This place is a gem of a find if you just go out of your way and make the effort. You will find Ora at a small intersection of Kew and the place is exactly what should come to mind when you think of three twenty-something upstarts wanting to make an impression on the Melbourne coffee landscape. It is a small space utilising all the space it has to great effect.
The staff are right on the money with prompt service with flair to rival café’s in the CBD. On Sunday there were 2 guys working the La Marzocco “Strada” espresso machine to great effect and 3 staff working the floor. And that is all they need as any more would seem like overkill.
The vibe of the place is pitch perfect as tables on either side of you want to discuss what they are thinking of ordering and then once they see other dishes on other tables, fawn over your dish while still praising what they did order. Ora cannot lose.
The menu has some good Melbourne café staples while slightly deviating from the usual by offering fresh soups and sandwiches as well. They also get bonus points for their Ora Mini. A small version of their sandwiches on sourdough bread with the special daily filling. A genius idea to let you try more of the menu that you would have been able to otherwise.
Having John Vroom (best name in coffee?) as their coffee guru fresh from the Australian Siphon Championship last week, all surrounding tables were ordering his specialty. An extra special touch I noticed was they were willing to serve the one siphon to all customers at one table. So they each received a small clear class of the coffee rather than one pitcher and a cup for each to try.
First up were the flat white and cappuccino. The milk could have been hotter but otherwise were perfect.
WordMonkey was tossing up 3-4 possibilities but ended up deciding on Pea & Bacon Hash, Chive, Manchego, Bitter Leaves. Again the tables around us ordered her other option and all were raving about them – so either way we will be back. This was a dish with the perfect balance of flavor and texture with the addition of a choice piece of cheese. I only got one mouthful before it all disappeared from the plate. Make of that what you will.
I threw into the mix the Ora Mini Special which was Smoked Woodbridge Trout, Cream Cheese and Chive. And when it is this good and only costing you $5, how can you go wrong? Again, something simple but in its simplicity achieves something great. Such a great idea that, rest assured, next time I visit I will be ordering the special without the need of glancing up at the blackboard.
I decided to have the Chicken Sandwich. This could have gone either way but the addition almond, cos lettuce, shallots and tasty manchego cheese took the dish to the next level from being just another sandwich. Again the greatest praise I can heap on it is that I would happily order it again.
To end we had a Blueberry and Pistachio muffin – such a difference from the Dr Jeckyll muffin that disappointed during the week. Sweet, tasty and moist – everything you want from a muffin. And speaking of muffins – Best ones so far are the White Chocolate and Berry @ Monk Bodhi Dharma or anything from Miss Jackson – both in the St Kilda area. But that is another post.
For a place in the same vein as what @crilly6453, @sharking… and @mchopkin… were/are planning to open in Melbourne, I just hope they all get the chance to look at what can be done with the right space and budget. But as we are all spread throughout the globe at the moment, I suggest as this readership lives a lot closer, make your way down and have your expectations superseded.
Ph. (03) 9855 2002