Jarern Chai Boon Cafe is a half grocer/half cafe shop located on Pitt Street in Haymarket. The hubby’s favorite cuisine is Thai so we decided to check this place out for dinner. Jarern Chai Boon Cafe is owned by the same people behind Chat Thai and specializes in Thai sandwiches during lunch time and reverts to traditional Isaan Thai cusine for dinner. I read that they serve some pretty yummy dishes for breakfast as well but not sure when I will ever be in Haymarket early enough to catch that. I will have to be satisfied with their dinner menu for now.
The inside of the cafe is quite modern and stylish looking. We were seated towards the back of the cafe and had a view of the counter where the drinks are made and desserts kept. The only drawback at this location is the loud music playing above our heads (the speakers are mounted on the wall here!) We were treated to a number of 90s classics throughout dinner. Though I must admit it was quite nostalgic! Also due to the small space that the cafe occupies, tables are placed close together which could be a bit uncomfortable as you can hear what your next door neighbor is saying throughout the meal. We had to talk louder to drown it out!
As mentioned above, for dinner, Boon Cafe focuses on Thai cuisine from the Isaan food region. This North East region of Thailand harbors unique flavors and ingredients that closely resemble Laotian cuisine, which is based on fermented fish, crabs, brined/pickled, fresh herbs, vegetables and spice, the chili kind! I was eager try although I was not too sure about the spicy bit! We shall see! For dinner we had the following:
- From the Noodles Special, the Sukho Thai. A bargain at $5, we ended up having two of these and the fermented rice noodle ($3) instead of rice to go with the dishes. The Sukho Thai is a thin white rice noodle dish in a hot sour broth and contains chicken mince, ground nuts, ground chili and herbs, topped with a crackling. It was very appetizing and looked deceivingly mellow but the tongue was feeling the spiciness!
- Sai Grog Isaan ($12) – fermented pork and glutinous rice sausages. My first taste of this type of sausage and I must say I really liked them. The spiciness was bearable and the mixture of the meat and glutinous rice was delicious. I will order this again!
- Larb Gai ($14) – spicy minced chicken with toasted ground rice and soft herbs. This was tasty but still quite spicy for me although it is not as spicy as the one I had from Long Chim in Perth. My tongue was on fire after one mouthful of that but this one at Boon Cafe is much better.
For dessert I ordered the Croissant with pandan custard ($7). The pandan custard was thick and luscious, with just the right amount of coconut and condensed milk on it. I love this, and will definitely order this again! Actually the Pandan Croissant was one of the reason why I wanted to dine here in the first place and it didn’t disappoint.
There are so many different types of drinks to choose from at Boon Cafe, I love the menu as they have photos of most of the items so you can gauge whether the dish or drink would be something you would like. I decided to go for something a lil different, the Goldilocks Latte ($5). What is it? It’s actually cold pressed tumeric mixed with milk and vallentines medicinal honey. Wowee, a drink with many health benefits. Not your usual dessert drink but I kinda liked it!
My first taste of Thai cuisine from the Isaan food region did not disappoint albeit a bit spicy for me. Love trying something different. There is such an abundance of variety of food here in Sydney. I like! The Pandan Croissant was definitely a winner. Wish I live nearer so I can get to it more often!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Jarern Chai Boon Cafe
Address: 425 Pitt Street, Haymarket
Contact: 02 9281 2114