MADD was opened in December 2011 by Ralph Monthienvichienchai, who originally moved toLondon from Thailand to study at UCL. In Thailand, Ralph told me, ‘dessert houses’ are really popular. They’re like the coffee shops of Europe, where friends meet to socialise and share traditional Thai sweets. He wanted to bring the concept to the UK and so MADD was born. He wants the café to ‘feel like a second home’ so it’s got a bright but cosy feel to it. With the main seating area set away from the entrance you could easily forget you’re in the middle of bustling Soho, and be distracted for hours playing Jenga or Scrabble or Uno or one of the other games that are laid out on the tables. I really like this idea – it’s better than in other places where there are a bunch of games on a shelf somewhere but you daren’t get them down. At MADD, a bit of friendly competitiveness is positively encouraged.
What about the food? Helen and I tried a sharing platter of three desserts – mango cream, which was shot through with a mango sauce; warm sticky rice topped with mango pieces (Ralph’s mum’s recipe no less); and MADD’s take on the classic English fool, you guessed it, mango fool. Clearly, if you’re not a fan of mango, you’re not really going to be a fan of MADD (although there are cupcakes and other non-mango-based desserts on the menu) but we loved everything we tried. You can also get cocktails (mango flavoured, obviously) and it’s open until 11pm weekdays and midnight on weekends so you can enjoy a bit of late night dessert and gaming action too.
MADD is located at 53 Rupert Street, Soho, London W1D 7PH. Visit the MADD website.