Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Sunny Cafe, Springvale by Big Fil

My ears pricked up when Mmmm mentioned the possibility of trying a Taiwanese café in Springvale. After all, you could list the things I know about Taiwanese food on one hand with room to spare - bubble tea, stinky tofu, beef noodle soup and Din Tai Fung. After visiting The Sunny Café I can't say that I have a detailed understating of Taiwanese food, but I do have another café to add to the list of interesting places to take visitors.

First thing to point out is The Sunny Café is small, really small. From memory four inside tables in a smaller space than the average bathroom, any more than eight to ten diners and it starts to feel uncomfortably full. There are also a couple of tables out on the footpath but next to a pretty busy road which wouldn't be the most comfortable of places to eat.

The menu comes with the names of the dishes in Chinese and English, with English descriptions and photos making it easier to order the unfamiliar dishes. The range isn't that extensive - you could probably try it all in two or three group visits, but the fact that the majority of the dishes aren't familiar still makes it interesting.

One of the more unusual things is the way that the soya milk drink is served. Normally you'd expect a glass but The Sunny Café serves its soya milk in a bowl, with a spoon to drink from. With a choice of warm or cold, it's quite a good soya milk too.

Consensus favourites for brunch were the egg wraps (I missed the proper names). With a fried dough stick (made fresh in the kitchen) surrounded by egg, held together by the wrap and served with a small amount of soya sauce, it provides a great mix of flavours and textures. On a return visit I also tried the beef and plum sauce version, which was equally as good.

Something else which was very good was the beef noodle soup. With tender beef pieces, a touch of sourness from the preserved vegetables and the saltiness of the broth, the version here is one of the best I've had.

Other dishes tried include the Baso rice, which comes with a fairly heavy jolt of star anise flavour, and a whole plate of the fried dough sticks. But the other dish which rates a special mention is the dragon ball dumplings. While quite small and not the best shao long bao in Melbourne they are perfectly acceptable in quality and possibly the cheapest around at $5 for a serve of six.

The thing which really differentiates this cafe is the obvious pride in and care taken with food and service. Service is friendly and efficient, everything looks great and given the prices the food is very good. There are even a variety of cakes you can order to take away for later, including pillow cake (normal or orange flavour), yam, pandan, durian and pineapple. A little obscure but a great find which will hopefully never become too popular to get a seat!

Food - 8
Service - 8
Ambience - 6
Price - 8.5

6 Balmoral Ave
Springvale VIC 3171
Tel: (03) 9540 3804

The Sunny Cafe on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Bureaucrat said...

this place seems very similar to another Taiwanese cafe/restaurant in Glen Waverley. Can't remember the name, but for those ppl that know the area: it's near the station, opposite Dan Murphy's, and next to Hocking Stuart. This place also has a limited menu, bakes fresh products, is a good cheap eats, and has a very house-proud homely feel to it too.

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