This past week I had the chance to try out the newly opened The Good Sort — a Sino-Australian eatery tucked away on Doyers Street in New York City’s Chinatown.
I found out about this place after seeing it on bon appetit, checked their pics on Instagram, and I KNEW I had to go! The food looked equally good as it did picture worthy. I was delighted to find out that it serves Chinese x Australian goodies because of the owners, Chinese-born Jeff Lam and his Australian partner, Eddy Buckingham.
And the best part? The star of the place is congee.
Traditionally speaking, congee is a sort of rice porridge that’s usually served savory with meat and condiments. But here, at The Good Sort, you’ll find the opposite. The congee here is served sweet with a medley of unique flavors and natural ingredients like turmeric, poached cranberries and poached pears that make you feel like you’re eating good — which, you are because everything on the menu is vegan and gluten-free!
So, I dragged my friend Angel (@angelgonom) to go with me and we tried their bowls as well as their drinks. The bowls we tried were the Breakfast Congee ($9) and Pandan Tapioca ($9). As for lattes, we had to try the Blue ($7) and Black lattes ($7).
The Breakfast Congee was attractive, so to speak… It was a very different kind of congee than the one I had in mind. The rice has a soft chewy texture and is not watery at all. In fact, it’s quite thick. The fruits on it are really fresh and the granola is wonderful. The maple cassia syrup also adds a nice finishing touch. However, it’s almost identical to oatmeal with the only exception being that it’s gluten-free.
The Pandan Tapioca was different from the other items on the menu. It was literally eating little balls of pandan tapioca topped with lychee, pineapple, coconut, a vinegar syrup and puffed rice… and it was green! It’s very sweet and chewy but it was fun to eat.
The Black Latte gets its name from its color, which is indeed black. It’s made of activated charcoal and black sesame, but you mostly taste the black sesame. But even then, the taste is not that strong so you shouldn’t expect too great of a sesame flavor either.
The Blue Latte is made with blue algae but it tastes mostly like the coconut milk I had it made with since the cafe is vegan. All drinks and food on the menu are made with coconut, almond or soy milk.
Overall, the congee was unexpected and the tapioca bowl was different. The lattes did not have caffeine in it but it was also unique, however, it was a bit lacking. All in all, food is different from the usual scene in the area, and I definitely give them props for trying something new.
What also adds to the items on the menu are how they are presented, of course. Check out these cute plates! Definitely Instagram-worthy.
As for décor and architecture, they definitely nailed it. In fact, when you see the cafe you have to do a double-take because it seems so out of place. But once you’re inside, you kind of understand why this works: it’s an eclectic cafe on a street that’s just as special. The décor is really a collection of teapots, trinkets, flowers, plates and more, and everything seems scattered yet organized.
In the middle of the cafe is the counter and where the drinks and food are made, and there’s a few seats there. Then along the wall, where the condiments and straws are, are another three seats. There are only two tables and they fit up to three people max on each.
What’s kind of cool is that it’s connected to Chinese Tuxedo, their sister restaurant that serves high-end Chinese food, though, I’m not sure how I feel about that just yet. Baby steps, Jess, baby steps.