Omar owners Andrew Gelman and Dean Atkins hate being called ‘baristas’ – they just make coffee and that’s it. While these guys do take the black stuff very seriously (just get Andy talking about their plans for a temperature-controlled fridge to store their prized beans), they’re happy to skip the fanfare. It sure makes for a nice change from those too-cool-for-school places that colonise Melbourne’s cafe scene.
All that’s fussy about this place is the name. You’ll find Omar off the Nepean Highway on a quiet street with not much else going for it. The staff are as friendly as they come and the interior is simple and spacious. (FYI, the coffee bags suspended above the counter are just for looks – heat rises and coffee doesn’t keep well at higher temperatures, people.)
There’s no separate kitchen on site, so the food menu equals dishes made from quality ingredients that can be assembled in a jiffy. Munch on bircher muesli with berry compote, honey yoghurt, toasted almonds and fruit for breakfast, or toasted flatbread with smoky salami, red capsicum relish, cheddar cheese, red onion and rocket for lunch.
But onto the coffee! The staff really just want you to get the most out of your coffee experience. To that end they select a different single-origin bean every day and are happy to recommend a suitable option depending on whether you take it black or white. They might also convince you to try out their ‘clever dripper’. This scientific-looking concoction is made using a special brewing tool that extracts the most subtle of coffee flavours.
To get just how serious the Omar boys are about coffee, there’s no missing the humungous roasting machine towards the back of the cafe. That’ll scare off those try-hard baristas any day.
124 Gardenvale Rd, Gardenvale
(03) 9596 4186
Open Mon–Fri 6am–4pm, Sat–Sun 7am–4pm