I love it when a new dining discovery exceeds my expectations and Cafe O-Mai has done just that. Open for a mere five months this Vietnamese delight at Annerley has quickly become the talk of the town; after receiving recommendations from two separate and reliable sources in the space of a day I had to check it out.
Situated on the corner of Cracknell Rd and Franklin St, Cafe O-Mai sits back from the mayhem of Ipswich Rd in a pocket of small businesses. Unless you knew it was there it's unlikely that you would notice it, but if you're a fan of Vietnamese cuisine I assure you it is worth noticing.
We arrived on a Sunday just before 2.00pm when they close, and they had begun packing up but there were plenty of tables still occupied and they happily agreed to serve us. The interior is a clean and simple, no frills set-up without pretension.
Both the breakfast and lunch menus are sizable enough to offer a good variety but thankfully not enough to overwhelm. Breakfast offerings are an unexpected combination of Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese items, from your basic eggs on toast ($8) and house made granola ($10), to the exotic pork meatballs in a rich tomato sauce with quail eggs served with a warm baguette ($13) - apparently the Vietnamese equivalent of savoury mince.
The iconic bahn mi's (Vietnamese baguettes) are available for both breakfast and lunch, and come in a variety of appealing flavours including bacon & egg, pork meatball, tamarind chicken, house made crackling pork, lemongrass beef, and tofu. And at varying prices all under $10 they are an absolute bargain, and fresh and tasty to boot.
The remainder of the lunch menu is classic Vietnamese with a variety of smaller items such as spring rolls, dim sims, soups and rice paper rolls, up to mains including vermicelli noodle salad with your choice of meat, Vietnamese chicken curry ($10), green papaya salad with tofu or pork and prawns ($10), and slow cooked caramelised pork ribs with jasmine rice ($12).
Vegetarian rice paper rolls with peanut sauce ($5)
The food was simply superb. It was fresh, flavoursome and deeply satisfying. Hot and cold drinks on offer include teas, coffees, coconut juice and Vietnamese lemon soda. We opted for the popular Vietnamese iced coffee, gourmet blend at $5. For those of you new to this delightful drink, it is traditional Vietnamese coffee served in a drip filter - you wait for the coffee to drip down onto condensed milk, stir and pour over ice.
It was extremely gracious of these people to serve you. I would not enter a shop or restaurant nearing their closing time. But this place sounds good - would like to try it. Mind you, the pork rolls are much cheaper at Darra........
I notice last time I was there on 25/9/13 the signe said open for dinner Wed and Thursday nights . But ring to double check . The food is so fresh yummy cheap and the staff are lovely we've been 3 times will make this our local for sure !