Kentaro is a similar but more refined version of Kenny Takayama’s original venue in Redfern, Oratnek Cafe. The menu is simple, fresh, seasonal, healthy – restaurant quality at cafe prices. It also ignores the stalwarts of the cafe menu. There are no eggs on toast or avocado smashes, there is either popular dishes from Oratnek or entirely new creations.
Try chicken tsukune (Japanese kofta-like meatballs) mixed with quinoa and soft bones and served with a sour-plum and miso-sesame-dressed salad; poutine with beef mince, goat’s cheese and a dark miso gravy; and grilled fish served on a bed of fried quinoa and nori.
Making the transition from Oratnek will be the signature katsu sandwich, the matcha French toast and the omurice (omelette with fried rice). Oratnek’s matcha cream puff, which had a cult following during its brief stint at Oratnek Cafe, will be served permanently and exclusively at Kentaro.
The fit-out is clean, bright and natural and uses the familiar green colour from Oratnek. But it is slightly more industrial, with timber and a concrete counter. The site cashes in on the quiet streets and natural light, avoiding the usual hustle of the Surry Hills main drag.