Cafe O-mai is a family run business with Mummy Kim in the kitchen, Maggie and my husband Steve Patmore at the front. Our story is common like any other Vietnamese refugee of the 1980's, we started from humble beginnings sewing away to make a living. Even though we had nothing at the time a bowl of noodles meant so much. I do believe there is a resilient streak humming in all Vietnamese people. My strong work ethics has been droned into me from my mother.
My mother and I always bonded through food and that's were my passion for cooking began. Our style of cooking is from the heart, it's real and homely. Food for me is so universal, it connects the world together. When coming up with the concept for the cafe I knew my strong points and it is to stick to my strong knowledge on Vietnamese cuisine.
I'm a born and breed Sydney girl! I grew up in Cabramatta, southwestern suburb of Sydney. Its the Vietnamese food mecca of Sydney! Believe it or not my background has not always been in food. I use to be a Chiropractor! I practiced for four years and decided food was my calling. I used to dream of having a quaint little cafe and now it's real. I'm a believer of mind power... if you put your mind into something it will become reality.
I moved up in 2010 to open Red lotus Vietnamese restaurant with my brother Leighton. We wanted to educate Brisbane with authentic Vietnamese food. I always knew in my heart that I wanted something small and didn't involve nights.
Finding the location of Cafe O-Mai took a year. Countless nights driving up and down suburbs of south Brisbane. I drove passed Figuerodos many times in the morning and one morning it just clicked. Countless cuts from other locations something kept drawing me back to Cracknell Rd. Luckily, the owner of Figuerodos was retiring after 20 years of business so we took it because we saw the potential through the curtains and mouldy carpets .Renovations began in July 2012, we gutted the asbestos ridden premises, raised the ceiling, polished the floors but retained original brick walls from the butcher 20 years ago. We first opened our doors in September 2012.
Over the past three years of trading we have EVOLVED tremendously and the biggest is expanding to the fish and chip shop next door. Increasing our capacity to over double the original seating, patrons are now guarantee a seat on weekends. The success of our cafe is a combination of talents and hard work from all family members and our great staff. We understand that its not some romantic fantasy running a cafe, its waking up day after day and providing the same consistent food and reliable service. In the years of trading we have not advertised, our cafe has grown from word of mouth. We are always grateful for all our customers new and old, for the faces we have not seen in a while. We still remember our first customers that helped us in our early days.