One of the newcomers to the oh-so-up-and-coming lower Sydney Road area is Tom Phat. They've been around for a good 18 months or more and unlike many of the cafes in the area which do most of their business in coffee and eggs, Tom Phat have made a name for themselves as a relaxed place to get good food at any time of day.
The owner comes from working for 11 years in the outrageously busy Vegie Bar on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy. I have often stared into the hellmouth that is the Vegie Bar open kitchen on a busy night and thought that the pace would certainly not be for the faint of heart. None of this poncy shmoozy television cheffery here: we're talking tightly muscled urban kitchen guerillas. The kitchen at Tom Phat would seem quite restful in comparison, though it's a far cry from retirement for one who has certainly paid heavy dues.
All the dishes feature an asian spin, including cafe staples such as bacon and eggs. I enjoyed the scrambled eggs on roti with bacon, which comes as a deliciously messy pile of the elements mentioned as well as a tomato, basil, spring onion and coriander salsa with a lime juice and fish sauce dressing and two fragrantly spiced fried potato dumplings. These were not mentioned in the menu description and it was a nice added touch to the plate. Coffee was excellent.
Service is usually fast and friendly. On this occasion the waitress forgot to bring (or the kitchen forgot to make?) a side of mushrooms which I ordered. Just as well because I was very pleasantly full at the end of breakfast but it's worth noting especially as the side appeared on the bill.
Tom Phat seamlessly blends breakfast to lunch to dinner which seems to reflect the way we eat. Breakfast at 1pm on a Sunday is served alongside people sharing braised duck and a bowl of sweet thai fish cakes alongside people having cake and coffee. The atmosphere is always relaxed and there are always plenty on newspapers and glossy magazines if you are there on your own.
Scrambled eggs and bacon with roti bread and salsa $9.00
184 Sydney Road
03 9381 2374