Ora Japanese Bar & Dining opens in Luke Mangan's former Waterloo eatery

Ora Japanese Bar & Dining slides into the Waterloo site that once housed Luke's Kitchen.
Ora Japanese Bar & Dining slides into the Waterloo site that once housed Luke's Kitchen. Photo: Jason Loucas

 It's shaping up as a big year in Sydney for restaurant rebirths. As new operators step in to reopen discarded sites, the former home of Luke Mangan's Waterloo eatery, Luke's Kitchen, has taken a Japanese turn.

Nobuyuki Ura, an 11-year veteran at Merivale's Sushi-e, has overseen an impressive and extensive renovation of the Dank Street space, with Ora Japanese Bar & Dining opening early last week.

While Ura put his signature Balmain Bug tempura sang choy bao on a menu glistening with dishes such as Hokkaido scallop with asparagus, tobiko and kombu miso butter, there's more to come at Ora.

Ora Japanese Bar & Dining chef Nobuyuki Ura.
Ora Japanese Bar & Dining chef Nobuyuki Ura. Photo: Jason Loucas

The restaurant has Sydney's restaurant accoutrement du jour: an omakase counter the chef designed himself.

There's just one hitch. "We don't have enough staff at the moment," Ura says. "We'll open the counter when we do."

After departing Sushi-e, Ura was recruited to open a Japanese restaurant at The Rocks, a project that fell over.

Nobuyuki Ura's sashimi creation.
Nobuyuki Ura's sashimi creation. Photo: Jason Loucas

"[Winning Appliances'] John Winning was one of my customers. I joined Winnings Group as an ambassador, this site came up next to them and they decided to open a restaurant," says Ora executive chef Ura.

It's a promising move for the one-time glamour food strip, which has lost some big names over the years as Danks Street Depot, the original Fratelli Fresh and Luke's Kitchen moved on. Ora is a step back in the right direction.

Open Tue-Sat 6pm-10pm.

8-10 Danks Street, Waterloo, orasyd.com