Making your home at Udom House
Udom House is not your average West Melbourne café.
At this Thai café, a favourite among locals and visitors, you can trade in your eggs on sourdough for Pandan Kaya, a Thai toast delicacy of coconut-egg jam on regular white bread, and you can trade in your ham and cheese toasty for a chilli paste and pork floss jaffle, made from pastry and inspired by a dish from … you guessed it, 7-11.
On the coffee front, you’ll find your typical “Melbourne-style” options alongside Thai café stalwarts like Dirty Coffee, creamy milk with double ristretto, served in a frozen glass, or Es Yen, a cold Thai coffee drink shaken in ice with sweet and mellow silky foam on top.
Aum Phithakphon is the brains behind Udom House who “fell in love” with North and West Melbourne after working for locals, Mörk Chocolate.
“We are famous for street food in Thailand. You can find something to eat basically anywhere. When I moved here, it wasn’t easy to find authentic Thai food,” Aum said.
“Melbourne was serving Thai food, but it wasn’t very Thai. I just wanted to share that Thai food is really, really good when you do it properly.”
“There has been a lot of change since I arrived here 17 years ago, and we are starting to do it right. Put more herbs, more garlic, more spice and make flavours stronger.”
This past year, Udom House has continued to branch out from a predominantly snack menu, adding dishes like Isan-style Mhok Moo Yang with pork mince, banana blossom, spring onion, lemongrass, kaffir lime leave, dried chilli, shallot, and dill, and Gai Tom Bai Makarm chicken soup with tamarind leaves, served with jasmine rice (a perfect hangover cure).
“We have a lot of local customers who have become our regulars,” Aum said. “We are seeing some awesome Asian-inspired cafes opening in the area and we love being a part of it.”
“Thai coffee culture is huge back home, and it is served in every café in Thailand, but we didn’t have it here. So, I thought, I might bring it over and it is doing really well. People are keen to try different types of coffee that they might not have heard of. It’s a bit more creative and a bit more fun.”
“It has been awesome introducing people to different Thai foods like jaffles with pastry. It’s something that is served in Thai 7-11s, and it is seriously my favourite thing in the world. When I go home, I go straight to 7-11 to get this type of jaffle.”
For Aum, hospitality is in “my blood”, but it wasn’t a career to pursue a future in, until she moved to Australia.
Now, with a cult-like following, which sees crowds flock to her Victoria St café, Aum couldn’t see a future anywhere else. •
For more information: instagram.com/udom.house