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“in the end... (as they publicise) real western food”
Review of Bamboo Lounge

Bamboo Lounge
Ranked #1 of 18 Restaurants in Luang Namtha
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $0 - $7
Cuisines: Italian, Pizza, Healthy, Cafe
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast
Description: We use authentic delicious western food to empower the local community. Food you're craving from home with a combination of fresh local ingredients and imported specials such as real cheese, bacon, olives from our nearest supermarket 7 hours and an international border crossing away. We have woodfired pizzas, Italian pastas and risottos, big breakfasts, awesome sandwiches, real espresso and top notch cocktails. All our staff are local ethnic minority people with no prior English language, food preparation or customer service skills. They come to work with us to learn English and how to work in the hospitality industry. Our profit is donated to the Luang Namtha Books In Schools program to increase the number of textbooks in the local schools from the current 1 per 3 students to everyone having their own set of textbooks. So far we've donated over 2,800 textbooks to local students. Come in to our training restaurant to help us support northern Laos!
Barcelona, Spain
Level Contributor
50 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“in the end... (as they publicise) real western food”
Reviewed February 19, 2013

great pizzas and any other food we tasted
pending and effective service
nice place to seat, relax and enjoy
if you finish a 2 days trek this is the reward you deserve

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank oce1972
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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195 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    115
    49
    24
    7
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hebrew first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Enschede, Overijssel, Netherlands
Level Contributor
17 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“High prices for 'standard' food and drinks”
Reviewed February 15, 2013

Me and my girlfriend have been to the Bamboo Lounge to have a drink. I had a mango-banana shake and my girlfriend had a cup of hot chocolate. The mango shake was 'ok' but overpriced and not worth the price they where asking. The hot chocolate was also quite expensive and it didn't even deserve the name. It was bitter tasting dark powder that tasted more like coffee. The reason i'm not giving the restaurant a 1 star rating is because the couple next to us had a pizza that looked good.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Kevin K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForestRetreatLaos, Manager at Bamboo Lounge, responded to this review, February 17, 2013
Hello and thanks for your review. We're so sorry you didn't have an awesome experience at our Bamboo Lounge! And we wish you had have told us at the time so we could have recitified the situation when you were here.

Our hot chocolates are made from Milo, (a sweetened chocolate drink popular in NZ, Australia and the UK) so the only way we can think of that it could have been bitter is if one of our brand new trainees (of which we have just taken on 4 more in the past 2 weeks) made it with plain cocoa... there is no way a drink made from Milo could be bitter when it contains sugar in the mix already.

Please accept our huge apologies for this error; our training school (the Bamboo Lounge) takes on young Lao people with no prior experience in cooking, drinks, customer service or English language, so sometimes when we're busy things do slip through the cracks.

We aim to train every single staff member/trainee one on one to learn how to make everything, and quality control everything before it leaves the kitchen. This year we have become so busy that we are finding this really challenging to give all our new traineess the full attention they need. We have just also taken steps to fix this, by employing 2 more westerners who have just arrived to help us share skills and more effectively teach our trainees. We also have one more westerner on the way here to further help our skills sharing process, to make a total of now 7 trainers for our 12 trainees.

We wish you all the best on the rest of your travels and hope you have only excellent travel experiences from here on. And if you, or any friends you might know would like to help us educate these young Lao people, in the only training facility in Luang Namtha province and therefore their only opportunity to learn these things without leaving their villages and families, please come back and share your skills with us! We welcome all foreigners who are willing to share their knowledge to come and help us in our mission to support rural northern Laos.

Happy travelling.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
“Great service and delicious food”
Reviewed February 6, 2013

The service is excellent here, everyone definitely pays attention to the customers. They are also very friendly and chatty, and it's a good place for travelers to socialise in the otherwise quiet Luang Namtha.

The prices are a bit higher than places nearby, but they import a lot of western food (milo, cheese, etc) and they pay their local employees very well, so the money's going to a good cause.

They have gluten free and vegetarian/vegan options, as well as an extensive pizza and drinks list.

A really great place for a bite and a chill

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank hannah-s-h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Linz, Austria
Level Contributor
88 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Kiwis working with Akha people!”
Reviewed January 25, 2013

Thanks to Karen and Andrew from New Zealand who started this prjoject to support the young people of the Akha Minority. First we did not want to enter the cafe as it advertises "Western food" in the middle of North Laos. But then we tried and went in and loved it. Yes its cracy to eat Pizza in North Laos! But this Pizza on good thin Itlaian dow is worth to be eaten. Baked in the new old style oven in front of the Cafe on real wood fire.
The concept is to employ young Akha women who don't even speak english and train them in English and tourism work. So we showed a yound women being the first day in the Cafe our wish o the menu and Karen stood behind to just support if necessary.
They also run a trekking business where you visit minority people villages.
We wish this project all the best!
Who liked this new and upcoming project maybe also would like the Joy's Guesthouse in Chiang Mai with the childrens shelter foundation.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Helpful?
Thank anjop58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ForestRetreatLaos, Owner at Bamboo Lounge, responded to this review, February 4, 2013
Hi and thanks for your review. One small point to note is that we do not support ONLY Ahka tribes people, we also have staff from the Tai Dam tribe, Tai Lue tribe, Sida tribe, Pounoy tribe and Khmu tribe. We support any young people who want to come here and learn English, and hospitality skills such as cooking, making cocktails, or serving customers. All of our staff come to us with no English, and no prior experience doing anything other than planting or harvesting rice. We are currently the only establishment in Luang Namtha province to provide this training to young Lao people with a willingness to learn.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Level Contributor
49 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Exceptional Atmosphere and Ownership”
Reviewed January 23, 2013

Forest Retreat is owned by a very friendly couple from New Zealand (Karen and Dre) who take their job as resident expatriates quite seriously. Their food is quite good and the coffee isn't bad at all. However the main drawing card of the cafe is its atmosphere - there's an excellent mix of music going at all times, and the crowd is excellent. Karen and Dre are incredibly helpful and genuinely interested in making sure everyone has a good time. They can provide plenty of advice about things to do and see in Luang Namtha, and it's one of the few places you can sit and have a beer after 10:30pm. A trip to Luang Namtha wouldn't be complete without a few afternoons whiled away at Forest Retreat.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Niko S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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