At a passing glance, Genius Bar may look like another new minimalistic coffee shop in a trendy mall — but as soon as you get a little closer, you’ll notice that there aren’t any caffeinated drinks in sight. The customers here are actually sipping on something savory: a nutritious, warm cup of bone broth.
Let’s talk about bone broth first. Among the many nutrition-based food trends circulating around the world nowadays — from low-carb diets to the proliferation of plant-based dishes — bone broth has been one of the most popular in North America, with fans of the stuff citing a long list of health benefits including anti-inflammatory effects as well as weight loss support.
Give it a Google if you’re curious — there are entire websites and forums dedicated to the topic — but of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t say that currently, such claims haven’t received any kind of solid backing from the medical or science community as a whole.
Coconuts Bangkok recently went to Genius Bar for a visit, and spoke to the shop’s co-owner, Darren Liu. He’s a certified health coach who was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and cites this background when explaining his familiarity with the health trend, since Toronto is, apparently, really big on bone broth.
Liu and his fiancee Kat Thongpeng, inspired by a New York bone broth cafe called Brodo, opened Genius Bar together because it is, said Liu, “essentially a passion project of ours to bring more healthy options to Bangkok.” The name is a nod to Liu’s favorite podcast “Genius Life,” hosted by nutrition consultant Max Lugavere.
Back to the broth: Genius Bar serves specialty broth made from grass-fed beef bones and organic chicken bones sourced from small farms. According to Liu, both are also completely free of antibiotics and added hormones. They simmer the bones for up to 18 hours in order to better extract the collagen, vitamins, minerals and nutrients from them, resulting in an easily digestible, intensely flavorful liquid.
The menus are as simple as drinking the broth itself. There’s a beef broth option, as well as chicken broth, vegan broth and mixed broth. A small cup is priced at THB135, and a large one is THB175. For another added layer of flavor, customers can also choose to add ginger, garlic, cilantro or turmeric, for an additional THB15.
When we inquired about the cafe’s current best-selling item, we got a surprising answer: It’s the vegan broth, said Liu. He told us that it’s made from scratch and uses five types of organic mushrooms from Kat’s Farm in Wang Nam Khiao — three of which are medicinal mushrooms (lion’s mane, cordyceps and agaricus). The broth, which has a “very unique flavor,” also includes other ingredients commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine, such as goji berries, red dates and wild Chinese yam.
We didn’t get to try the vegan broth when we visited since the shop ran out that day, but Liu said that it will be back in stock soon, as the next batch of mushrooms from the farm are ready to sprout.
Genius Bar is located on the LG floor of the Eight Thonglor mall on Soi Thonglor 8.
Genius Bar BKK is at G/F, The Eight Thonglor, Soi Thonglor 8, Watthana, Bangkok
Open daily, 10am-8pm
Phone: +6697 234 6482
BTS: Thong Lor