This week I was supposed to have a lunch meeting with my friend Devin but he completely bailed on me (lol, jk. He was feeling under the weather, all good Devin!) We were supposed to go try T.H.I.S. Place, a cafe near MacEwan downtown (10382 105 Street). I still wanted to try it because I’d seen on Instagram that they were going to be switching to a new fall menu soon. I wanted to make sure I got to try their summer menu before it was too late. So I asked my friend Pam to join me for lunch at T.H.I.S. Place instead!
T.H.I.S. Place has been around for about two years. The acronym stands for To be Happy Is Simple. I’d heard about this place from a few food blogger friends, and at the time (two years ago), the place was owned and run by Tom from one of my favourite restaurants Lan’s Asian Grill. (Not sure if it’s still run by them), I didn’t see Tom there and the couple who manage the place and Instagram for it aren’t Tom but could be a relative (I guess I could just ask!)
It was really hard to find (personally I thought) a few years ago but recently I’ve noticed it a lot more I think due to updated bright green signage on the outside of the building. The inside space is nice, clean and simple, lit with natural lighting through the big windows, and has a really zen feel to it. There’s lots of interesting paintings all over the walls, and overall it just has a great, relaxing, cafe vibe to it. The zen feeling is definitely in line with its ‘To Be Happy is Simple’ motto.
Pam and I tried their Green Onion Cakes, Chicken Vermicelli Bowl ($9.50), Sweet Peanut Roti ($6), Iced Milk Chocolate ($3.50) and Raspberry Lemonade Popsicle ($3).
We were pleased with the food! The green onion cakes and vermicelli bowl is not anything stand-out or utterly different from a green onion cake or vermicelli bowl you’ve tried at other Asian restaurants, but they were good and the price is great. The stand-outs for us were their specialty drinks/desserts.
The Sweet Peanut Roti was so tasty. The presentation was beautiful, and Pam thought the roti itself was very authentic to its Malaysian roots (crispy, sweet, with condensed milk). I thought it would’ve been even more perfect with Nutella! Lol. They actually had Nutella Banana Spring Rolls on their menu but it was crossed out the day we were there, I bet that would have tasted glorious.
The iced milk chocolate was really good. I really liked the texture and thought it was a perfectly refreshing drink. Pam really liked her popsicle and was impressed they made it from scratch.
Overall T.H.I.S. Place really excels with its from-scratch desserts and specialty drinks. If I worked or lived in the area, I could see myself stopping by a lot for that. Their actual meals menu is not too large, featuring a few vermicelli dishes, some Thai curries, spring rolls and salad rolls, (and that’s changing up soon for the fall anyway), but I think where they shine is really in the desserts + drinks area.
Unfortunately service was not great when we went for lunch. The vermicelli bowl and green onion cake came out fairly quickly but Pam’s sweet peanut roti was MIA for about 40 minutes, which is pretty insane since it’s a smaller dessert too. They had a steady stream of customers throughout the lunch hour, nothing crazy but it definitely wasn’t slow. Even our iced milk chocolate drink and popsicle took about 10 minutes to deliver. With just two of them (one cooking, one taking orders), you could see that they were bogged down and unable to handle all the orders in a timely manner.
But the atmosphere was really fantastic, again – very zen. I felt calmer sitting there, when I wasn’t feeling anxious wondering when the food was going to come out, lol. I think their selection of drinks and desserts, and the ambience and look and feel of the place, make T.H.I.S. Place a fantastic cafe spot. The main savoury dishes were also good (but nothing too different than what you could get at a different Thai/Vietnamese spot). If they hire maybe one more person to help speed up the lunch rush, I think it would really help them out. They’re out of the two-year restaurant danger zone (when restaurants/businesses are most likely to fold) so they’ve obviously captivated an audience here (and I think probably get great customer action from the MacEwan students). I’m curious to see what they offer for their fall menu and I’ll likely come back for the iced milk chocolate (so tasty!) and if they keep the Nutella Banana Spring Rolls, I definitely want to try those!
So have you been to T.H.I.S. Place? What did you think!