Location, location, location are, as every estate agent and Channel 4 property show addict knows, the three critical factors in determining the desirability of a property. The same cannot be said for restaurants, which can thrive in the oddest places – both under and atop multi-storey car-parks, for example – yet fail in seemingly sure-fire sites.
Ora is a fantastic smart Thai restaurant cursed with an abysmal location (location, location). Little Portland Street is an alleyway in the unlovely area north of Oxford Street that property developers have tried unsuccessfully for years to rebrand as Noho. The previous occupant of this site was Annex 3, the short-lived West End off-shoot of Shoreditch favourite Les Trois Garcons.
Ora’s owners are clearly unperturbed that the eponymous three boys, with their pedigree, couldn’t make a go of it here. Money has been spent to good effect on giving the long, large dining room and adjoining cocktail lounge a sleek, dark, Christian Liaigre-ish makeover, and an elegant interlocking design rather like a curvy Union Jack runs across staff t-shirts, embroidered leather place-mats and menus. There’s confidence as well as incense in the air….
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