239 Victoria St Abbotsford, VIC 3067
|Opening hours||Mon-Fri 8am-3pm, Sat-Sun 9am-3pm|
|Features||Cheap Eats, Breakfast-brunch, Vegetarian friendly|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
|Payments||eftpos, Cash, Visa, Mastercard|
|Phone||03 9041 1525|
"Jinda Thai is a family business. We have eight family members working in it," says Prem Tanpapat of the Abbotsford institution. So when a Jinda person married, and the family grew, it seemed like time to expand the business too.
The new cousin-in-law, Phon, brought Melbourne cafe experience and baking skills with her. "We mixed her cafe skills with our Thai restaurant skills to bring something different to the Melbourne cafe scene," Tanpapat says: and so Oneyada Cafe was born, a Melbourne-Thai hybrid breakfast thing.
If you're having trouble imagining what Thais eat for breakfast, think of the kind of food you'd find in one of Bangkok's early-morning wet markets – rice soups and grilled roti – mixed with Vietnamese-influenced dishes from Thailand's north-east.
One of the stand-outs from that wet market selection is the jasmine rice soup, a big bowl of steamed rice swimming in clear chicken broth and topped with pieces of sweet, steamed barramundi. The flavours are clean and pure, lifted with fresh ginger, spring onion and coriander: delicious, soulful and very south-east Asian.
Guay jub yuan is another go-to dish. This soup comes from the north-eastern Thailand province of Nakon Panom; Tanpapat's grandmother was born in Vietnam and migrated there after theVietnam War. Grandma Jinda still cooks it for Sunday family breakfasts. It's a lovely bowl of glutinous rice noodles in a pork broth topped with minced pork and Vietnamese-style pork loaf, made all the better if you add an optional onsen-style egg, and a few drops of a house-made chilli oil that must be Melbourne's spiciest.
Cousin Phon shows her baking skills in the kaya bread: two soft white rolls in that familiar Asian "pan" style, with two little dishes of kaya sauce made from coconut milk and condensed milk flavoured with pandan and pumpkin. This is a treat with the Thai-style filter coffee, made from imported Thai grounds brewed with brown sugar and served with condensed milk on the side ("Thais like their sweets," Tanpapat says).
Roti prata is a common street food in Thailand, where it's usually a simple affair of grilled roti slathered with condensed milk. Oneyada adds house-made coconut ice-cream and fresh fruit for a sweet Melbourne breakfast edge, while Tanpapat describes the kai toon tom yum, egg custard served with tom yum soup, as a "fusion dish that we created".
"Thai customers love it," she says. "They have never tasted anything like it."
We love the kai gra ta, a north-eastern dish of eggs baked in the pan with slices of cocktail sausage, Chinese sausage and minced pork, topped with an enoki tempura-type thing and served with a hunk of crusty toasted white bread. It comes to the table with a caddy of sauces – Worcestershire, ketchup and Maggi.
Hybrid? You bet. But bring us one of everything. It's all in the family here.
Vibe: Rice soups and grilled roti: Bangkok-style market breakfasts add to Melbourne's cafe scene.
Pro Tip: Espresso coffee from one of Melbourne's best (but least known) speciality roasters, Maker Fine Coffee
Go-to Dish: Guy Guay jub yuan