Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cafe Kentaro, Surry Hills

One of the things I miss about Japan is the abundance of omurice (omelette rice) shops. But thanks to Cafe Kentaro, my omurice cravings is now sorted!

Chef Kenny Takayama

Cafe Kentaro is the second instalment to the successful Cafe Oratnek and it is located on Bourke Street (between Devonshire and Cleveland), Surry Hills. The space has an industrial interior with touches of homey decor. I saw familiar faces during my visit. My homie head chef/owner Kenny Takayama was in the kitchen and general manager/barista Daryl was behind the La Marzocco machine. I knew I was in for a treat. Just like the first shop, the food here is heavily influenced by Japanese cuisine and served in a familiar Australian cafe fare way.
Matcha lamingtons

The beans used for their latte ($3.80) is a house blend from Aroma. It had sweet, nutty and chocolate notes with medium body. The textured milk temperature was just right.
Hojicha latte

The hojicha latte ($4.20) was quite strong and the flavours punched through the milk nicely. The tea itself had roasted sweet earthy notes.
Katsu sando
Everyone's Oratnek  favourite, the signature katsu sando ($13) is available here too! 200gms of fried crumbed fatty pork fillet, cabbage, Japanese bbq sauce and mustard in soft white slice bread. I love how the perfectly cooked tender pork with crisped coating, tangy umami packed tonkatsu sauce and sharp mustard works well together.
I remember that time when Ken-san posted a photo of his omurice ($18) for staffies. I told him he should do it as a special for Oratnek. Now, it's actually part of Cafe Kentaro's menu. This tomato fried rice filled omelette was amazing! Other fillings that come with the rice are: fatty plumpy bacon pieces, peas, gooey pieces of cheese. The omelette itself was slightly spongy and dense and the tomato sauce used for the rice had a nice spiced tangy taste.
Japanese poutine
My mind was blown again with their Japanese poutine ($15), which is tender pulled braised beef, dark miso gravy, shallots and goats cheese on perfectly cooked chips. This is an umami packed spud dish! The chips were nicely crisped on the outside, fluffy inside and seasoned just right.

Cafe Kentaro is all about warmth and comfort.  This applies to their service and great food. Ken-san and crew has done it again!

Ramen Raff was invited by Cafe Kentaro as a guest.

Cafe Kentaro
616 Bourke Street
Surry Hill NSW 2010

7 days - 7.00am to 3.30pm
Cafe Kentaro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mate Burger Truck, Western Sydney

Someone once said that: "one of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood". Burger truck Mate Burger understands what burger lovers really need: next level delicious burgers that are not over the top.

Henry Paraan is the genius mind behind Mate Burger. A burger truck that features both Filipino and American influenced burgers. Expect legit burgers and fries that draws inspirations from Filipino favourites like lechon, sisig, tocino and even Adobo! Then you have classic American diner-style burgers and cheeseburgers with a twist.
Adobo burger
The adobo burger ($12) is pork belly braised in adobo sauce with cucumber, coriander, sriracha mayo, aioili and pickled Spanish onions in a soft milk bun. The soy, garlic and vinegary flavour components came through well. The cucumber, coriander and pickled onion help cut through the richness of the pork.
Longanisa burger
The pork based patty of the longanisa burger ($12) is inspired by the popular Filipino sausage of the same name. It was peppery, sweet and garlicky. Legit longanisa flavours! It worked well with atchara (pickled papaya), tomato, cucumber, corriander and egg (can't have longanisa for breakfast without egg!).

Lechon burger

The lechon burger ($12) is spit-roasted pork belly burger that also includes onion rings, green apple and green mango mint salad, black truffle mayo and special Mate burger sauce. It may sound hectic but the flavours are well balanced. The crackling was just divine along with the generous amount of tender flavoursome lechon meat.
Double It Burger
Then there's the "double-it" burger ($15) which is a double everything cheeseburger! It is one of the best double cheeseburgers I've had in Sydney: double beef smash patty, double sexy melted cheese, double glazed bacon, pickled onions, caramelised onions, pickles, jalapeƱos, and mate sauce in a lightly toasted soft milk bun. Juicy flavoursome meat with caramelised crusts. The meat is coarsely minced, which leads to creating pockets of juice within the patty. The sweet and sour flavours of the condiments cuts through the richness of the burger. The jalapeƱos and mate sauce seals the deal with some heat and extra umami. In spite of being a big, it actually handles well. This is my kind of burger!

Jack Burger
The latest addition to the mate menu is their Jack burger ($12): beef patty cooked in duck fat, caramelised lychees, smoky crisped bacon, melted jack cheese and black truffle mayo in a soft milk bun. The highlight here is how the buttery jack cheese compliments the patty. Then there's the added effect of the tartness of the lychees and smoky salty bacon that works well with the rest of the burg. 
Then there's Mate's lechon fries which is probably one of the best loaded fries I've had in Sydney. Big chunks of lechon with them glorious crackling and truffle aioli!! So damn good!
Ice candy
You can also get Filipino style ice pop called ice candy by Ice Kendy Australia. Flavours available: lychepine (lychee and pineapple), calamango (calamansi and mango), tarojack (ube and jackfruit), avoconut (avocado and coconut), manfrad (mango fruit salad), melonrock (rockmelon cream).

Henry's truck is another burger force to be reckoned with. I'm looking forward to try more of his burgers soon!

Mate Burger
Check their social media accounts for the latest location updates

Mate Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato