Jarern Chai Boon Cafe serves up Thai food in a cafe-style interior, half occupied by a grocery store stocked with staple dry goods as well as fresh produce and your favourite home made Thai desserts and side dishes.
The menu is an extensive ‘mash-up of thai classics and some inventive musings on staples’.
For lunch, I go for the Nahm Prik Makua ($11) with ‘northern region smoked eggplant relish, soft-boiled egg, soft herb & pickled cabbage salad’.
While well seasoned and tasty with a healthy amount of heat from the chilli dressing, the salad — made up of rocket, coriander, spring oinons, carrots etc — is the bulk of the sandwich. I was excited for the eggplant relish, but had much trouble finding it — and it was just a thin slathering on the bottom slice when I did find it. The soft boiled eggs, however, were cooked perfectly, and I would’ve appreciated more throughout the sandwich to balance out the generous salad.
On a later visit, I try the Chicken, Squid & Holy Basil on sourdough ($14) with stir fried minced chicken, squid, holy basil & chilli, and fried egg. I was debating between this and the Nahm Prik Makua on my first visit, so now I’ve tried both!
This sandwich screams with flavour. The generous heaping of minced chicken is well seasoned, although they’ve also used the chilli seeds in the stir fry, making them impossible to separate from the mince and turning up the heat from the chilli almost unbearable. Unlike the Nahm Prik Makua, which provides relief from the chilli in the mayonnaise from the salad, there is no relief in this dish. While my mouth was on fire, it did clear up my blocked sinuses from a terrible cold I was nursing.
To round off lunch, I have a Croissant with Pandan Custard ($6.00).
This croissant was absolutely delicious with lots of pillowy soft buttery layers. More butter is slathered onto the croissant before being topped generously with pandan custard. The pandan custard had a good pandan flavour with a beautiful smooth consistency and without being too sweet. It was moreish.
I start off with a Matcha Latte ($5) with the cutest bear in the foam. The latte was creamy and the matcha flavour was pleasantly vegetal with minimal sweetness.
And the chrysanthemum
The service was attentive and wait times for the food and seating were reasonable during lunch hour.
Jarern Chai Boon Cafe is located at 1/425 Pitt St, Haymarket NSW 2000.