This cosy cafe is a recent addition to the Annerley area. When the Indian restaurant closed down and renos started, the local chatter was, ‘I wonder what it’s going to be?’ After weeks of speculation, Cafe Ô-mai opened. Then, the Toby’s Estate marketing apparel appeared … excitement grew as memories of the wonderful visit to Toby’s Estate Espresso came flooding back! The sounds of ‘Oh, wow, a Vietnamese cafe!’, snapped me from my blissful moment. The next bit really caught my attention – ‘they do Vietnamese iced coffee!’ With a lot of chatter abound on social network media about iced coffee, it was a ‘must do’. A friend of ours recently returned from Vietnam and admitted he was hooked on the local iced coffees.
Margaret, the owner, is very pleasant and welcoming and gave us the good oil on their iced coffee. It is essentially, a hot drip of coffee into a glass with condensed milk in the bottom, accompanied with a glass of ice. The coffee Margaret uses is imported from Vietnam not the Wooloomooloo blend on offer through the espresso machine. She politely explained, ‘this is Eastern coffee and that is Western coffee’. The robusta coffee grounds are infused with hot water, which then drips onto the layer of condensed milk – it’s like the Sheridan liqueur in reverse (had plenty of that as a youngster). The infused coffee is not very aromatic… damp ashes comes to mind. However, this coffee is about the taste and the coolness! When the drip is complete, you stir the coffee and milk together and pour over ice. The first taste brought back memories of condensed milk and coffee paste you could buy in, what was a toothpaste tube, back in the day… If you can still buy it, let us know! When the mixture cooled down with the ice, it was still sweet but the coffee flavour was more prominent and it was more akin to Tia Maria on ice. What a great coffee option on a balmy Sunday arvo!
Oh, by the way you can have standard coffees… but when in Rome! We have visited a couple of times and it’s always iced coffee time! Ô-mai is a dried apricot in Vietnamese, and just like Vietnamese iced coffee in Annerley, it is a delicacy! BTW the food is amazing – flavour and value! If heading out of town on Ipswich Rd, take a left at Chardons Corner Hotel and try a little slice of Vietnam.
Score: 7 ‘delectable’ beans