The Italian word for shadow/shade (as in come into the shade for replenishment after a hard day’s work).
On the corner of Cuba and Vivian, Ombra has gone into the refurbished and earthquaked
site previously home to Peaches and Cream, with a warm open environment, rustic decor, pretty headlights and Venetian tapas (have a read of this Word on the Street post for the background).
Like most places recently, the concept is sharing. However, unlike many others, Ombra has the price point right ($5-$18, and $7 – $9 for desserts), so you can try a number of things and go home without emptying your wallet. Four of us averaged $28 per head and felt sufficiently sated (although of course, drink prices are always another matter!), as well has having tried a number of new taste experiences.
And like the latest in the Auckland scene, there’s no booking here, just turn up, enjoy a drink and beginnings at the bar, and a table will present in due course. A growing concept in the hospo trade to turn tables over without wasted ‘reserved’ time, keep the prices down and volumes up, and accommodate guests better while waiting.
Of highlight for me – the pizettes, arancini our way, polenta and birds that got away (traditionally done with illegal birds, but on this occasion veal wrapped in sage, slivered pork cheek, then veal again), and honey saffron panacotta with biscotti.
I was also impressed with the bathrooms (style and care), and enjoyed sitting at the bar watching the kitchen staff cooking right in front of us (no pressure) – a great way to drool in advance!
The only off-note of the night was our waiter at the end opening a discussion by saying ‘we don’t want to rush you, but with the number of people waiting….’ and then a flustered back-pedal about bringing the bill to help us out when realising it sounded a bit abrupt. As it was I’d just been up and paid, as one is aware of others waiting, but a nicer opening would just have been ‘if there’s nothing else you’d like folks, I could bring you the bill?…. To this point the service had been very good, so I’ll forgive for now.
I’m scheduled there for a weekend brunch soon, so it’ll be interesting to see how the morning experience stacks up.
Definitely worth a visit, and be prepared to enjoy a drink at the bar with a starting nibble while it unfolds around you.
Trust me, it will mean an overall more memorable experience.