A Glamour puss lands in Thainatown
Why shop down market when you can glam, why slum in eateries feeding backpackers when you can graze in style?
This is the David Jones food hall of Thai grocery & cafe. Siam food meets Vogue living. Everything about this Thai cafe and grocer screams understated style.
The food and produce here benefit from an uncommon glamour glaze which has been heavily applied.
The grocery keeps stock to a minimum, cleverly adding a few headliners to establish their point of difference. The attractive and attractively presented sai bua (lotus stem) in the cool room is a stunning case in point.
Perilla leaves, lemongrass, chives, sawtooth coriander and other standard mints found in most Asian groceries are carefully presented here, taking on a new, glamorous hue.
A similar make-over has been applied to a limited, but carefully selected colourful choice of fresh fruit; green mango, lychee and dragon fruit will wow.
More trendy products from Thailand and across Asia add to the boutique feel.
There’s no denying it, this is a pretty place. Walk inside and you feel like model turn singer, Sophie Ellis-Bextor gracing the bars, tuk tuk, street stalls in Spiller’s number one hit “If this ain’t love” (2000). Play the video and play model, go on, you know you want to…
Mercifully the staff at Boon Cafe are proles like you and me in looks and attitude, so the place maintains beauty without the grating snootiness. A rare, and welcome condition.
But what about the food?
The menu continues with the glossy mag feel and stunning photography, each dish leaping from the bound pages. They’re open from 8am for breakfast then lunch and dinner. The Thai menu is Issan influenced while the drinks are eclectic from standard single origin coffee, hot chocolate and loose leaf tea through to Thai coffees, and bael, pandan and lotus root iced tisane.
Mieng Bpla Phao is just a stunning looking dish. The tilapia fish is grilled and ready to be rolled in green leaves, mints, onion, vermicelli, tomato and lemongrass. It comes with three colourful spicy sauces. It’s a typical dish you’ll find around Thailand. Here, it’s presented brilliantly.
It’s hard not to swoon at the som tum Thai (spelt som dtum on the menu), fresh and lively it commands attention. Everyone else at the table loves the sweeter version. I find it lacks punch.
The larb bpedt (duck larb) is no less gorgeous to behold and I’m liking the fish sauce zest, a lot.
Gai yaang (grilled chicken) is tender and moist and is helped along with the dipping sauce.
You could get better Thai elsewhere, but then you wouldn’t get the prettiness. And there’s a lot of non-attitude prettiness.
It’s your choice… slum it with the proles or one night in [glamourous] Bangkok?
Boon Cafe at Jarern Chai
425 Pitt Street, Haymarket, NSW
02 9281 2114