Arabella has given us much to look forward to when visiting the Al Bida’a area. With the gorgeous promenade, an unbeatable view overlooking the Arabian Gulf and a wide spanning selection of culinary delights that would suit any person’s dining preference, Arabella is now home to many of our local favorite dining destinations. If you’re looking to stray away from the traditional, however, and wish to foray into the world of Asian fusion, then you should try out the Japanese tapas at Ora.
You’re not mistaken; you did read Japanese and tapas in the same sentence. That’s the beauty behind Ora at Arabella. You can opt for the traditional sashimi, or you could swap that safe choice for Yellowtail Carpaccio. Your favorite chicken meatballs dish is reimagined in the form of a Korean Donburi, or Asian rice bowl, with Korean chili. Why? Because the good people at Ora believe that your palates deserve something different. Each and every dish will offer your taste buds something different and pleasantly unexpected.
The décor is minimalist, with a simple and understated monochromatic theme dominating the space. Despite the sleek and chic aesthetic, the staff will offer you an extremely warm welcome. The atmosphere is a refreshing break from other similar establishments, as the décor definitely alludes to a fine dining experience, yet the setting is functional, and even casual if you choose to come here for lunch. This is what the five founders of Ora envisioned for the space. Co-founder Talal Algharaballi spoke of the dining experiences he enjoyed as a student in California, where the current founders of Ora originally met their culinary partner Executive Chef Tiger, and said, “We simply wanted to create a space that is both inviting yet offers a refined menu. You can come here for a special occasion, or a family lunch. We felt like finding Asian fusion dining options here in Kuwait can be limiting when it comes to the type of food and atmosphere that is available.” Sometimes, you simply want to enjoy an upscale menu in an uncomplicated environment, and that is what makes Ora completely unique.
When it comes to restaurant design, looks can sometimes be deceiving, however at Ora, the opposite rings true. The secret behind Ora’s exciting menu is the amazing Chef Tiger, who constantly delivers dishes that are complex, rich in flavor and above all, memorable. Chef Tiger not only spearheaded the kitchen at the original Katsuya in Brentwood, Los Angeles, his extensive background and gastronomic experience clearly shaped his vision for the dishes at Ora. As one of the founding partners at Ora, you will see the chef’s unwavering commitment to quality ingredients, equipment used and even the presentation of the dishes at Ora.
The dining experience at Ora is a distinct one, characterized by a particular flow of dishes. Traditionally, diners are recommended to follow the flow of the menu as this is based upon the length of time incorporated in preparing the dishes, ensuring that you consistently receive dishes that are freshly prepared in the kitchen.
We started off our fusion-filled journey with a refreshing round of drinks, courtesy of Chef Tiger. We tried J’s Mojito, with fresh mint and lime, lemon puree, passion fruit syrup, mojito syrup, and soda water. The Gaslamp delivers the same minty freshness of the mojito, except that it is injected with grenadine syrup and orange juice. We loved these drinks, as they weren’t too sweet, and offered that exact dose of acidity that perfectly complements the tapas that arrived to our table. From the warm tapas, we tried the signature Tiger Creamy Shrimp dish; this includes perfectly battered tiger shrimp with delectable crispy bacon bits, caramelized onions and tobiko with Ora’s homemade spicy aioli. This dish alone ticks all of our boxes. Depth of flavor: Check. Texture: Check. Presentation: Fabulous. We also highly recommend that you inject some Mexican elements into your choice of tapas with Yellowtail Tacos!
A common denominator shared amongst all of the dishes at Ora is the quality of the ingredients. You can taste the difference in the salmon, yellowtail, beef and chicken. When a dish is freshly prepared with quality ingredients, it is simply ingrained in your memory. From the signature sushi options, we selected the Cajun Salmon Mango for our love of all things Creole. With Cajun seared salmon, avocado and mango topped with a Saba vinaigrette and mango salsa, we relived the Latin flavor that is homemade ceviche, yet in the form of a roll. You can also enjoy this experience in the form of sashimi, the salmon’s flavors amplified with accents of lime and chili and yuzo soy.
Then came the dish that stole our hearts, and self control, the Crispy Rice Wagyu Beef. Imagine an expertly prepared battered rice cake, crafted with Robata-grilled Wagyu tenderloin, with just the right amount of wasabi guacamole sitting between the beef and the rice cake and a teriyaki balsamic glaze. The delectable beef melts in the mouth, followed by an explosion of flavors and textures coming from the rice cake and wasabi. You can easily enjoy this creation with the option of Spicy Tuna, Salmon Tartar and Yellowtail Tartar. The Short Rib Truffle followed, also a dish that we devoured in mere moments. The combination of slowly braised US Angus short rib drizzled in a truffle soy reduction with a side of truffle mashed potatoes and tempura Brussels sprouts was heavenly to say the least.
Just when we mustered up the courage to declare ourselve full, our desserts arrived. We first sampled the selection of homemade ice creams and sorbets, including caramel honey, green tea, Tahitian Vanilla, Mango sorbet (This tasted like biting into a really, really perfectly ripened mango) and the slightly sour Yuzo sorbet. They arrived artfully laid out in pristine white scooping spoons, with only the fresh colors of the flavored frozen goodies livening up the neatly plated dessert. For bread pudding lovers, the Cinnamon and Pecan Bread Pudding, think layer upon layer of baked croissant infused with cinnamon-sugar crusted caramelized pecans, topped off with sweet cream, along with the Chocolate and Salted Caramel Bread pudding, are reason enough to keep you coming back to Ora. Did we mention that the Salted Caramel and Chocolate bread pudding is laden with Nutella goodness? Case closed.
Ora Japanese Tapas is located in Arabella in Al Bida’a and is open for Lunch from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. and dinner from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. For more information please call 2227 5090 or follow them on Instagram @Ora_kw.