MELBOURNE | Ora Specialty Coffee is a hidden gem in suburban Kew that strives to provide an exceptional café experience for all customers. Since taking over from the previous owners, current owner Phil has cemented Ora’s reputation as being a place that provides great coffee and food full of flavour, in a small venue with a local feel. Speaking with Phil, it is clear how much he loves what he does, and loves what he can provide for his customers. Something that he strongly believes in, and that he instills in his staff, is that hospitality comes first. From the friendly welcome you receive when walking through the door, to the attentive and genuine service when sitting down, a lot of cafes would do well to follow in Ora’s footsteps.
The head chef has worked at Maha, Jacques Reymond and St Ali, and it comes as no surprise that the menu at Ora feautres creative ingredients and impressive cooking techniques. The all-day menu ranges from simple breakfast dishes to hearty lunch items, and everything in between. Ingredients that aren’t normally seen together are combined, and the cultural influences behind these dishes vary from Indian, to French, to Middle Eastern, all with a modern touch. Just reading the menu excited our taste buds.
A signature dish, the Spiced Tiffin Egg consists of bite-sized kipfler potatoes, kasundi, sumac and cumin yoghurt, charred spring onion dressing and a cashew crumb. The egg iss perfectly cooked and halved to let the runny yolk shine on the plate, crusted in an Indian-spiced shell. With all boxes ticked when it comes to texture, flavour, spice and creativity, this is a definite winner. Another popular dish is the Shrooms on Toast, which looks like a mini garden on the plate. An impressive duxelle of fricassee and mushrooms topps a thick-cut piece of La Madre toast, garnished with crunchy parsnip chips, and a goats curd and artichoke mayo satisfying the sauce components. Probably the best mushrooms on toast I have eaten, the variety of mushrooms and the flavours exploding from the ingredients were the highlights for us.
For a sweet option, whipped semolina porridge comes topped with a salted oat crumble, rhubarb strands and poached cumquats. A warming winter dish, the colours pop out from this soft-textured dish, with the salted oat crumble acting as the ‘naughty but oh so good’ ingredient in this otherwise healthy meal.
Ora’s seasonal menu has since switched into spring mode, but if their winter menu is anything to go by, it will be nothing short of amazing. The variety and balance of flavours in their food blew us away, along with the generous portion sizes that will fill you up all day long. Quality produce is respected and enhanced in the dishes coming out of the kitchen, and their skills extend into homemade sauces, pastries and desserts on display in the front cabinet. Valuing service and consistency on top of tasty food and reliable coffee, this café will ignite a following as loyal as the tiles that remain on the wall from the butchery that previously occupied this location.
Ora Specialty Coffee
156 Pakington Street
Mon – Fri: 7:00am to 4:00pm
Sat – Sun: 8:00am to 4:00pm