Coffee: Omars house blend
“There is a certain lifestyle that we all project in our heads of wanting it all. We dream of the day it will all come together, but in the meantime we put up with the current situation and strive forward. While this concept has been dramatised on a number of occasions on television, you must think – what about cafe owners? Can they have complete control of their vision right down to the taste of their coffee? Well there are two young fellows who roast their own beans, chose a unique location and planned a different menu. We welcome Omar and the Marvellous Coffee Bird.
Omar lies just a short turn off from the Nepean Highway in the hidden suburb of Gardenvale. Don’t be deterred by the cars buzzing passed, as inside is a stripped-out shop, fitted with a special cafe setting. There is seating outside, however, it’s the inside which makes this place marvelous. The space is narrow and long with seating on the right and the service section to the left.
The decor has a strong industrial feel with chic shelving made of combined wood and metal with their humble coffee roaster down the back. What makes Omar‘s decor impressive is their table setting which is mounted with wheels and aligned on tracks. Not only is it a novelty to play while waiting for coffee and food, but gives flexibility to big brunch groups. Long gone the days of a big group crowding around a small table, as brunch goers can ‘self help’ to acquire a free neighbouring table to make the desired table size.
As mention above, Omar select and roast their own coffee blend. Their house blend is something out of the ordinary, consisting of a rich flavoured body with a pleasant crisp after taste. It’s well balanced with subtle and soft mild flavours running throughout the front and back taste. It could be described as a classic coffee taste with a crisp silk finish. What also impressed me was the ability to tailor the strengthen of the coffee with hot water provided in a separate pot.
The menu option at Omar’s consists of fresh food with sourdough featuring throughout. Eggs were hard to come by on this menu, which is an interesting direction considering most people (including myself), would naturally assume a coffee/brunch house would supply at least one egg dish. However, boldness is an element I like to see within the Melbourne cafe scene and with no hesitation I went for the roast chicken salad served with dressed rocket and toasted sourdough [$18].
When I think salad, I have always imagined to be on the light side and not being completely satisfied. This salad had definitely removed my doubt. Man was it big. The salad itself was organically fresh and visually alluring with consistent portions of salad leafs, tomato, avocado and a generous dashes of balsamic vinegar.
The roast chicken was served with mayo which was well cook and achieved a nice moisture. Personally I think this dish would have been better had the chicken been poached. The sourdough was baked to perfection which was infused with various grains that were soft and tender. The bread was good as it allowed the eater to create little open sandwiches with the salad, however because of the large salad size you are left with just eating salad at the end.
Omar’s proves that you don’t need to be in within the bounds of inner city to provide greatness. I am a fan of Omar and the Marvellous Coffee Bird because of its quirky decor and the coffee. With a bit of improvement, I can easily seeing Omar‘s becoming a regular known favourite of Melbourne. You should beat the rush and give it a good go. Happy brunching!”
“It was a beautiful Saturday morning and I was feeling sorry for myself. The Thursday before, I had fractured my arm attempting to bike ride down to Three Bags Full. Mr LB attempted to cheer me up by suggesting we make our way down to a cafe his friend had suggested. With a name like Omar and the Marvellous Coffee Bird, I really couldn’t say no.
So why the eccentric name? Omar and the Marvellous Coffee Bird stems from a tale about a man named Sheik Omar, who was banished into the mountain of Ousab after trying to ‘keep’ the Kings daughter. As starvation was near, a bird of marvellous plumage appeared. As he tried to grab it, the bird got away, leaving him grasping coffee cherries instead. He found them delicious and when he added them to make a herb soup, he’d accidentally created coffee.
The first thing you notice when walking into Omar is how sophisticated and yet understated this cafe is. It’s clean and chic and looks like it belongs more in the Armadale or Richmond space than the sleepy suburb of Gardenvale (near Brighton).
The painkillers had suppressed my appetite, so I decided to go for a lunchtime roll – tuna, Kalamata olives, capers, red onion, preserved lemon, avocado, mayonnaise and rocket [$10] with a vanilla milkshake [$5]. My milkshake was quickly presented with some cinnamon sprinkled on top. It was lovely and light, but synthetic. Regardless I still enjoyed it, however, this might have been more due to the perfect weather that day.
When it came out, it looked somewhat underwhelming. While the presentation was simple and the roll itself didn’t look that adventurous, the first bite determined otherwise.
The preserved lemon in the mayonnaise gave the tuna a creamy, zingy flavour. I almost wouldn’t have known I was eating tuna if it wasn’t for the very slight lingering aftertaste of saltiness. The avocado was crushed and lost within the mayonnaise, tuna and rocket. The Kalamata olives were also ground into the dressing as hints of olive popped into my mouth at varying intervals.
Being greedy as we are, we couldn’t resist the gorgeous little gingerbread men by the counter on the way out. They were mildly overcooked, but overall delicious. A beautiful hit of ginger spice without being over the top created a lovely dessert as we sauntered away from Omar‘s.
Overall Omar and the Marvellous Coffee Bird was a pleasant surprise, and somewhat of a local haven. The food was generous, healthy and homely. The staff were attentive and friendly and the atmosphere was clean and relaxed. I’d definitely drop in for a fresh and healthy bite in the future.”
Final Thought: “Healthy food and big portions”