Thursday 7 February 2013

Tom Phat

182-184, Sydney Road, Brunswick, VIC 3056

Tom Phat on Urbanspoon
This place scored 83% on Urbanspoon and I believe it used to be higher. This is a limited review because I have EVER only been for brekkie/brunch on weekends. It's a great place for breakfast with a difference. The best way to describe the food here is that  it is Southeast Asian Contemporary fusion.

The Place
Cafe style place with couches, tables for 4 or 2 (moveable) and a big 'sharing' table up the front. The place works and has a nice feel to it. Relaxed and comfortable generally (though the tables are pretty close to each other). This place is also pretty child friendly with spaces for prams

Other things to do nearby: Situated on Sydney Road, there's heaps of shops around and Barkly Square Shopping Centre is close by.

The Food
I like the food here because it combines elements of my favourite things. It has the best of Western Brekkie and Eastern Brekkie. So, here we go with the highlights;

Roti Omelette - we're talking shredded roti, laced with scrambled eggs and bacon, with chives. Come on, that's good right? And it's done really well, the roti is light, the eggs are fluffy and the bacons are flavoursome. It's all good.

Yunnan Baked Free Range Eggs (pictured above) - with sweet tamarind pork. This is another great combination, with the generous slice of bread. Takes me a while to get through it as it usually comes hot out of the oven. It's one of my most favourite breakfast meals ever!

Goan Scrambled Eggs with Chorizo - this is good but there's heaps to get through. As in, there's a lot of fluffy goan spiced scrambled eggs. :)

Sweet Corn Fritters - I like this too but sometimes, the fritters could get a bit dry. However, it comes with salmon, avocado salsa, and harissa mayo (you could ask for a top up of the mayo perhaps).

They are heaps of other interesting dishes and I must say, they are really vegetarian and vegequarian (pescatorian) friendly. Also, a number of gluten free items. 

Nods to Robbie and Ev, who both LOVE Uncle Ho's Brekkie (pictured right).

The Soft Shell Crab is also yummy and for the kids, French Toast with Bananas... lots of bananas.

I also quite like the Stirfried Angus Minced Beef with Basil (pictured below) which has quite intense flavourings. It's a huge serve, this one and might be worth sharing especially if you are thinking of having it for brunch.
Probably the most disappointing thing on the menu would be the springrolls which are completely underwhelming.

The Service
The service used to be really friendly and easy going but efficient. However, I tend to agree with some of the more recent reviews on Urbanspoon that the current crew of waitstaff seem a lot less interested in their customers needs. Pretty brusque and hurried (even when it's not that busy). A smile is a rare thing these days though the staff behind the counter continue to be relatively friendly.

Not sure what it is, and I don't mind it because it's not as if they are rude or anything - it's just now what it used to be, though the food continues to be of excellent standard.

I am going to talk about the clientale here - I just want to say that because the tables are so close together - how do I put this - do hipsters and aging hippies all talk so loudly that everyone close by have to know what's happening in their lives? I guess it's part of the atmosphere and it can get amusing sometimes. However, if you are there really early between 9 - 10, even during the weekends, it's usually relatively quiet.

A Cultural Moment
Southeast Asian Breakfasts can be pretty substantial and involve cooked meals. Unlike many Western cuisines, where there are clear breakfast foods, SEAsian foods don't always make that distinction. For example, you could have congee or laksa or pho or wonton noodles or roti (with curry) for brekkie or lunch or dinner.

So, if you are at a hotel in SEAsia where brekkie is included, you are in for a feast - it's usually more than your breads and spreads, bacon, eggs and hashbrowns. You are more likely to encounter food that you might think is inappropriate for brekkie - just remember - they don't make that distinction.


  1. Four of us went for dinner just before Christmas, and the food was lovely. It was, from memory, quite Thai influenced ?! I remember enjoying pretty much everything we ate... We shared a number of dishes and also had dessert. The service was also a little brusque at night time (it was a Sunday night and not very busy) but adequate. And the cocktails were good. Thumbs (and bottoms) up!

  2. If this "aging hippie" talks too loud in restaurants, I'll blame many decades of listening to heavily amplified music. What did you say?