff, although a little pricey.
DEEP FRIED SOFT TOFU IN HOT & SOUR SAUCE (THB 120)
Beautifully arranged on the plate, this tofu dish arrived well-garnished and appetising. The taste was, however, a little disappointing. Although ‘deep fried’, the tofu was a little too soft. I would have preferred more crunch on the outside, softness on the inside. The promise of ‘hot and sour sauce’ equated to sweet chilli sauce, in which the tofu was drenched. The overall effect was one of mushy sweetness; not unpleasant, but not exactly what I was hoping for either.
GREEN CURRY OF FIRM TOFU & VEGETABLES (THB 120)
Another of C&C’s ‘specialties’, the colour of the curry was the first thing that struck me. More orangey-brown than green, the flavour seemed to match the appearance. The kaffir lime – for me the most important ingredient in a green curry – was overpowered by more pungent, peppery notes. The variety of vegetables was good (carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, baby corn, red chilli, snow peas, etc.), but they were a little over-boiled. Not a bad curry, but a little too deviant for my liking.
BOILED BANANA WITH COCONUT MILK (THB 60)
My first time eating boiled bananas, and hopefully not my last! They retained their form and texture amazingly well, and the boiling process seemed to really enhance their taste. The coconut milk added warmth and richness to the dish.
C&C is an interesting restaurant that promotes a good cause. Its style is bohemian brash, and it provides a decent selection of vegetarian dishes that, on the whole, are well-priced (given the location and positioning). The overall experience makes this place worth a visit.