Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ora Café - (Melbourne)

   Head Honcho and owner of Ora used to work as a Barista at Proud Mary,  itself a newish venue which has quickly established itself as a formidable player in the Melbourne cafe scene.  Johnny Vroom recently came 2nd in the Australian Siphonist Championship in 2011.  Far from developing into fierce competitors,  both Proud Mary and Ora are highly supportive of each another and even their coffee beans are based on the Proud Mary roasted house blend.    Another attraction of Ora lies with their La Marzocco Strada Espresso machine, which is the top line up in the famed LM range with full pressure profiling specs, and in a coffee world flooded with modded Synesso’s and Slayers (both of which aren’t found in any cafés in Hong Kong, unfortunately),  their Strada does stand out from the rest of the crowd.   *Ora is found at where pseudo-Japanese restaurant Ocha used to be located,  before they moved to a bigger premise.



Nice Local Setting -


Some sweet bites -


Siphons,  La Marzocco Strada EP,  and some hardcore peripherals -
This is definitely no ordinary café …

House Blend Espresso -
Using mostly of South/Central American beans,  this ‘blend’ pulled on the Strada machine was not surprisingly,  different from the exact same blend drank at Proud Mary.   Here,  it is more viscous and heavier in body,  with a slightly more ‘rounder’ profile and a more dark bitter chocolate note.  The fruitiness in this cup is also of a darker note but the layering seems to have become more interesting indeed.  An eye opening comparison and good for learning! ~    9/10



Fried Duck Egg,  Black Pudding, Breakfast Radish and Parsley Salad,  with Avocado -
Duck egg is not often found on a café menu,  but it does work best with a morcilla style black pudding.   I’m unashamed to say,  that I’ve actually tried all black puddings at any café I’ve already visited and unreviewed yet,  and the Ora version was easily one of the best ones around.  It is moist inside but cooked to a crispy exterior stage,  and with the french breakfast radish and a herb salad which was actually more than the simply described parsley salad,  this really will become a missed item when I leave Melbourne again soon~   ~    10/10


P1190191-1Caffe Latte -
This looked a bit pale,  but the taste was spot on.  The milk was sweet, but I guess the foam can be even more smoother.  But the combination of the Strada pulled shot with the latte milk was gorgeous.  Instead of the boring malty and woody,  always too earthy milk coffees around -  this is what I consider a coffee that is alive!   The complexity of a really good milk coffee can be fairly interesting,  such as this one with its perfection combination of fruitiness, chocolate and just a tad of that old school horse fur character.  Utterly good~   ~   9.5/10


Espresso of single origin,  Nicaragua ‘Limoncello’ -
I’ve actually had this quite a few times over the years and think it is under-rated next to the super expensive Panama Geisha beans,  as they carry resemblance to each other in characters.  Pulled from their Strada,  this was once again jammy and was more refreshing than the House Blend shot above.  The acidity in this shot together with the coke and lemon rind character can scare some people away but I happened to really enjoy this special character.  I think I prefer it Siphoned (also available here) but this shot was very educational for me,  it was almost Slayer shot like !      ~  9/10


Panama Santa Teresa Geisha, El Machete (Siphoned) -
The 1st cup wasn't made very well in terms of timing and these notes were subdued when barista QC'ed his own cup. He then automatically made a 2nd cup for me. I tried the failed cup as well to compare!    This 2nd cup was the most floral of the geishas tried recently but still carried that unmistaken geisha creamy and cascara like smell. With a distinct orange blossom and jasmine aroma. In the mouth this was a sweet orange citrus and soothingly sweet. Not intense, but very summery coffee. Didn't blow my mind off but I do miss its soothing characters.




Orange Mandeleine -
Baked pretty well here actually. 


Caffe Latte #2  -  (House Blend, but diff beans to above one)
Due to seasonal changes, the bean supplies will affect the cupping quality.  In this case,  it became a little less interesting and minus that floral sweetness I enjoyed.  The same thing happened back at Proud Mary during the same week of the repeated visits.  Unfortunately that’s coffee for you – inconsistent !     ~      7.5/10


P1190198-1Lovely Setting,  Lovely People serving -
The food was great,  and the coffee was addictively good.
Not every café in Melbourne is perfect, but most will find groove satisfying their own targeted audiences.   Ora for me,  is exactly what I want, like and need on a daily basis. 
The milk foam can be smoother,  but taste wise,  it was close enough to perfection.


Price: AUD $3.50 - 20 per person
Coffee:  ♕♕♕♕♕1/2 to ♕♕♕♕♕♕
Food: ♕♕♕♕♕

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri 9am-7pm
Sat 9am-2pm

Address: 156 Pakington Street, Kew Melbourne
Phone: (03) 9855 2002

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