Quay Canteen - Wollongong CBD
There is the Bakery Boys located further down Crown Street in Wollongong city centre. But on the upper side along the mall, on top of another coffee place (the Square), lies a hidden gem, in the innards of the previous Central Chambers - climb up an unassuming stair case, navigate the narrow passages once you are on the first floor and head towards the corner balconies. The menu is mostly Indo-Chinese, but you still have Aussie favourites like croissants, avocado smash and banana bread.
Another perspective is that it is vegan friendly, has gluten free options and its catch cry emphasise "raw treats".
Then we noticed the French baguettes, and before long it was Good Morning Vietnam! Ingredients like fried shallots, coleslaw from the tropics, coriander, vermicelli salad and spicy sauces dotted the compact but diverse menu. A fellow luncher recommended to me the v salad - laden with pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds), mint leaves, cucumber slices, carrot and pickled daikon radish. We all felt like backpackers discovering this fusion of the best of Asia and Australia. I can have my breakfast waffles but they do not come with honey or maple syrup - instead they are served with Nam Mouc (or dipping fish sauce) and five spice powder flavoured mushrooms! There is crackling pork available to eat with cole slaw. Imagine fresh tofu presented on a baguette.
Quay Canteen has turned the tables on burgers and sandwiches. I can be messy with my disintegrating crumbs on the table from a bitten baguette, but the bite from a crunchy textured baguette is just so different from that with a multi grain bread or sourdough. I can have bbq pork with all these explosive but tasty Asian salad garnishing. We look out from the balcony but it is not Saigon or Hanoi. The food served is light, not over done and can be snacks, takeaway or a full meal. On display in the cake shelves are things like English banoffee and Italian rum choc balls.
|Looking out at Crown Street Mall - central portion.|
Maybe the coffee needs to be provided hotter. There is both inside and balcony seating - plus niches for couples who want more privacy. The cafe grew out of a clothes business and that original outlet - the Quay Supply Company - is still there, in an adjoining room. Hey, perhaps shades of Lee & Me in lower Crown Street! The staff wear black, the plates have black linings and even the coffee cups are black. I have yet to try the classic Vietnam staples like the Bahn Mi, rice paper wrap rolls and steamed buns - but aim to.
The Quay Canteen is located upstairs above the Square Cafe in the middle portion of Wollongong city centre's Crown Street Mall.
Address: Shop 5, 157 Crown Street, Wollongong NSW.
You climb up a stairs and then navigate through an area with small shop outlets, subconciously aiming for a corner of the building with two balconies over looking Crown Street Mall.
Orders are taken over the counter and help yourself to tap drinking water.
Opening Hours: Breakfast, brunch and lunch.