Eating for Good | Social Enterprise Restaurants and Cafes in Thailand

  • Time for Lime, Koh Lanta
  • Cabbages and Condoms, Bangkok

Time for Lime
Enviably located at the end of a beautiful crescent beach with ocean views – tick. A changing daily tasting menu that caters for every taste – tick. A wonderful mission to protect and improve the welfare of animals on the island of Koh Lanta – big tick. Time for Lime is perfect. 

The Time for Lime restaurant and adjoining cooking school were founded by Junie Kovacs in 2020. The organisation helps to fund Lanta Animal Welfare (also founded by Junie) – a shelter created to care for, rehabilitate and ultimately rehome injured, stray and mistreated cats and dogs on the island. The shelter also seeks to reduce the number of stray animals on the island through sterilisation, a programme through which they have had great success to date. In addition to food, Time for Lime also offers simple bungalow accommodation (you can have cats from the rescue centre stay in your room with you, so for cat lovers this is the dream destination).

My partner and I had paid a visit to Lanta Animal Welfare a couple of days prior to our restaurant visit, and it made our dining experience that little bit more special. Having seen the faces of the cats and dogs cared for by the shelter we were sure that our money was going to a great cause and couldn’t wait to get stuck into the tasting menu. The tasting menu changes daily so pick the day’s menu which appeals to you the most. There is also a lovely cocktail menu and given the location it’s the perfect spot for a sundowner mojito or two.

The 6-course tasting menu began with Mien Kham ‘taste of Thailand’ parcels, lots of little tasty nibbles such as dried shrimp, peanuts and honey which you wrap / drizzle into pepper leaves and munch down in one. In succession, we then devoured a spicy Tom Yam soup, hearty massaman curry and rice, and a tasty chunk of white king fish with green herb sauce and potatoes, and finally spring rolls bursting with scrumptiousness. To finish the belly-busting meal was an indulgent chocolate pot. To say we were full would be an understatement.

What I found really great about Time for Lime is that despite being a very local and unique social enterprise, the food and service are world-class. It’s not just a means to fund the animal shelter, it’s a high-quality dining destination and when island hopping through Southern Thailand, please do pay both the rescue centre and the restaurant a visit, you will not regret it. Time for Lime is on a mission to become 100% self-sustaining to ensure the survival of Lanta Animal Welfare well into the future, and we can all help to achieve that.

Time for Lime
72/2 Mo 3. Klong Dao Beach,
Saladan, Ko Lanta, Krabi, Thailand, 81150

Cabbages and Condoms
The most unusual of my social enterprise dining destinations to date has been Cabbages and Condoms. The name may not conjure up visions of culinary wonder, but beyond the interesting name the restaurant provides a fun and tasty dining experience. The social enterprise seeks to promote family planning and sexual health education and services, and was established to support development activities of the Population and Community Development Association (PDA) which operates several projects throughout rural Thailand. 100% of restaurant proceeds support PDA.

At the end of a quiet street, minutes yet a world away from the main hustle and bustle of a Bangkok main road, we were welcomed by a ‘Safety First’ canvas wall hanging, depicting stick men and women in various safe sex positions. The corridor turned into a fairy light lit walkway which opened out into a pretty outdoor eating space, adorned with plants, more fairy lights and a couple of sculptures created out of, you guessed it, condoms. Bar the strange sculptures, the effect created a pretty little oasis in the centre of Bangkok, and a popular little oasis at that.

We were seated at a table decorated with a colourful rainbow of condoms (below the glass table top). The extremely large Thai and Western menu (to give some scale, I think one of our dishes was dish number 86) has plenty to choose from and will suit even the fussiest of eaters. We went for the green chicken curry (a bowl of creamy comfort), spicy larb moo pork (pleasantly sour), stir fried vegetables and rice. 

At the end of the meal, instead of little after dinner mints, free condoms come with every receipt. Saying that, the theme of the restaurant doesn’t seem to put anyone off coming here, the bustling restaurant was full, with guests of all ages enjoying their dining experiences. Perhaps it’s a place in which to make potentially awkward subjects common place and the norm, surely something PDA seek to do through their work in the community.

We left with full bellies, two condoms and a sense of doing some good. We then giggled again at the cheeky stick men on the wall.

Cabbages and Condoms
Sukhumvit 12 Alley, Khwaeng Khlong Toei, Khet Khlong Toei, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand

Charity Cafes- The Delicious Directory