Oriole Coffee + Bar has undergone a rebranding back in October 2014. Everything from the cafe's interior to the coffee and food menu has been given a makeover to deliver a more wholesome dining experience.
You won't believe how yummy this plate of black rice is. Tossed with smoky lap Cheong (Chinese sausages) and shredded chili, the Fried Wild Rice ($11) tasted just like the crispy burnt rice that we scraped off desperately at the last from claypot rice.
Fried Wild Rice 4.8/5
But now we don't have to save the best thing for the last and can dive in straight into this aromatic flavorful bowl of crunchy gains that are quarantined from any unpleasant bitterness. Best of all, they bind together nicely with a shy ingredient that chose to hide its glamour beneath the pile of rice —Onsen Egg.
Taisho White 4/5 and Taisho M.A.D. Milk 4/5
An example of an innovative creation is Oriole's new signature cold brew, Taisho Coffee, whose flavors are extracted by steeping ground coffee in ice cold water for hours. It is available in black ($6) or white ($7).
I am no coffee expert so I tried the Taisho M.A.D. Milk ($8), which is literally coffee blended with cold pressed milk made from Macademia. Almond. Dates. In fact, Oriole Coffee + Bar is the pioneer of the coffee and nut milk hybrid in Singapore! The subtle acidity of the coffee was neutralized by the milk, which made this a pleasant drink to enjoy anytime of the day.
M.A.D. Milk 4.2/5
But I still prefer sipping a cup of soothing cup of pure M.A.D milk ($10) as it was the warm temperature, which brought out the full-bodied nuttiness of the milk.
Lamb Cutlet 3.8/5
Besides the appetizing fried rice earlier, the Small Plates section also includes other moreish delights such as the Mantou Sloppy Dog and Lamb Cutlet ($22), a trio of grilled lamb ribs garnished with roasted cumin puffs (think Indian papadum crackers), pickled apricots and mint leaf. The chemistry between the lamb, cumin and mints made this a very Indie dish that would be an instant hit if the intensity of the mint is heightened. It is quite pricey but the texture of the lamb was spot on chewy with rosy pink interior.
Capellini Crabmeat 4/5
Much has been raved about the Garlic Prawn Risotto but we decided to try something different, Capellini Crabmeat ($26). This is a full-fledged meal that goes generous on fresh crabmeat and piquillo pepper. I thought the choice of using Capellini was quite clever because I get more flavours per strand without compromising the chewiness, given that this pasta falls in between angel hair and spaghetti.
Reuben Served with Paprika Fries and Salad 4.2/5
Coffee-cured salt beef, anyone? Yes, this man-sized Reuben ($17) gives diners piled layers of home-made coffee-cured salt beef, sauerkraut, melted Swiss cheese and mustard mayo between delightfully crispy grilled rye bread. I couldn't distinguish the java notes in the beef but it doesn't really matter as the superb balanced of flavors (especially between the tangy sauerkraut and salty beef) left me deeply enamored. Oh boy, I never dare to look at these Western sandwiches the same way again.
Waffles Miso 4.5/5
While Oriole may not be a waffle specialty shop, one would definitely live in regrets without trying their "Waffles Miso" ($12), at least I know for sure I will. Stacked precariously atop one another without any overkill of toppings, the golden waffles boasts spongy interior with delicately crisp yet chewy edges that you would love to sink your teeth into right upon serving. Oriole breathes new life into this dish not only by sneaking in a small dosage of buttery milk streusel, but also blending miso into caramel, adding a funky umami touch to the sickly sweetness.
White Chocolate Yuzu Cheesecake 3/5
White chocolate has unabashedly stolen the show here, obscuring the citrusy compounds of the Yuzu beneath the rich cheesecake ($8). Together with the frantically melting ice cream and raspberry sauce, this plate has reached the zenith of sweetness and may need to find a balance so that the prized Yuzu fruit need not just be carrying an exotic title on the menu.
Chocolate and Coconut Affogato 4/5
And one last dessert to end the night? The classic Chocolate and Coconut Affogato ($9) that once again reminds me that we are in a place where coffee calls the shot. The rich espresso coffee adds a satisfying bitter kick to the sweet ice cream even though it was shunned of any coconut flavors. And what make this a kind of super-sophisticated sundae was the cocoa crumbles that contributed another wildly pleasurable form of bitterness.
Out of this sleek chill-out space in Orchard emerges mostly comfort food, unobtrusively finessed and hearty in portions. Better still: a lunch promotion at $19++ that allows you to have any of the Oriole Classics with salad and iced tea. There is also an all-day breakfast menu that ends till 6pm and even takeaway counter where early risers in the Somerset area can grab some baked goodies and coffee. Yes, there is so much more to Oriole Coffee + Bar than initially meets the eye.
Written and Photograph by Li Tian, a passionate foodie behind Singapore-Japan Food Blog “Dairy & Cream”. Has an eye for pastries and desserts.
Oriole Coffee + Bar
Pan Pacific Services Suites
96 Somerset Road
Tel: +65 6238 8348
Nearest MRT: Somerset (NS Line)
Sun to Thu & PH: 10am – 11pm
Fri to Sat & Eve of PH: 10am – 12am
Grab & Go
Daily; 8am - 5pm
1) Alight at Somerset MRT station. Take Exit B. Take escalator to ground left. Turn left and walk to destination. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]