The Night That Eat Me Was Born

I first stumbled across Convent Road in early 1997 and I was smitten with the lovely, leafy street with these towering trees.

I had heard about a restaurant on Convent Road where there was an art exhibition after I bumped into an artist who was handing out postcards for his show. The restaurant was Café Bongo and it was the coolest restaurant in Bangkok at the time.

I had quit my teaching job in Japan and had been hanging out in Bangkok for a month, when my visa finished, so I went down to Malaysia for a while.

My sister Cherie and her boyfriend had been working in London and Cherie had quit her job as a nanny and her boyfriend Damian who was a gardener did the same. We’d all left our jobs at the same time, so they decided to come and meet me and we’d do some travelling together.

We planned to meet in Bangkok and hang out there for a few days before heading to Koh Samet, so I was scoping out things for us all to do together in Bangkok when I met the artist with the postcards and discovered Café Bongo.

Café Bongo was cool. It was in a townhouse and it was very small. I guess it sat about 30 people. There were perhaps ten to fifteen tiny tables and it was a very beautiful design for the times.

It was so beautiful that when I took Cherie and Damian there, they thought it would be too expensive to go in. She’d been living in London where things were expensive and she was hoping to backpack around Asia for a while so didn’t want to blow the budget.

Of course I dragged Cherie and Damien in and it wasn’t expensive at all. It was fantastic.

The chef was a fun little guy, bouncing around, chatting to everyone. He was funny and flirty, and we lapped him up. He wanted to know what we were doing afterwards and we all went to Telephone Bar to drink and we had a great time.

We quickly became friends with Chef A and hung out together and we discovered that he wanted to leave Café Bongo and open his own place. Cherie and I were thinking of doing the same and had been chatting about opening a place together in Melbourne. We realised that we could learn from this guy while he realised he needed us for administration and front of house.

It was that night at Telephone Bar that Eat Me was born.

Darren