Cafè Oratnek, Redfern

Cafes, Eat, Sydney / 9 September 2015

Cafè Oratnek is the Redfern park that’s got everyone talking

You could easily stroll right past Redfern’s new Cafe Oratnek. A green letterbox and a modest open courtyard make it easy to mistake this cosy new Japanese-fusion cafe for a friend or families home.
It’s tucked around the corner, across from Prince Alfred Park. Just look for the mint green fork sign pointing you in the right direction for a cosy breakfast or lunch.
Cafe Oratnek cafe front
Wandering into Café Oratnek you will be greeted by the hospitable waitstaff. Take a seat outside amongst the fresh herb garden or inside if the weather is on the gloomy side (as it was upon our arrival).
Cafe Oratnek cafe
Finding a port in the storm, we instantly feel at home among the flowers and settle down in the corner before promptly being offered a wooden-clipboard to order from.
Flipping through the already well-established menu, we’re informed “the honey caramelised figs on herbed labne is currently out of season however there’s plenty more to choose from in the mean time”. As the seasons change so does the fresh produce – we can hear the organic foodie crowd rejoicing!
Café Oratnek is the innovative brain-child of Chef Kenny Takayama, former head-chef of Bills in Darlinghurst, and General Manager Darryl Russell, a Centennial Parklands alumnus.
Mr. Takayama began his venture into the kitchen after junior high-school, however also went on to study economics at university because “if you lose one weapon, always have a spare” he tells us.
Looking around the cafe, the walls are lined with intriguing decorative touches. Vintage 1960’s high-school chairs and custom-made stained timber table tops add to the cosy, welcoming space.
As the rain is pounding the pavement, we decide upon the Gyukuro Japanese Green Tea to warm us up before perusing the rest of the menu.
Cafe Oratnek open sandwich
The waitress suggests the sautéed mix of wild mushrooms and miso on toast, which promptly arrives and has our eyes bulging at the heaped breakfast dish before us. The miso flavour is prominent but not too salty, nicely balanced with the crusty house-made bread.
After feeding our first wind of hunger, we’re in the mood for something light in the form of the chia and quinoa porridge pot. The sweetness of the porridge is subtle and enjoyed naturally with almond milk and a seasonal mix of fruit.
Cafe Oratnek salad
Our mind is still on ground-roots as we order the daikon salad with wild mushrooms. The roasted sesame dressing and refreshing cucumber slices are the perfect way to cleanse our dairy-free palate.
Unlike a lot of cafes that don’t let you make changes to the menu or accept add ons, everything at Café Oratnek is made to order and open to tweaks. They also offer plenty of menu options for a gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan crowd. All produce used to feed the hungry customer is locally sourced from the farmer’s market and straight into the kitchen.
Before you leave, take a peek at Café Oratnek’s baked goods cabinet, which offers a short-but-sweet range of takeaway treats. Chef Kenny Takayama has  given a makeover to Australia’s favourite cube-shaped dessert with his Green Tea Matcha lamingtons. Just make sure you get in quick, they sell out like hot-cakes lamingtons.
Cafe Oratnek lamington
Café Oratnek
4 Pitt Street, Redfern, Sydney.
0498 254 181
Open Mon-Sat 7am-4pm
Sun 8am-4pm