Omni Cafe pitched up on Front Street in Monkseaton, Whitley Bay a good few months ago now, and despite it being a few minutes walk from our house it’s taken me far too long to get myself down there. I just kept hearing great things about it from everyone I know who’s been, so as soon as my dad was visiting and could babysit, Matthew and I made a beeline for Omni.
Billed as a laid back space serving brunch by day and Asian Tapas by night, it’s a cosy local cafe with bags of charm. Decked out with strings of colourful fairy lights, wicker lampshades and a warm atmosphere it’s a welcome escape from the cold North East.
The daytime menu is a mixture of nutritious brunch items like Smashed Avocado on toasted sourdough and a Crispy Bacon, Avocado and Dijon Muffin along with Asian favourites like Pho Bo Vietnamese Broth and a Glass Noodle Salad. The evening menu, served from 5pm is filled with Thai and Vietnamese streetfood and is constantly changing.
You can’t book and it’s last food orders at 8pm, last booze orders at 9pm, so it pays to get their early doors. We managed to sneak in just after 7pm and bagged ourselves a space in the window on stools. Any later and we’d never have got in as it was heaving with eager Saturday night customers.
The food & drink
In true relaxed cafe style, you order at the bar, helping yourself to glasses of water from the on-trend glass water cooler packed with ice and fruit.
We started off with a dish of Japanese Crackers to nibble on while we started to unwind with a bottle of Malbec (£14.95) as we waited for our food.
We’d ordered a whole heap of stuff which arrived super quick. It’s tapas-style portions so we decided to go completely vegetarian so we should just share it all.
First to arrive were the crunchy rice balls in the most amazingly intense and fragrant sauce, along with a bowl of Pad Thai with Tofu and a teeny pot of crushed peanuts. We were just blown away by how much flavour was packed into both of these dishes and couldn’t eat them quickly enough.
Then the Sweet Potato Coconut Curry arrived. A gorgeously thick and creamy pot of veggies topped with cashew nuts with the perfect amount of sauce factor to soak up all those carbs we’d ordered on the side. Jasmine rice, fluffy and topped with crunchy fried onions and a batch of crispy Salt and Chilli Fries. What a feast! I went into a food blogger frenzy and was trying to juggle instagramming, tweeting and eating all at the same time.
Ultra friendly and super quick, the staff were both happy and helpful even though they were dealing with a packed house.
I think Matthew was expecting it to be a small fortune, given how much food and drink we got through, but it was a very reasonable £43.20. The tapas dishes ranged from £5.95 to £7.95 a pop, with the sides at about the £2.50 mark.
I’m very excited to have such a unique independent cafe on my doorstep that’s great for date nights, but also has lots of potential for daytime lunches and coffees with friends too. The interior is laid back, and not too ‘done’ like some of the overly slick, styled-to-the-max chains, and so feels really authentic.
All we need now in Whitley Bay are a few decent laid back bars to go onto afterwards. Matthew and I walked around the entire town and failed to find anywhere good. Tynemouth is great but always so packed, so it’d be wonderful if Whitley Bay could have it’s own scene. I’m sure things will change as the work on the Dome starts and investors see what opportunity there is here. The wave of new sophisticated eateries like Omni, Hinnies and Elder and Wolf opening is already evidence that things are changing for the better. We’ve got a lot to look forward to in Whitley Bay!
Disclosure: Omni did not know we were reviewing their cafe when we visited. We paid for our meal and drinks ourselves. All images and views in this review are my own.