18 Hess Street South, Hamilton
visited Saturday September 17, 2016
Admission- my new favourite thing is to have LUNCHER…that’s lunch and dinner combined- why should brunch get all the glory? Ok I love this mainly because it’s the most baby friendly time to get out for a meal. London gets to roam the resto freely without disrupting everything and we get to relax (a teeny tiny bit) during the meal. The look on the servers face when we walked into Ora at 4pm on a Saturday (located in Hess Village to boot) and asked if they were serving food said it all… parents have no shame, its survival of the fittest LOL.
James and I have been trying to make better food choices in preparation for our upcoming Philippines trip, so instead of ordering Double Fried Lasagna $10 which sounded yummy, we opted to share this salad. It was chock full of shrimp and calamari which satisfied our deep fried craving and was good and filling. The grilled pineapple was a nice sweet touch but they forgot to put the watermelon and Havarti in the salad, as described on the menu, which was disappointing. The weird green gel as decoration was a little off putting too… I was timidly dipping my fork into it wondering if I should eat it or smear it around?
This pizza was a good step up from the salad. With bourbon bbq sauce, roasted red peppers, red onions, banana peppers, mozza and grilled chicken this was a delicious pie. They weren’t stingy on the toppings and every bite had a bit of each ingredient. The crust was good but not amazing…I like my crust a bit dough with some crispy bits (like NaRoma or Fortino’s pizza). But all their ‘zza’s are baked in a wood fired oven, which is always a bonus. And for fifteen bones I’d say this is excellent value for your money- I had lots of leftovers which were just as good the next day. (TIP: to reheat leftover pizza, spray a frying pan with a bit of cooking spray. Place cold pizza in pan and heat on medium till the crust gets golden. Add a lid to heat the top of the ‘zza during the last few minutes.)
James went crazy outta the box and got veal parmigiana instead of chicken parm- they offer veal, chicken or eggplant parm which is such a smart idea. For people like James who tend to stick to the same ol’ same ol’, its nice to have the option of all three versions of parmigiana to choose from. This meal was the real winner for me out of all our dishes. The spaghetti was cooked al dente, the sauce was totally homemade with huge chunks of tomato and lots of garlic flavour and the garlic bread was the perfect accompaniment to the entire plate. Not to mention the veal was tender, had a great crispy (not greasy) crust and they even shaved real parmigiana over the top. Thumbs up for this plate.
The décor was decent with glossy red bar stools, black tables and floors and nice tiling detail behind the bar- but nothing to drool over. The patio is definitely the highlight so if you can get there before the cold weather sets in, I’d highly suggest it. It was a drizzly day when we went so we made due with sitting at a big bar height table with the front window wall completely open. Our service was super good, but we were literally the only customers from beginning to end (read: parents dream come true!!!) London charmed the servers and bar tender with her funny faces and we only broke a sweat once while trying to feed her some messy spaghetti while on my lap. I hope they are as friendly and helpful when the place is packed. Unfortunately they were all out of cannoli’s for the day so I passed on dessert and a cappuccino. It’s always a real bummer when a resto doesn’t have something on the menu that you’re looking forward too.
Overall this place was good. Food was fresh and cooked perfectly, but there's a bit of room to step it up a notch. I guess mainly having the ingredients and menu items listed would be the biggest area for improvement, but I'd definitely check it out again and send someone there whose looking for a cool vibe and yummy Italian eats.