You’d never guess what was coming out of the kitchen of Ora, a plain little cafe amongst a functional set of local shops in Willsmere Village, Kew.
It’s some of the most interesting cafe food I’ve had in a while – beautifully presented, restaurant quality dishes with an inventive combination of ingredients extracting influences from Asia to Europe to the Middle East.
The menu is a single page spanning breakfast to lunch and for the in-betweeners who like to brunch (Ora is open daytime only). There’s no particular order in the way the menu is presented – sweet and savoury, large and small plates are all intermingled together.
I headed for one of the more expensive options, the prawn toast with a slaw, avocado whip, lime and poached egg ($20).
It was a glorious plate of a Canto-favourite with a European twist. The prawn had been minced with dill rather than the more traditionally Asian spring onions and then piled atop some thickly sliced La Madre bread and toasted buttery golden on the bottom and pressed with sesame seeds on top. There were also signs of dill in the salad and the avocado while the tangled slaw was tangy and garden-fresh in its crispness.
In fact, if you stroll down to the backyard you’ll see the verdant veggie patch where they grow tomatoes and herbs. This is about as low of a carbon footprint as you can get, when freshly picked means literally opening the kitchen screen door with a pair of scissors.
Anyway, as my lunch companion decided to eat most of the prawn toast I opted for a sweet second course. The summer pudding with vanilla pannacotta, fresh raspberries and tuile was an glamourously presented duo of dessert ($14). The pannacotta was richly velvety on the tongue and provided a slightly tart contrast to the concentrated sweetness of the intensely berry pudding. The paper-light decorative tuile was similar to the Asian egg rolls I’d eat by the tinful as a kid and provided a textural counterpoint to the two domes of pudding.
Ora is renowned for their coffee, which comes from Proud Mary (one of the owners used to work there). As a non-coffee drinker I was very impressed by the food on offer and would recommend an eating visit during the week when it’s generally just locals getting their takeaway coffees.