It’s hard to miss Sibling Spice as you drive or walk down Koornang Road. Embedded in its clean, white-tiled facade, there’s a sizeable timber box commuters can step into and receive a takeaway coffee before hopping on the train at nearby Carnegie Station.
Enter the door beside it and you’ll find an expansive eatery doing Melbourne-style dishes, mixed up with Asian flavours.
Co-owner Bee Ekkittibutr and his family have run Paradai Thai across the road for 10 years. Formerly owned by her parents, the restaurant now belongs to Ekkittibutr and her husband James. With Sibling Spice, the couple wanted to leave their own mark on Koornang Road.
And different it is. The space is reminiscent of a school cafeteria, with large communal tables and booths. Smaller nostalgic details include shelves filled with schoolbooks and white chain-link fencing to separate the booths. Sketches of little kids are etched on the insides of coffee cups and reveal themselves as you sip away. Graphic designer Pop & Pac came up with the theme (inspired in part by Ekkittibutr’s young children) and Studio Y executed it.
The menu is varied. Breakfast might be a croissant with smashed avocado, dukkah, balsamic glaze and a poached egg; a Hong Kong-style egg waffle with strawberries, raspberry coulis and the ice-cream of the day; or breakfast ramen.
The Sibling Spice version has a 65-degree egg, sautéed mushrooms and bacon in a smoked-bacon broth. (There’s a ramen bar across the road, but it doesn’t open until midday).
Thai flavours kick in hardest after 11am, when papaya salad, green chicken curry, and pad see ewe chicken with flat rice noodles become available.
Coffee comes from Five Senses and espresso is made with a customised Synesso MVP coffee machine. And when it gets really busy, the baristas have help from an Übermilk – a fast, automated milk-frothing machine designed in Germany. If commuters miss their trains, it won’t be because Sibling Spice was slow on the coffee.
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