THE edamame were wonderfully creamy, but a bit messy to get out of the shell, unlike the crab which was the soft-shell variety, encased in batter and wonderfully crisp.
The very helpful Japanese waiter was at a loss to translate what the bean-like edamame is, but Mr Google tells me they’re immature soya beans, picked before they harden. Steamed in the pod they’re an Asian dish dating back centuries.
Oec is Japanese for yummy, and bob is Korean for food: hence, Cafe Oec Bob (yummy food) is a fantastical Asian fusion.
At this place, 1970s Aussie fare like bacon and eggs, cheese toasties and club sandwiches rub shoulders with octopus balls and gyoza.
The Northbridge eatery is worth a visit just for the artwork covering its walls, stunning Korean-style warriors, dancers and mystical creatures, with a Japanese Manga edge.
But we were there for the food and an entree of edamame ($4.50) and lotus chips ($2) seemed an appropriate start.
The soya beans were simple but delicious, a bit like peas in a pod, and the lotus root chips a feast for the eye, with their lovely cut-out shapes, and a salty and sweet feast for the taste buds.
Over at the next table a couple of massive chicken katsu burgers ($13.50), were eaten with rapt attention, the diners happy to pause long enough to report the chicken, drizzled with honey mustard sauce, was tender, moist and delicious.
Another of their party sank his teeth effortlessly into a bulgogi ($13.90), an equally moist beef burger, the delicious flavour of honey and soy-marinated beef enhanced by oyster sauce and mayo.
My companion and I shared a vegetarian udon noodle stir-fry ($14.50), which was sweet and spicy, and a soft shell crab salad ($16.50), first assessing whether there was any cracking of shells to contend with. There wasn’t, and the deep fried and battered crab was as soft as promised, delicious and crisp.
The salad with its friendly onion aioli was the perfect foil, a healthy boost of crisp greens, with cucumber and sprouts, topped with finely sliced dried seaweed. A coffee and an affogato ($5.50) were the perfect finish to a great lunch, that was as multicultural as Northbridge.
by JENNY D’ANGER
Cafe Oec Bob
145 Newscastle Street, Perth
open Mon 8am–5pm, Wed–Sun 8am–5pm, closed Tues