Grocery shopping when hungry is one of the most rookie adult mistakes one can make.
Naturally, it’s one I make almost every single time. I go into Woolworths with the intention of just buying broccoli, tuna and some bread and emerge with three cans of Pringles, two tubs of Golden Gaytime ice cream, a 1kg tub of Trolli sour snakes, 12 cans of Red Bull, chicken tenders I’ll never cook and 2 polyester pillows because they were on sale.
Like…how’d that even happen? Damn it, stomach. This is the last time you’ll get me into this sort of situation (nope).
If only there were a grocery store combined with a restaurant that would just let me eat and then shop without feeling the need to make it rain.
What’s that? Jarern Chai Boon Cafe in Thai Town near Haymarket is one such place?
Let’s check it out:
Brought to you by the guys behind the popular Chat Thai franchise, Jarern Chai Boon Cafe (Boon Cafe) is one part Thai grocery store and one part Thai cafe combining traditional breakfast staples with Thai flavours. Think avocado on toast with pork crackling.
Actually, let’s get straight to that part:
Avocado on toast is one of those things everyone feels like they can do well. Hell, even I back myself as long as I’ve been to the grocery store (and actually bought groceries outside of microwave pizza and potato chips) and have all the resources necessary.
However, the odds of me having crunchy pork crackling handy are quite low. Sprinkled all over the avocado and herbs; the crackling adds a delicious salty crunch.
Something simple with a Thai twist, welcome to Boon.
Think super silky eggs with accompanying toast that’s almost soaked through with butter.
Though it doesn’t look like a tonne of foods, it’s an egg-cellent amount for you to whet your appetite to delve into the rest of Boon’s menu.
These baked eggs were absolute dynamite.
I generally prefer shakshuka style with a tomato base, but this definitely made a strong case for me to ditch tomato based versions for good. The number of Thai spices in play in this small pan were ridiculous, it was like a Spice girls concert minus the girls and fans.
There was also a tonne of meat fresh from the Thai grocery store next door; think Meet Fresh minus the shaved ice and boba.
That was a bit of a stretch.
A match seemingly made in heaven, I couldn’t resist going for crab and pasta all on the one plate.
There’s a nice smattering of crab mixed into the pasta and hardly a bite went by that didn’t contain some crab. The pasta was very firm, chewy and coated in rich tomato sauce with chunks of tomato hanging around waiting for you to stuff them in your mouth.
I didn’t enjoy this dish too much as it felt under seasoned but the amount of crab throughout and rich tomato flavours probably put me in the minority.
The egg yolk is placed on top like a star surrounded by a solar system of firm pasta and herb infused Thai sausages. I loved the use of basil in this dish, it was a common denominator through every single forkful of pasta. The sausage is very meaty and satisfying to dig into.
The shredded cabbage is also a nice touch as it mixes up the texture and adds some freshness to the dish.
Now this is some pasta I would like to pasta time with.
Starting with the toast, the bread was super flaky and warm; almost like a croissant.
The toast by itself with any old spread would’ve been quite amazing; topping it off with pandan and condensed milk provided an incredible sugar hit.
Hit me baby one more time please.
Once again, the warm and flaky bread Boon offers is on full display. The contrast between the creamy gelato and the toasted bun is absolute magic and made me channel the Venga Boys:
Boon boon boon, I want you in my room. Let’s spend this brunch together, togther in my Boon.
Here’s the TL;DR for everyone who expected me to make a business is boon-ing joke:
– It’s about damn Thai-me that someone thought of combining the best of Thai and the best of brunch.
– If you’re with the homies and they’re discussing brunch options, try to sneak a s-egg-way into getting the baked eggs at Boon.
– Seriously, can we toast the toast that Boon has on offer? Awesome stuff.
Jarern Chai Boon Cafe, Haymarket
425 Pitt Street
Open 7 days: 7am to midnight
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