Brainwave Cafe, Ultimo


Brainwave Cafe in Ultimo offers ‘AusAsian Street Food’ heav­ily influ­enced by Thai fla­vours.


The kit­chen and ser­vice areas occupy the ground floor, with seat­ing avail­able in a mezzan­ine.


This is their Signature Thai Tea Latte ($3.30). The tea is sweetened and fra­grant with a mel­low flor­al note remin­is­cent of orange blos­som water, with a hint of spice (star anise/​tamarind?). As a latte, though, I’d have pre­ferred a cream­i­er body.


On anoth­er vis­it, I try a ‘craf­ted spark­ling brewed tea’ as a Virgin Blueberry Mojito ($4.50). What’s most inter­est­ing about these teas is that they use Thai tea, with its flor­al and spicy notes, as the base for the tea. Here, the blue­berry comes as a syr­up (above, left), and provides a fruity refresh­ing relief.


Their Popcorn Pork ($8) are crispy bits of fried pork coated in a sticky sweet and sour sauce. The pork is crispy — although the taste reminded me of chick­en nug­gets — and the sauce is more­ishly tangy.


This is the Green Curry Hot Dog with Beer Batter Chips and Chilli Mayo ($12.50), with wagyu beef saus­age topped with green curry shred­ded chick­en and crispy basil on a hot dog milk bun.

The chips were fluffy, although they could’ve been cooked slightly longer for a cris­pi­er fin­ish, and were seasoned with a very tasty chick­en salt. I wasn’t too keen on the chilli mayo, which tasted like sweet chilli sauce mixed with may­on­naise.


The hot dog came in a cute stumpy milk bun and togeth­er with the saus­age, tasted just like the saus­age buns from Breadtop — I like those buns, but the taste was not what I was expect­ing here. I’m not con­vinced it was a wagyu beef saus­age, as it tasted and looked much like a reg­u­lar pork saus­age. The shred­ded chick­en in green curry sauce, though, had a mild heat that was pro­nounced enough to be enjoy­able, but not so much that my mouth was set on fire. The basil leaves were crunchy this time, and added a good crunch. That said, the hot dog was impossible to fit into anyone’s mouth without first eat­ing some of the shred­ded chick­en!


And because I love pip­is, this is the Drunken Pipi Fettuccine ($14.00), a stir fry with chilli, basil, clam over fettu­cine and topped with crispy basil and pep­per­corns.


The dish is very spicy with the heat increas­ing as you eat, and it’s prob­ably on the high­er end of my tol­er­ance (which is very low), but it’s countered by the sweet­ness of the sauce. They’re very gen­er­ous with their pip­is — I coun­ted around 15 — and the amount of grit is min­im­al (in only one bite was it notice­able). I’d have enjoyed the fried basil more if they were crispy. It’s a tasty dish, espe­cially at the price.


To cool off the burn from the chilli from the fettu­cine, this is the Thai Milk Tea and ONA Latte Soft Serve ($3.00). The fla­vours can be enjoyed sep­ar­ately, or half-half in a cone or a cup. Each fla­vour has good cof­fee and Thai milk tea notes, with the lat­ter being more pro­nounced in fla­vour than the latte.


Brainwave Cafe offers a tasty and var­ied menu at afford­able prices. While you order at the counter, the ser­vice itself is attent­ive.

Brainwave Cafe is loc­ated at Shop 97/​732 Harris St, Ultimo NSW 2007.