Cafe Oratnek, Redfern

One of my food blogging heroes, Chocolatesuze once dished out the greatest analogy of all time. I’m not going to tell you what we were talking about but this analogy is so good that context isn’t even required: “They’re like oatmeal. No matter what you do with it, it still tastes the same.” That’s the problem with a lot of cafes now. They’ve got an eggs benedict dish, they’ve got some muesli and some salad that I won’t ever touch willingly. Not a tonne of variation. Very few stick their neks out and they end up just being orat. Fortunately, the Cafe Gods have blessed the suburb of Redfern with Cafe Oratnek. cafe oratnek redfernOpen in July of 2015, Cafe Oratnek is one of the newest caffeinated kids on the block. Located just behind Prince Alfred Park, it offers an all day breakfast menu and a lunch menu available from 11:30am. Cafe Oratnek is situated in a building that could easily be your Aunt’s house. Well, if your aunt was absolute dynamite in the kitchen and had a Hell of a coffee machine. Let’s start with a beverage:

cafe oratnek matcha latte
Matcha latte

This matcha latte was perfect for a cold Winter morning. Hell, I’d have it in summer by the beach if I didn’t absolutely hate the beach. It was quite bitter and had a very strong matcha flavour. I like the fact that it didn’t come pre-sweetened which allowed the drinker to adjust it themselves.

mushrooms on toast cafe oratnek
Sauteed mix of wild mushrooms, miso butter, goat’s cheese and a poached egg on toast

This mushroom dish was absolutely delightful. Slurping the long strands of wild mushrooms reminded of me indulging in a cup of instant noodles without the high likelihood of gout when I got old. I love mushrooms so mush, there are only 17 people I care more about than I do edible fungi. I’ve also got to give this poached egg a shout out. Not incredibly gooey but it had some chilli sprinkled on top of it that they gave it the kick in the backside I needed to get my morning rolling.

cafe oratnek chicken sandwich
Japanese fried chicken sandwich with kimchi mayonaise

The bread was toasted lightly and flaked away with every bite. The fried chicken fillet wasn’t super crunchy by any means but it had great flavour and went well with the kimchi mayo. I never realised how good of a sandwich filling kimchi made. This sandwich isn’t just worth chicking out, it’s worth chicking yourself out of the single to mingle market and committing to this chick long-term.

cafe oratnek beef short rib
Miso bbq boneless short ribs with san choy bow and corriander dip

These are short ribs, but you’re going to be thinking about them for a long time. The ribs are so tender and smoky. I would love to have them in a sandwich, on rice and/or off the belly of Emma Watson. Sorry, thought this was my diary again. The accompanying salad was fresh and the coriander dip tasted quite strongly of fish sauce with hints of citrus. You can have all the components separately but where’s the fun in that? Similar to peking duck or san choy bow, you can customise your serving depending on how you like it:

cafe oratnek san choy bow
San choy bow with BBQ beef short ribs

The melt in your rib went beautifully with the crunchy salad and kimchi. As tasty as the sauce is, you don’t even really need it as there are already a multitude of great flavours in play. The rich beef, the spiciness of the kimchi and all the natural vegetable hits, the crunchy lettuce just binds everything together. Lettuce marvel at how great this creation is.

cafe oratnek pork katsu sando
Pork fillet katsu with cabbage, Japanese BBQ sauce and mustard

Oh now that’s kat-sup. Arguably, Oratnek’s most well-known offering this sandwich’s reputation precedes it. I had seen so many photos of this marvellous creation but I was still in awe as it was placed in front of me.

pork katsu sando
Good God, you’re a babe.

Housed in soft white bread (with the crust cut off), the fat pork fillet is an absolute dream. The crunchy coating encases the juicy pork meat with layers of fat just begging to be devoured. There is a smear of mustard and BBQ sauce that adds a hint of acidity to go with the succulent pork. Easily one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had the pleasure of pigging out on. It was on f*cking poink. cafe oratnek redfern Here’s the TL;DR for everyone else who didn’t get the opening analogy because they’ve never had oatmeal before (guilty):

– Redfern continues to be a inner Sydney hotspot and Cafe Oratnek only increases the heat that the suburb brings.

– I really wanted to stew up an orat-atouille joke, but it didn’t come out right.

– Go with everything I ordered with the lovely annachaannn,

I’ve also heard great things about the pork katsu sandwich.

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Cafe Oratnek, Redfern

4 Pitt Street

Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 7am to 4pm Sunday: 8am to 4pm

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