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.