On the same day I visited Locale for lunch, I went to Ora for dinner.
Ten minutes before opening time, I peeked through the darkened glass front door and tried it. Locked. Turning around and settling on killing a bit more time by walking around I heard a noise behind me. The receptionist unlocked the door with a big, friendly smile and said: “Welcome, you’re our first customer tonight!” He ushered me to the waiting area where he handed me a cocktail menu. What a lovely reception it was. A stark contrast to my experience at Locale earlier that day.
Only when I asked for cocktail suggestions did it become clear this fella didn’t understand English very well and didn’t know what lemonade was. My Raspberry Bellini underwhelmed and later when I ordered another type my drink never arrived. My dining companions, Jeanne from Cooksister, Solange from Pebble Soup and another friend, were luckier with their drinks.
Keen to try a variety of starters, we ordered Mieng Kaum (Roasted Coconut Mixed with Pomelo, Peanut, Lime, Dried Shrimps, Ginger and Chillies Served on Betel Leaves & Tamarind Sauce), which is a favourite of mine and met my high expectations.
The Silk Trader which consisted of Chicken Satay which was great but the rest of the fried goods, Pork Dumplings, Prawn Tempura, Crab Cakes and Vegetable Spring Rolls with Dipping Sauces were a let-down. The concept of the calamari strips was fun but the squid ended up being tasteless. On most Far Eastern menus fried menu items dominate the starter section of a menu. Why not? They are easy and quick to prepare but the idea of frozen commercially prepared food dumped into the deep fryer and then being charged an arm and a leg for it doesn’t appeal.
We had the following main courses:
- Kaeng Ped Phed Yang – Red Duck Curry with Lychee, Cherry Tomatoes, Chillies and Sweet Basil
- Pla Paow – Grilled Sea Bream served with Braised Fennel, Chili and Lime Sauce
- Ped Yang Nam Makam – Grilled Duck Breast with Sweet & Spicy Tamarind Sauce
- Hoy Shell Pad Nam Prik Paow – Fresh Scallops with Thai House Spicy Sauce and Sweet Basil
All of them were fantastic and I would have any of the dishes in a heartbeat again.
Judging by the menu it could be seen that the chef had great trouble in striking a balance between Eastern and Western desserts. Not every Westerner, including myself, would be keen on a weird sweet offering and there were other not very exciting Western desserts to choose from.
My Pavlova was beautifully presented yet had a sterile feel to it. The dense Chocolate Cheesecake was not very sweet or chocolatey. Maybe it was store-bought?
Brave Solange took the plunge and ordered Sarm Sa-Hai which is a selection of Thai desserts but I wasn’t sold.
Pie Supparod (Pineapple Pie served with Warm Crème Anglais) was the best in my books. It creatively bridged the gap between both worlds, pie from the West and Pineapple from East.
6/10: Food ranged from mediocre to fantastic.
7/10: Reasonable portions.
7/10: Polite and attentive service.
8/10: All good.
6/10: Lighting is too dark for my taste.
6/10: The main courses are wholeheartedly recommended. Order the rest at your own risk.
P.S. I was a guest of Ora for dinner.
6 Little Portland Street