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