Love fruit shakes, milk teas and coffee? Cafe Nho on Illawarra Road in Marrickville will transport you overseas with their lush fruit drinks and shakes. Mango and soursop smoothies are served alongside avocado and coffee smoothies and fruit cocktails served with crème caramel!
"I feel as though this should have the fight theme to Rocky in the background," says Monica lifting the cup of smoothie, best described as thick (or THICC) to anyone trying to suck it up with a straw.
She has brought me to this drinks and desserts cafe on Marrickville's Illawarra Road for a post meal repast. And considering Monica eschews sweets I know that it has to be good for her to want to visit here.
The menu is long, not unwieldy, more replete of choices, the sort of length where you buy four drinks for two girls and then decide on what you're going to order next time (because spoiler: there is a next time).
Smoothies come in flavours like soursop, mango & coconut, avocado & mung green. I flip and point at pictures and then we get down to business. There's an outdoor section as well as an indoor. All of the drinks are made fresh to order and the menu focuses on fresh fruit shakes.
This drink is one of the specials. Pennywort is a herb indigenous to Asia loaded with vitamins and it gives it a vegetal flavour much in the same way that spinach does in a green juice. This is balanced with aromatic pandan jelly and a layer of coconut milk foam on top. I like the level of sweetness of these drinks and it's hard to decide a favourite.
The avocado, coconut and black sesame is Monica's choice and I can see her doing her best to suck it all up the straw. It's thick and icy and perfect for a hot summer's day. The avocado gives it creaminess although flavour wise it takes a back seat to black sesame.
The taro, red bean and coconut shake is pure Asian flavours. It's not for people who say that they don't like beans in their dessert. I happen to love this drink and it really takes you straight to being on holiday in Asia.
The CH4 is a riff on Cendol, that delicious Indonesian Malaysian dessert drink. With green tapioca noodles, palm sugar syrup and coconut this has added texture from soft tofu that gives it a pudding-like texture. It also has a lovely hit of sweet ginger throughout it too. All of these drinks are delicious and taste very different to each other.
I return a few days later this time with Mr NQN having bookmarked the fruit cocktail for him. I also have Ahana, Saagar and Teddy along for the ride. This is the first time trying these drinks for Ahana and Saagar and while she initially wants to order a watermelon juice ("I'm not a very adventurous eater," she says) she is soon enticed by their version of an Ice Kachang.
From left front row: C1 Coffee with condensed milk and ice, pennywort & pandan special, M1 Mixed fruit cocktail $9.50, CH11 Jelly combination and red ruby with red bean $9.90, M2 Mixed fruit cocktail with durian $12.50 (back) C42 Vietnamese Coffee Coconut Frappe $7.90, S33 Strawberry, lychee and coconut $9.50
Mr NQN and Saagar both order fruit cocktails. Mr NQN loves durian while Saagar chooses his without. It's full of fresh fruit although I can't say that I tried much as I'm not a huge durian fan and it's one of the few foods that I don't like. It's a mix of summer fruit as well as avocado and there are lots of red rubies on top which are tapioca coated water chestnuts with red colouring that glisten. I like my strawberry, lychee and coconut shake which is mildly sweet, creamy and frosty.
The traditional C1 or iced Vietnamese coffee is both strong in coffee but also in sugar. If you're looking for a lighter version, the frappe version is milder and colder. I think I prefer this for a hot afternoon while the other is better for mornings.
So tell me Dear Reader, have you tried shakes like these? Do you have a favourite fruit smoothie flavour?
This food was independently paid for.
281 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204 Open 7 days 7am–6pm Phone: (02) 9558 2920