Cafe-o-Mai is a little gem of a Vietnamese cafe occupies an historic corner shop in a quiet pocket off busy Chardons Corner in Annerley.
On the east meet west menu traditional Viet fare rules yet the ambience is more funky café, with rough hewn brick walls, painted concrete floors, bench seating and oil paintings along one wall and original timber framed art deco doors. And true to the café theme the owner bakes all kinds of delicious treats on-site daily – think jam drops, rum and raisin and other sweet slices, which go down a treat with the Toby's Estate coffee.
While the lunch menu sticks to tradition – think pho, rice paper rolls, delicious banh mi (filled rolls with tamarind chicken, classic pork, meatball or lemon grass beef), vermicelli or papaya salad or curry – the breakfast menu is an intriguing blend of both. Choose from the Vietnamese breakfast such as Aunty Five's claypot of baked eggs, premise-made lemongrass and chilli sausages, tamarind sauce and sourdough or banh mi with pork meatballs, rich tomato sauce and quail eggs. Otherwise go Oz with an Eastern twist in with the Phat – a fusion of egg, bacon, tomato and mushroom with the house sausage or with a lighter option like fruit toast and granola with house-made yoghurt.
Dessert-wise the house ice-cream has an Asian flavour – jackfruit, taro, sticky rice or hokey-pokey. And if after a refreshing drink don't go past the Vietnamese iced coffee or coconut, pineapple or ruby grapefruit juice.
*The menu may have changed this review.
15 Cracknell Rd