Cafe Oratnek

October 23, 2015

Owned by chef Kentaro Takayama, notice how the name of the cafe is his first name spelt backwards, he is passionate about producing simple, good quality food with Japanese roots. Cafe Oratnek has emerged among a myriad of other cafes but proves itself to be different from the lot by injecting a Japanese twist into their breakfast and lunch menu. Cafe Cre Asion, you say? Well, they specialise in matcha beverages and desserts (green tea chocolate fondant anyone?) and they do excel in those aspects but in regards to their savoury foods, there's not much on offer with the exception of their small variety of sandwiches. Here comes Cafe Oratnek with a more substantial lunch menu to fill in that void. 

Mint fork sign
When you're navigating the streets in search of Cafe Oratnek, keep on the look-out for the mint green fork emblazoned on a wooden panel hanging from a sign post. Without its existence one would easily miss the tiny cafe as it inhabits a terrace house that looks much like the rest of the residential buildings on the street. 

Outdoor and indoor seating
DT and I didn't wait long which was sheer luck because as soon as were seated, more and more customers came trickling in to form a relatively long line for such a tiny cafe. However, we were seated in the outdoor area without any shade available and I regretted not waiting for a table indoors as it was blazingly hot and sunny to the point I was sweating which was not pleasant at all.

Peach, mango, mint iced tea $6 and matcha thick shake $7
As I was burning in the hot sun, I went for the iced tea which was refreshing but nothing special, it could have really done with more ice cubes because it wasn't chilled enough for me. Good points to note were that it wasn't overly sweetened and the mango pieces at the bottom were ripe and sweet. A spoon should have been provided so I could have scooped them up instead of having to stab at them with my plastic straw which seemed a little too desperate, but I didn't want those mango pieces to go to waste.

DT chose the matcha thick shake as it sounded delicious and promising but we were left sorely disappointed. For starters, the thick shake wasn't the least bit thick, it was more like your typical shake if anything. The portion was meagre against the $7 price tag, and for such a price more effort in  the presentation should have been considered. We couldn't detect much green tea flavour either and the drink itself was not cold enough which wasn't satisfying on such a hot day.

Drinks Menu
Breakfast Menu
Lunch Menu
Spicy pork stuffed chicken wings, chilli jam, chips, green laver $18
These were not your ordinary chicken wing due to the clever concealment of the minced spicy pork ball and it's worth mentioning that it wasn't very spicy. The pork mince was perfection though, as it was bursting with flavour and really juicy. The chicken itself was fantastic, with succulent flesh and a crisp savoury skin that was straight up addictive. The chips delivered by having a crunchy exterior and were seasoned well. I tried to like the chilli jam however it quickly became neglected as I felt that the condiment was out of place, being too tomatoey and sweet and as a result it didn't really complement the chicken.

200g pork fillet katsu, cabbage, Japanese BBQ sauce, mustard $12
If you want a meal with sustenance then this it it. Sandwiches would have be my least favourite choice for lunch but if we're getting a juicy slab of pork fillet katsu involved then that's a different story. In Japan, this is known as katsu sando (katsu sandwich) and Cafe Oratnek has hit the nail on the head with this lunch item. The crustless sandwich was sliced into three, making them easy to hold for devouring and also perfect for sharing, but as they were so good I was reluctant to. The bread, which is sourced from Brickfields was soft and fluffy, and the ratio of bread to pork was perfect. The tangy mustard and sweet Japanese BBQ sauce bursted in a melody of flavours against the savoury crunchy breaded pork whereas the shredded cabbage helped to tone down everything just a notch while adding extra texture.

Chips, aonori, murray river pink salt, ketchup $6
We could have totally done without these as if we had paid attention to the menu we would have realised that the chicken wings came with a serving of chips. I was slightly disappointed by the lack of seaweed flakes on ours, however the pink salt was sprinkled on quite generously. We did notice inconsistencies in the chips as the batch served with the chicken wings was obviously crunchier whereas these ones were slightly underdone which was a shame. Overall, the chips were pretty ordinary with the aonori only there for aesthetics and not much else.

Cafe Oratnek easily impressed with their well executed pork katsu sando and the chicken wings were amazing too. I can't wait to come back to try their other sandwich options and the trending matcha lamington which looks gorgeous. The portions were also very reasonable as DT and I left more than satisfied. However, give the matcha shake a miss as it was nothing but disappointing.

Cafe Oratnek Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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  1. I've been to events at other places, but this was my first time in here. Great event venues Chicago. Food was good and seating was very comfortable. Also, very good view from where I sat. This is such a cool venue and the atmosphere was equally amazing.