O’Kane is a secret, hidden Vietnamese gem amongst the up-and-rising foodie hub in the trendy suburb of Brunswick. It’s the perfect spot for a homely, authentic Southeast – Asian meal with the whole family after a cold Winter’s day in Melbourne, or to wind down with a comforting bowl of steaming pho, so that with each flavoursome sip, it washes away the weariness of the day. O’Kane is run by a dedicated, Vietnamese owner and chef, Nhan, who happily shared with us his flavours of home. One of Southeast Asian restaurant’s biggest pitfalls for me, is often how some dishes taste very similar towards the end, as everything becomes an overwhelming mix of lemon, chilli and saltiness – but this is something that O’Kane fortunately diverts away from, making it a classic Vietnamese restaurant in Brunswick that I wouldn’t hesitate coming back to.
The good fat: We kicked off our Southeast Asian adventures with salt and pepper calamari – and whilst this is a dish that we’ve ordered countless times, the tenderness of this one from O’Kane was second to none. The batter wasn’t oily or heavy at all, and for something that I usually get full after a few pieces, I could honestly eat this calamari all day long! Can you go to a Southeast Asian restaurant without ordering roti? Of course not, the homemade roti bread with peanut satay sauce were flaky pieces of heaven.
The most impressive thing about O’Kane was that as a cosy and homely restaurant, the flavours of each their grilled meat dishes were so distinct and unique. The BBQ pork belly were tiny morsels bursting with flavour – with the option of either bao, or rice on the side, the satisfying fatty pork belly blended with our selected bao was the definition of comfort food.
The taste of Southeast Asia was also exemplified through the samples of meat in our BBQ grilled combination platter. The pork skewer and marinaded chicken was amazingly tender – hitting that perfect balance between char and moistness. The nem nuong, Vietnamese pork sausage had a crumbly texture with a light, sweet undertone. Lastly, the betel leaf beef skewer certainly had an element of fun as you bit through the crispy leaves to get to the beef wrapped within.
Trying the special coconut jelly dessert as part of O’Kane Restaurant’s newly launched, Spring/Summer menu, was another welcome surprise. We had been mislead into thinking that we were both too full for a dessert, but at the end of this meal, the coconut jelly glass sat satisfying empty. Thank you to O’Kane for giving us one of the most refreshing and lightest desserts that I’ve had – with the crunchy aroma of the coconut roll, that was generously sprinkled to garnish the dessert, had alternating layers of clear jelly, balanced with the empowering strength of coconut – giving it almost a juicy flavour!
The bad fat: As someone who’s grown up with pork belly, I found that the sauce on this was definitely a bit salty for me, especially on its own, but this could be avoided if less sauce is used when wrapping it in the bao.
FAT-O-METER: 4.5/5 (for one of the best calamaris I’ve ever tried)
CHECK OUT O’KANE RESTAURANT’S WEBSITE HERE!
2wofatgirls would like to thank O’Kane Brunswick for the invitation to dine – these opinions are strictly unbiased and were influenced in no way by the collaboration.