Brainwave Cafe, Ultimo

I love chips.

I love them in bags, I like them in cans and I like them alongside my burger.

I love them covered in sauce, chicken salt and gravy.

I love Lay’s, Kettles and Pringles.

However, I don’t like Grain Waves. Screw those shoddy imitation chips.

I rather go to Brainwave Cafe in Ultimo.

Brainwave Cafe

Brainwave Cafe is one of Ultimo’s newest cafes and features a menu influenced by traditional Thai and Vietnamese cooking. A little banh mi this and a little Thai milk tea that, and voila: you get Brainwave.

Grab your imaginary surfboard and join this wave with me.

thai milk tea
Thai milk tea

In terms of beverages, Thai milk tea has always been one of my favourites. It’s quite sweet, most of the sweetness you get when drinking it comes from a heap of condensed milk….which is absolutely delicious. It’s very refreshing and goes down the hatch as smooth as the time I brought an extra umbrella out during a rainy day to give to the first pretty uncovered girl with my number attached

….ok, that didn’t happen. I just gave my umbrella away to the first pretty girl who asked and then I got a cold walking home in a storm.


brainwave cafe banh mi hot dog
Banh mi hot dog with Vietnamese style fresh salad, chicken pate and a beef sausage with light dressing

I know you want me to talk about the hot dog but I have to shine the spotlight on those chips. Holy chip, dude; those chips are amongst the best I’ve ever had. Seasoned to perfection and super crunchy with soft potato insides…I would’ve been happy with a board full of them and no hot dog.

Fortunately, there was a delicious hot dog alongside them, what a great relationchip.

Let’s talk about the bun; it’s pillowy soft and has a hint of sweetness. Encased between the bun is a hearty beef sausage. It’s meaty and packed with flavour, I have absolutely no beef with this fantastic beef sausage. The slaw (and accompanying pickles) is also very nice and adds a mix of textures to each bite.

However, I don’t really see how it’s a “banh mi” hot dog. It’s delicious but I couldn’t really taste the banh mi influence.

….they’re going to banh mi from the cafe, huh? Please don’t.

brainwave cafe pipi fettucine
Drunken Pipi Fettucine with chilli, basil and herbs

Now this is what I’m talking about. Available for both lunch & dinner, the pipi fettuccine comes loaded with pipis and Thai flavours.

Chilli & basil are the dominant factors with this dish and their influence seeps through to everything else on the plate. The basil appears to be flash fried and are reminiscent of kale chips. It’s not super hot but you can definitely feel the presence of chilli throughout the pasta and seafood.

Now the pipis. There are a TONNE on the plate and Brainwave is super generous with the amount. It really helped me with my see-food and eat it diet.

brainwave cafe soft serve
Brainwave cafe’s soft serve: Thai Milk Tea (left) & ONA Latte (right)

I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about the soft serve at Brainwave Cafe. I’ve heard that it’s icy, melts too quickly and isn’t of the finest quality.

Um, I respectfully disagree with everything I’ve heard. I’ve been twice now and have had three different variations and they’ve all been absolutely excellent. The Thai milk tea variation is literally a creamier way to enjoy one of my favourite beverages poured into a waffle cone. The ONA latte version is like an iced coffee loaded with cream and though that may sound like criticism, I assure you that it’s not.

Also, they’re currently doing a buy one get one free deal so you can get two soft serves for a grand total of $3!


Oh and here’s the final variation:

brainwave cafe soft serve
Thai milk tea soft serve blended with ONA latte.

Yes, Brainwave allows you to combine their two flavours to create the Captain Planet of soft serves. I prefer the components separately but this is a great way to get the answer to if you were ever curious as to what a Thai milk tea latte tasted like.


Here’s the TL;DR for everyone that has been hoping I’d re-brain from the puns and just produce a good and honest food review:

– Catch a bus, ferry or brain and get your hungry ass to Brainwave Cafe. Order anything on the menu and wash it down with the awesome Thai milk tea.

– Brainwave maybe new, but it’s here to stay. It’ll be inbrained into Sydney’s cafe scene for a long time.

Brainwave Cafe, Ultimo

Shop 94, 732 Harris Street

Opening Hours:

Monday to Friday: 6:30 to 9:00pm

Saturday & Sunday:8:30 to 9:oopm

Brainwave Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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