Read an update of this review here.
Something new to discover! The area around Oranienplatz just got a beautiful new café: ORA. Located inside an old pharmacy, with most of the original furnishing still there, it’s a beautiful place to have your first meal of the day, spend a lazy afternoon or get the first or last drink of the night.
It’s only been open for a week, but is already a highlight in the area.
I heard about renovations going on in this corner building on this long neglected side of Oranienplatz weeks ago, a friend of a friend, a photographer in his other life, wanted to start a café. And what I first wrongfully dismissed as one of those short-lived ideas that are very unlikely to ever really happen, now finally has a (stunning) shape. Entering the café from the corner door is an experience in itself, the rooms are gorgeous, very high ceilings, big windows and stone floors. The former pharmacy’s installations have been preserved, cleaned and transformed into a long bar, the shelves are still filled with smaller and bigger bottles. The back room has tables, wooden chairs and a long bench lining the wall, there’s even another small room on an upper level with what looks like former storage cabins and a big leather poof in the middle, which might come in handy when ORA has implemented its full bar.
Because yes, it’s not only a breakfast, lunch and Kaffee und Kuchen place, but a bar! It’s going for no less than establishing a full Kaffeehaus, those lovely Austrian cafés being open all day, with a small menu, delicious coffee, some cake and drinks later at night.
Since they’re only open for a week now, the menu is still finding its form. Currently they’ve got breakfast options like cinnamon buns, brioche and muesli bars, for lunch they’re serving salads, soup and a Gulasch. But I’ve heard their plans are big and they are still working on the kitchen concept and finding the right sources for their food. Up next is a cooperation with a Kreuzberg grocery store to get some charcuterie and also their own pastrami to offer sandwiches.
It was easy to go for all their lunch offers when I visited first, pictured here is their roasted beet root with sesame, horseradish dip and their own bread (4,90 Euro). The latter is served with almost all their dishes and it’s really good, made from sourdough only (no yeast, no backferment or similar), pure and simple and just the way I like it. Might even be a contender for Berlin’s Best Bread.
Since the dishes are rather small, you’d be well advised to share more than one, or add the bread with one of their spreads, roasted pepper hummus, cashew nut cream or, my fav, Hirtenkäse with some wonderful spices and dried fruits.
I was intrigued by my lunch and liked ORA’s atmosphere so much, I came back for breakfast to enjoy more of their baked goods. I’ve already had a soft and moist hazelnut cake for dessert at lunch before, that had intense nutty flavor and some excellent hazelnuts on top. But what I really wanted to try were their shiny glazed cinnamon buns – you can pair them with a coffee made with full fat milk or even choose almond milk. It was an indulgent breakfast (smear additional butter on top, I say), with just the right amount of comfort (and sugar) needed to push me into the day.
I already like ORA a lot, despite the menu that waits to be extended, the lovely staff and atmosphere and the gorgeous interior is making up for a lot (even for the fact, that ORA, facing North, is not very likely to get a lot of sun – which, obviously, makes it a great place to chill down on one of those hot summer days we’re expecting). And I think you should stop for breakfast, quick lunch, coffee and cake and an after-work drink, yes please.