It’s been a big few weeks for John Vroom, who came second in the Australian Siphon Championship last week. He’s been working away at another little project too, having just opened his own cafe in Kew. After years of working behind the coffee machines at Melbourne cafes Liar Liar and more recently Proud Mary, Vroom has today, opened the doors of his own cafe, Ora, with girlfriend Stephanie Manolas and chef David Masters (ex The Grand and The Commoner).
The name is derived from the Latin word for time or hour, a subtle theme with no link to the previous tenants with a similar name, Japanese restaurant Ocha, which recently moved to Hawthorn. Ora is a fresh addition to the quaint shopping village in Kew and another turn at bringing serious coffee to the suburbs, a la The Premises.
The small, single-fronted space is shiny and new and unlike any of its neighbours. At this stage, the cafe seats just 26 on wooden benches and tables made by Manolas’ father and uncle, as diners consider an adventurous cafe menu by Masters.
Dishes cover all day dining, with breakfast items like fried duck egg, black pudding, breakfast radish and parsley salad or pancakes with hazelnuts, pear, blueberries and milk ice. For something more lunchy, there is a potato tortilla, prawn and scallop ravioli or a veggie sandwich with kasundi and farmhouse cheddar. Out back there’s a large garden with a veggie patch, where the Ora team are growing their own herbs and veggies. Talk about local produce!
All the while, Vroom works behind the fancy machines, brewing siphon and pour over coffee like a science experiment with a blend of beans made by Proud Mary especially for the cafe. They’re also planning to open up a room out back for brewing and cupping sessions down the track.
Once again, we’re seeing seasoned inner city baristas brining superior coffee further afield. This one is sure to be a hit and will no doubt entice cafe hunters from all over town.
156 Packington Street, Kew
(03) 9855 2002
Mon to Thu 7am-4pm Fri 7am-6:30pm
Sat to Sun 8am–6:30pm