Living in West End gives me close access to some awesome and great value Vietnamese eateries. Marc and I are literally at Trang's at least once every fortnight. It suits us perfectly because we love Vietnamese food. I went through a phase when I was crazy over banh mi. It then follows that when I heard there was an East-meets-West Vietnamese inspired breakfast cafe in Annerley, I was very keen to try it.
Cafe O-Mai is a cute corner cafe that introduces some typical Vietnamese breakfast fare in a manner that might be less daunting to the uninitiated. For those who are familiar with Vietnamese cuisine, yes there is pho.
I wanted to try some food that I don't normally get at Vietnamese restaurants. Perhaps these choices were less authentic but I don't think there's anything wrong with fusion cuisine when it's done well.
Because it was earlyish on a weekday, Hien and I needed coffee to wake us up. He ordered an iced drip coffee, which I forgot to take a photo of. Basically, the coffee is gravity-filtered through a small metal contraption into a glass half filled with sweetened condensed milk. Once you think there is enough coffee, stir it up and pour into a glass of ice. It's fiddly but I think Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk is deeeelish so it's worth it. I ordered a soy latte and it was creamy and perfect.
Banh mi - with pork meatballs cooked in tomato based sauce with quail eggs
For food, I chose the meatball baguette. After the waitress took my order, I was advised by (possibly) one of the owners that they were low on meatballs so I could either get the baguette with 2 meatballs or change my order. I don't know how many meatballs it normally comes with but honestly, 2 was enough for me. I was really full afterwards. This was essentially like a banh mi (Vietnamese bread roll) with crusty french-style bread, warm meatballs, quail eggs, chili, pickled carrot and fresh herbs. As stated above, I love banh mi so it was nice to try a variation of the standard.
Aunty Five's claypot baked eggs - with Vietnamese lemongrass and chili pork sausage, spring onion and tamarind sauce and sourdough
Hien ordered the claypot eggs with pork sausage. He commented that it was well-balanced with a good mix of meat and vegetables. Flavourwise, it also had an interesting sourness (I'm guessing from the lemongrass).
I wouldn't say that the food at Cafe O-Mai is better than other Vietnamese restaurants in town. I think it's fairer to compare it with other cafes. When you look at it that way, this is a gorgeous cafe with top notch coffee that offers breakfast options that are more interesting than your standard bacon and eggs deal.