It’s Wednesday lunchtime and there’s a queue out the door at Carlton’s Humble Rays cafe. I’m told it’s always like this and it doesn’t take long to understand why.
It’s rare to find a place with this much genuine positive energy and happiness. The cafe’s motto, “Stay hungry, be humble,” reads clearly on the wall as you’re greeted inside by particularly playful and friendly.
Chef and co-owner, Sutinee Suntivatana is pumping out an array of Asian-inspired comfort dishes that play to a refined ‘umami’ balance of sweetness, sourness, bitterness and saltiness.
Here, the matcha latte is equally as popular as a standard cafe latte. Then you’ve got some more obscure options such as the caffeine-free hojicha latte, or a Thai milk tea.
There’s quite a cult following for the crab meat scramble, eggs benny and French toast here, which all feature generous portion sizes.
If you’re unfamiliar with a ‘Skookie’, it’s a skillet baked cookie and the offering here includes a classic with ice-cream, house-made marshmallow and chocolate sauce, or a red velvet sookie option.
The cafe even has its own merchandise corner with cute silk headscarves as the customers wanted to feel involved too.
“[The design] has happy stingrays on it because it plays with the name, Humble Rays, but also rays of sunshine too… it’s all very happy,” says Suntivatana.