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Sweet’ N Salt in Ban Tai is owned and run by Juliette and Alex who are originally from France.
It comes from their passion for high quality pastries, cakes and other foods and a history of skill is put into action at their establishment.
Phanganist visited them one afternoon where a chilled out Roni Kush was waiting for his lunchtime sandwich, he said -
‘You can quote me in saying that these are the best sandwiches on the island!’
We asked Roni what his favourite sandwich was...
'Tough choice that, probably be the Chicken Mayo baguette, simplicity in its nature but posses a delicate balance of ingredients, wrapped in a persuasive and tantalising home made flowered baguette, which is both moist and bursting with flavour'.
This got us excited about trying some of their food but firstly we caught up with the lovely Juliette to discover more about Sweet’ N Salt...
Bonjour Juliette, so tell us your Koh Phangan story...
Four years ago we made a trip, we were travelling around and stopped here like everyone else does to go to the full moon party.
We then went back to France and was like ‘no, we cannot stay here!’.
We wanted to experience something new, to create a business here as it is a beautiful island with a great vibe, and so we came back one and a half years ago.
So did you know you wanted a cafe?
First we wanted to do snacks as the premises is in Ban Tai so we thought that it would be good for backpackers and it is more easy to do snacks.
But when we started I was also making pastries as I was a pastry chef in France and we realised that people liked it. We were getting more and more orders and now also do bigger things like birthday and wedding cakes.
Where did you learn your skills?
In Vosges, France. I was studying for four years, first just cooking, then service and reception etc.
After this I did a speciality course for one year and worked in pastry where I learnt my skills.
What do you love about it?
I like to make the birthday cakes, it means you can create something. I love my job, it’s a passion for me, I enjoy making something special.
Also it is a challenge for me when someone asks for something in particular and then it is my job to create it, I enjoy this.
Why the name Sweet’ N Salt?
Because we wanted to do snacks and pastries, lemon tarts and sandwiches, so we said ‘Sweet’ N Salt and people seem to understand that we make this.
What do you offer?
We offer sandwiches which we make fresh, we changed the menu just a few weeks ago in fact and have a meal deal for 90 Baht, it is a choice of three sandwiches and a soft drink.
We also have the ‘frenchies’, the chicken liver mousse which is a speciality and pork terrine and we also do breakfast from 10 am to 12 midday.
Everything is made by us, for the kebab we marinate the chicken ourselves, the pesto is homemade and we make all of our own bread like baguettes, ciabatta and classical buns.
We work with fresh and homemade products and as much local produce as possible.
Where do you get your inspiration for the food from?
My parents help a lot with this, they helped with the new menu. The inspiration also comes from the bakeries we have in France where you can get something tasty to eat without it taking too much time.
It is good to take away if you’re busy, Dj Roni Kush comes in everyday.
Is there a favourite or most popular?
My favourite is the ‘banh mi’ it’s asian, normally recognised as a vietnamese sandwich with lots of herbs with carrots marinated in white vinegar.
For the customer it is for sure the meal deal and the kebab.
How do you want people to feel in Sweet’ N Salt?
I think they feel good and they are very surprised with the meal deal as they think it’s going to be a small thing and when it arrives they’re like wow!
I think our customers are happy, I hope so, we are happy as when people are staying three or four days and they come back for a second time this must mean that they like what we’re doing.
Tell us about the sweet stuff…
We work with restaurants and sell a lot of pastries this way. We work with Doppio in Thong Sala, Fisherman’s and L’alcove.
People especially like the small pastries, when we opened we were making big cakes and cutting slices so instead we decided to make mini ones and then people can have two or three to taste.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
We feel good here so we don’t know yet, what we do know is that we will continue to grow our business and we would like to be a well known established place.
We will of course still be making the same good quality products.
What do you enjoy about the island in your free time?
We don’t have a lot of free time but when we do we like to go to Sri Thanu, I love that part of the island. Of course we also like to go to the beach and just relax.
What is your message to the people of Koh Phangan?
Don’t worry, just be happy here.
And leave us with your life philosophy...
Just to enjoy the present moment and see after what will happen.
We were very intrigued to try their meal deal so we went for a chicken mayo baguette which is extremely good value for money and like Juliette had said, is a nice big portion and everything is fresh.
The bread is a ‘proper’ baguette, floury but with a good crunch to satisfy your savoury cravings.
For any of the sandwiches on the menu you get to choose the type of bread and nothing is more expensive than 120 Baht (apart from breakfast which is 150).
Tourists and travellers should really know about this place for it’s fantastic food at such good prices as this sort of quality and standard is not readily available at most hostels which serve food.
Just a few minutes walk along the main road in Ban Tai where a lot of hostels are, you can enjoy a delicious, inexpensive lunch and relax.
Juliette’s personal favourite the bahn mi includes radish, carrots, green onions, cucumbers, sriracha sauce, aioli and coriander and is a classical example of east meets west with a slightly sweet burst of asian flavour.
Our favourite was the kebab with its marinated chicken in a sexy velvet sauce, red onions, tomatoes, white sauce and mint. Served in a lightly toasted pitta, it is slightly fragrant in taste but with an earthy warmth of spice.
Sweet’ N Salt has made the most of its location and the outdoor seating area feels like a private garden with its decking, foliage and comfy furniture. We enjoyed our leisurely lunch encased in plants which hide you from the road and passers by.
There is a lot of genuine love that is being put into Sweet’ N Salt and its food by Alex and Juliette, the pastries on offer are a wide range and we’re sure that everyone will find at least one which they love.
Juliette is very talented, she crafts them all with her own fair hands and knowledge and we have not tasted anything like this before! We tried a selection of sweets including the white chocolate tart, lemon meringue and caramel and nuts, we can honestly say that each one was superb and not too sweet in taste but scrumptious in flavour and its delicate texture.
Like many other establishments that we all drive past every single day and don’t really take note of or think ‘I’ll have to go in there one day’, Sweet’ N Salt really is one of those island gems.
It makes a place so special when you hear the story behind somewhere and the love and passion that goes into the food and products, Sweet’ N Salt does not disappoint.
We will certainly be taking our lunch there again in the near future and we wish Juliette and Alex the best of success.
Thank you very much!