Cafe Kentaro, Surry Hills

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Crown Street in Surry Hills in a near sig­nage-free space on Bourke Street is Cafe Kentaro, a sis­ter to the also Japanese-inspired Oratnek Cafe in Redfern. All that sig­ni­fies the shop is the same fork — you’d be for­giv­en for not know­ing the name of the cafe if you just stumbled in.

Not many places have a Hojicha Latte (large, $4.90) on their menu — the only oth­er place being Cre Asion — and this one here is unsweetened with an enjoy­able roas­ted green tea fla­vour that’s prom­in­ent without being over­whelm­ing.

N enjoys her thick­shakes so this is the Hojicha Thickshake ($7.00). It’s thick, but unfor­tu­nately, the fla­vour of vanilla ice cream over­whelms and there’s only the slight­est hojicha fla­vour in the fin­ish.

This is the Japanese Hotdog ($14.00) with pork saus­age, shimeji mush­rooms, mus­tard, onions, bonito flakes, shiso and nori.

The aroma and fla­vours of this hot­dog — par­tic­u­larly the nori, shiso and bonito flakes — are quint­es­sen­tially Japanese, and this com­bin­a­tion makes for an umami-packed hot­dog with a tender and juicy pork saus­age, while the mus­tard adds some wel­come heat in the back­ground.

This is the Matcha French Toast ($15.00) with banana chips, matcha mousse, straw­ber­ries, and matcha coconut.

The toast is whole­meal bri­oche fried with crispy edges and pil­lowy soft innards. The matcha mousse is light and fla­voured with just enough matcha to bring out the veget­al fla­vour, while the straw­ber­ries add fresh­ness and the banana chips add crunch (although not much taste).

And the famed Matcha Lamington ($5.00) from their sis­ter and ori­gin­al store, Cafe Oratnek.

The matcha used here is one for matcha lov­ers. It uses a high-qual­ity matcha with gen­er­ous umami notes that give it that char­ac­ter­ist­ic brothy, rather than more bit­ter, fla­vour. The cake itself is light and fluffy.

And lastly, the much coveted Yuzu Tart ($6.00).

This is the tart that had N and I want­ing to vis­it Cafe Kentaro and we were so relieved to snag the last one avail­able. It has a fluffy meringue that’s piled high — but not a mar­shamal­lowy one — on top of a deli­cious yuzu curd that’s zesty and tangy enough to make your toes curl. It was served to us warm, although we think it’d have tasted even bet­ter cool.

Cafe Kentaro has an inspired Japanese-inspired cafe menu with some truly tasty items.

Cafe Kentaro is loc­ated at 616 Bourke St, Surry Hills NSW 2010