A Sample of Summer
Today My Love and I were invited to have lunch at Redfern's beautiful Cafe Oratnek to sample tastes from of their new seasonal summer menu including a Beef Belly salad, Ochazuke, and the classic Omurice.
Right by Central Park and train station, Cafe Oratnek is a perfect brunch destination for both locals and travellers wanting to sample more of Sydney's cafe fusion cuisine. With a beautiful courtyard adorned in a forest of lush trees and a small but serene garden, it is the perfect spot to unwind the mind with a satisfing and wholesome breakfast and a cool coffee in hand as you allow the rest of the day's activities be revealed to you.
Flavour flatlay on the table.
Summer is all about light and fresh flavours; crispy cool vege, tangy citrus, and a little hint of spice in something nice.
I enjoyed plating my flatlay, even though I was standing in a busy cafe full of people. In fact, it only took about three minutes to assemble, as it was my third time doing it I felt far more confident and it was easier to get in the zone after understanding what I wanted to achieve and how I was going to do it.
I wish I could say that I planned this, but the amalgamation of colours is by pure coincidence, for today summer at Oratnek is all about the green, and it really showed in my photography.
Today we ate the Miso Glazed Beef Belly
with lettuce, cucumber, coriander, bean sprouts, diced chilli and mint
The most expensive item on the menu ($24) but for good reason; the beef belly is utterly delicious and so terrifically tender that it melts in your mouth and pulls apart with ease.
The dish also came with a disclaimer: don't forget the greens, for only a balance of both is the meal complete. When Mate the waiter told me that it felt like I was a five-year-old being told to eat my broccoli. Jokes!!
But I did indeed eat all those greens.
Today I ate the Ochazuke with Smoked Salmon
a grilled rice ball with cucumber, nori, arare, jasmine chicken dashi
Ochazuke is a simple Japanese dish made by pouring green tea, dashi, or hot water over cooked rice, also known as cha gohan.
A hot Sydney summer calls for a perfectly chilled Ochazuke. Cafe Oratnek serves their dashi in a glass teapot showing off the colour in the light and delicate broth. The meal is presented with the solid ingredients in the center of the bowl, the dashi intended to be poured in, resulting in a pool of delicious dashi to be soaked into the rice. Of course I tipped all of it in, the dashi was beautifully aromatic, and the jasmine tea and chicken flavours balanced so perfectly with nori notes running throughout the dish.
I also learned that the small white balls in the broth is called arare, which are 'snow pellets' and is a type of bite-sized Japanese cracker made from glutinous rice and flavored with soy sauce. This not only made the dish look beautiful and give it some depth, but also gave it some interesting texture.
Today we ate the Omurice
with peas, bacon, cheese, tomato fried rice, wrapped egg omelette and parmesan
After sampling the demi-glaze omurice from Devon I have been aching to try variations of this dish across the Sydney cafe scene. Oratnek's omurice leaned more towards the Italian side with their chunky tomato sauce and parmesan, and channeling the Modern Australian within they serve an extra poached egg on top for opportunistic egg porn moments.
Not as saucy as Devon's rice, but delicious for sure. The bacon definitely makes the dish come alive!
And now... dessert.
Today we ate the Matcha Tiramisu
One cannot leave the home of the Kentaro family without a matcha dessert. Known Sydney-wide for their masterful matcha goodies, it is safe to say that anything matcha from them is guaranteed to be so matcha of a good time ;)
The tiramisu was drenched top to toe with a rich matcha throughout the many layers, and yet despite it's the deep green tea presence it didn't turn off My Love, who by the way does not like matcha, and he ended up polishing off the entire thing.
I really enjoyed my time at Cafe Oratnek. The experience was smooth, easy-going, and though I ate what looked like a feast, the meals were so light and tasty that I left feeling comfortable and satiated. I would come here to eat even if I wasn't offered it to, and I highly recommend the Miso Glazed Beef Belly - definitely eat those greens!
Thank you for reading! Share with your friends, family, and other foodies! Please give feedback so I may always be improving my writing, photography, and finding new ways to stuff my face. Now go out and try more food and report back with your next favourite!