ORA Japanese Tapas Opening Tomorrow

Post by Mark

Last month I posted a sneak peek of the new ORA and mentioned that it was opening this month. Well, it’s opening this month, tomorrow in fact.

If you were a fan of the old ORA then you’re gonna love the new space and their updated menu. If you weren’t a fan of the old ORA, or maybe thought their prices were too high, then you’re gonna have to give the new ORA another chance since they’ve added a ton of new items to the menu and also reduced their prices.

The new ORA is located in Kuwait City, here is a link to [Google Maps] and you can also follow them on instagram @ora.kw


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ORA Japanese Tapas

Post by Mark

ora1

ORA is a Japanese Tapas restaurant that opened around 3 months ago in Arabella. I was out of the country when I was originally invited for a tasting and then only managed to finally pass by and try it out last week. The story behind ORA is an interesting one, five friends from Kuwait who went to school in California met Executive Chef Tiger at Katsuya in Beverly Hills. One thing led to another and the five friends came back to Kuwait with Chef Tiger and together they created ORA.

ora2

Most of the people go to ORA in the evening but I headed there with a friend for lunch since I wanted natural daylight for my photos. At night the place is very dim and from what I’ve been told the place is usually packed and the atmosphere makes you feel like you’re in Dubai. That’s generally the best compliment you can give to a place here… when it doesn’t make you feel like you’re in Kuwait. We ended up ordering the following dishes:

Yellowtail Tacos KD5.500
Salmon Crab Avocado Salad (x2) KD9.000
Crispy Rice Spicy Tuna KD3.500
Tiger Shrimp Tempura Roll KD4.750
Yellowtail Chili Miso KD6.500
Donburi Short Rib KD5.500
Chocolate & Salted Caramel Bread Pudding KD3.750

Chef Tiger was the Executive Chef at Katsuya in Brentwood, Los Angeles for four years before helping them open their locations in Hollywood and Glendale. He has an extensive background with Katsuya and that inspiration is reflected in his dishes. Like Katsuya you can’t compare ORA to regular traditional Japanese restaurants since the dishes are much more evolved. From all the dishes we had my favorite probably had to be the Yellowtail Chili Miso with my least favorite being the Salmon Crab Avocado Salad. I still think EDO has the best Salmon Crab Avocado Salad but my issue with the one at ORA was it was just a bit too safe of a dish compared to everything else we had. Unlike the other dishes it didn’t look like it was taken to the next step, one that would allow it to be distinguished from all the other Salmon Crab Avocado Salads in Kuwait. I wasn’t planning on having dessert but I was glad I did. Instead of using bread for their Chocolate & Salted Caramel Bread Pudding, ORA use croissant which makes it super fluffy while probably adding another thousand calories. But, the chef has somehow managed to make it taste very light which resulted in my original plan of having just one bite fail miserably.

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One thing that really stuck out for me was the service, not only were the waiters quiet, fast and well informed, but at least with our waiter he made us feel like we were at a spa since he was very soothing and borderline therapeutic. The interior of ORA is another thing I liked about the place. It’s a beautiful minimal space and from all the restaurants at Arabella probably the nicest looking and most luxurious. Speaking of luxury, I found the prices at ORA fairly reasonable for this style of place. Sure if you order one of the lobster dishes you’re going to end up paying upwards of KD20 but majority of the items are all well within reach. Their prices are actually similar to Katsuya and MAKI but the place manages to feel a lot more upscale which makes it a perfect place for dates and special occasions. Our bill came out to KD45 and that included food, beverages and tips. The only negative aspect about ORA is the fact that it’s in Arabella which itself isn’t very luxurious. Right on top of ORA is Margherita the pizza place and right across ORA is Texas Roadhouse and there is a Pinkberry on top of that. There’s a large Red Lobster at the main entrance with an Olive Garden in front of it as well. Arabella kinda feels like an outdoor food court because of all the franchises.

ora4

I liked ORA a lot and it’s a place I would definitely go back to. Also unlike most restaurants who bring in big international chefs, Chef Tiger is here to stay and he’s brought along two of his sous chefs with him so the food should continue to remain good. ORA is open from 12PM to 4PM and then again from 6PM till 12AM. It’s always better to call ahead for reserverations and their number is 22275090. For more information you can check out their instagram @ora_kw


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ORA is Reopening Next Month

Post by Mark

ORA used to be one of my favorite sushi places in Kuwait before they closed down their location in Arabella. Now, they’re reopening again and I got a sneak peek of the space earlier today, and I’m in love with it. It actually might have the nicest looking interior of any restaurant in Kuwait, and that’s saying a lot since we’ve got some pretty great looking places here.

The new ORA (or what I like to call ORA 2.0) will be located downtown, on the mezzanine floor of an AGi Architects designed building on Ahmad Al Jaber Street [Map]. As soon as I walked into the new ORA, one of the first things that caught my attention was a golden colored wall lamp and right away I asked if it was by PSLab? (it was). PSLab are lighting consultants based out of Lebanon whom I’ve been obsessed with for years. Like super obsessed, to the point, I recognized the wall lamp as being designed by them even though I had never seen it before. They’re insanely talented and you’ll find their lights all around the world in some of the most beautiful spaces including a bunch of Aesop shops. And the new ORA is no exception, their interior is also stunning.

When it opens, the new ORA will be divided into two main areas, a lunch space, and a dinner space. The dinner area is structured in a way where it could be divided up. It could be either one large room, or two medium-sized rooms or one medium-sized room and two smaller ones. So if you’ve got a private dinner party, you would be able to book a room and not have to interact with the rest of the restaurant. You’ll actually be able to get into your private room through a back door so you don’t even have to walk through the main dining area.

I didn’t get to try any food since tastings haven’t started yet but expect your favorite ORA dishes to make a comeback, along with a bunch of new ones. ORA is expecting to open on January 10th and I’m really looking forward to it. Follow them on instagram @ora.kw


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Brunch at ORA

Post by Mark

Friday brunches are usually reserved for Cocoa Room but on Saturdays I like to go to other places. Recently it’s mostly been Street (their egg and shroom bao is a killer) but last week while having dinner at ORA I found out they had a brunch menu on Saturdays. So I passed by a couple of days back to try it out.

orabrunch1

Their brunch menu really only has 3 or 4 breakfast items with the rest being mostly dishes you could have for lunch or dinner. That’s not a bad thing but if you’re expecting a bunch of intricate breakfast items cooked up by their talented Chef Tiger, you’d be disappointed.

orabrunch2

I ended up ordering the Short Rib Eggs Benedict to start with, and then a Steak & Egg Donburi to share with friends followed by French Toast & Banana Tempura for dessert. The steak & egg was easily my favorite, the eggs Benedict was also really good except the hollandaise sauce was cold which made the whole dish seem like it was cold. Finally I didn’t like the french toast but thats because I didn’t read the description of the dish properly and turns out it had peanut butter and I hate peanut butter.

Overall not a bad option for a Saturday brunch although I do hope they add more “breakfasty” options to the menu. They open at 11AM and brunch is served till 2PM. If you’ve never been to ORA before click [Here]


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Event: Japanese Pop Culture Festival

Post by Mark

A Japanese Pop Culture Festival will be held at the National Library of Kuwait on September 12 and 13 in corporation with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and the Japanese Embassy. The Festival will include various events, among them will be a Shadowloo Showdown qualifier, Anime drawing contest, figure drawing contest and a cosplay contest.

Date: Thursday September 12 and Friday September 13, 2013
Time: 6PM
Location: National Library of Kuwait

Shadowloo Showdown includes the following games: Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition ver. 2012, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, King of Fighters XIII. To sign up to it or for more information on this festival visit this [Link]

via 360dewan


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Gallery of Rare Japanese Nissans

Post by Mark

Nissan Garage

Just found this link on BoingBoing and its crazy. A ton of cars including my favorite a GT-R from the 70’s.

A lucky joe got to tour Nissan’s private Zama storage facility, full of rare and one-off cars from the auto manufacturer spanning several decades. He was nice enough to take dozens of pictures and put them online.

[Link]


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JOA Sushi & Poke

Post by Mark

Some of you might already know JOA since they’ve been on Carriage but they just opened up their first physical location and it’s located right next to Habra in Kuwait City. For those of you who don’t know, JOA is an ORA creation that serve sushi but also specialize in poke bowls. I had previously only ordered sushi rolls from them but over the weekend I passed by their location for lunch and finally got to try one of their poke bowls. I fell in love instantly.

I ordered the regular sized “Tuna on Fire” poke bowl with extra protein and it was so damn good that I ended up ordering it again for dinner that same night from Carriage. They’re soft launching their new location today and their timings for now will only be from 12PM to 7PM. The place is tiny with no indoor seating but they do have an outdoor seating area.

So if you’re interested, their instagram account is @joa.kw and here is their location on [Google Maps]


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The Tiger Tiger Popup is Back

Post by Mark

tigertiger

The Tiger Tiger popup is back again, this time in a new location in Shuwaikh. Tiger Tiger is a pan-asian restaurant by the guys behind Ora and they’ll only be there till the end of the week. Similar to last time, their menu is small and composed of three starters and three mains:

Starters KD2.5
Duck Spring Roll
Shrimp on Toast
Cream Cheese Wonton

Mains KD4.5
Orange Chicken
Thai Chili Beef
Kung Pao Shrimp

I passed by last night and loved the location and atmosphere, so much so that I think Tiger Tiger should never be a permanent restaurant and instead popup like this every now and then. We don’t have a lot to do in Kuwait so an event like this brings people together. Last night was an invite only evening and I kept running into people I hadn’t seen in ages.

If you’re interested in passing by, they’re only going to be there until Thursday November 10th, starting 6pm until late. Make sure you get there early, when I got there last night around 7:30 I was able to find seating easily but when I left at 9:30 there was a long waiting list. I heard at one point the waiting list had over a hundred people. But, Jumo Coffee also has a setup there so you could have a coffee and socialize while you wait.

Here is their popup location on [Google Maps]. They’re located in a complex thats still under construction but you’ll be able to spot Tiger Tiger from the red glow. They’re also on instagram @tigertiger.kw


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Tiger Tiger Pop-up Restaurant

Post by Mark

tigertiger

Tiger Tiger the new pan-asian restaurant by the guys behind Ora is currently open in pop-up form for just this week in Kuwait City. Their menu is small and composed of the below three starters and three mains:

Starters KD2.5
Duck Spring Roll
Shrimp on Toast
Cream Cheese Wonton

Mains KD4.5
Orange Chicken
Thai Chili Beef
Kung Pao Shrimp

If you want to try them out they’re only going to be open until Thursday (May 12) from 6PM onwards. Here is their location on [Google Maps]


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DMcircle, a networking event

Post by Mark

dmcircle

DMcircle is a local event aimed at middle managers and executive managers to network, build connections, share ideas, get inspired and to learn about the latest updates to have better opportunities of growing their businesses. DMcircle was developed by a former boss of mine, Loaay Ahmed who some of you might recognize from his monthly column in Bazaar Magazine “Loaay’s 2 Cents”. I was invited to attend one of their meetings last week and although I kinda forced myself to go, I’m glad I did since the whole experience turned out to be a lot more enjoyable than I was expecting it to be.

The event was held at the Jumeirah Messilah Beach ballroom and when I arrived and signed in I was given a “Hello my name is” sticker to stick on my shirt as well as a card with the table number I should sit on. After picking up my stuff I recognized three people I knew, the manager of Bang & Olufsen, the PR coordinator for the Kei Japanese restaurant and Dr John P. Hayes from GUST who was going to be presenting that night. I chatted with them for a bit until it was time to go into the ballroom.

hello

The event started off with two short videos, one about the Ziferblat Cafe that opened in London, the second was called The Ripple Effect of a Great Work Culture (this one was great, everyone should watch this and it’s a very short video). Once we were done with the two videos there were two presentations, the first one was by John who’s a fantastic presenter. His presentation was called “Leading With Your Personality” and was about figuring out people’s personalities so you could better understand why they respond to you the way they do and why they do what they do. The second presentation was via Skype with Safouane Almansour from San Francisco called “MENA, The New Silicon Valley?”. Very few people know this but Safouane used to work in Kuwait before and was the marketing manager for Alghanim Automotive. He was the one who first approached me back in 2006 and asked me if I would be interested in placing an advertising banner on my blog. He became my first advertiser and made me realize I could generate income by blogging for a living so it was great seeing him again after such a long time even though it was over Skype. Safouane is currently the marketing VP for the Silicon Valley start up, Boca Video.

Once the presentations were done we were told to change tables. The card I received when I first arrived had different table numbers for different parts of the event. For example mine was table #3, than #3 again for the second session and then table #1. This would allow people to mix and mingle with other people at the event instead of just sitting next to the same group the whole time. Once we swapped tables a topic was displayed on the large projection screen and we had to discuss it with the people sitting at our table.

Overall it was an interesting event, one that turned out to be a lot more entertaining than I was expecting it to be. DMcircle is held once a month and they’ve been doing this since back in 2009. The only way to take part in this is if you become a member, your company is a member or you get invited by a member. Membership prices start at around KD220 a year as an individual and higher as a corporation. If you’d like more information on DMcircle you can check out their website [Here]


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