Oriole Cafe & Bar – My New Favourite Hangout

15 10 2010

Oriole Cafe & Bar is no new find. Heck it’s not even hidden anymore, at least not with the recently built extension which links 313 Somerset with Pan Pacific Suites.

Opened by Keith Low, winner of the Singapore National Barista Championships 2010 and managed by John Ting, winner of the Singapore National Barista Championships 2008 & 2009, coffee is supposedly the highlight at Oriole with unique competition coffees such as Chili Chocolate Mocha and Citrus Sin.

Rustic furnishings, brick walls and chill settings, dining here is both comforting and casual.

I had a go at their Chili Chocolate Mocha($6). Interestingly, instead of a tea spoon, it came with a cinnamon stick as a stirrer for that extra fragrance. I’m no coffee connoisseur, I actually only started coffee drinking this year to get through 3 hour university seminars. So when I say that I wasn’t taken by Oriole’s Chili Chocolate Mocha, take it with a pinch of salt. I just didn’t like how there was this burning sensation as it trickled down my throat.

The Beef Cheek Tagliatelle($16) is one awesome main. It’s really tasty and generous with the tender beef cheeks. One of the better pastas I have had this year.

Unexpectedly, what blew me away was the humble Cod Fish Pie($28). It might be slightly on the pricey side compared to the other mains available but it’s so very worth it. When fresh Cod Fish prices are hovering around $40/kg (i think), I truly didn’t expect such a huge serving of cod hibernating within the buttery crisp crust. The creamy mushroom & cod ragout, asparagus and puff pastry is a serious recipe for success.

I like my ribs braised till tender and fall-off-the-bone rather than the grill or BBQ versions which leave the ribs dry and parched. Hence, the St Louis Pork Ribs($24) here (which was grilled) didn’t sit very well with me compared to the previous mains. The marinate used was quite unusual though, kicap manis-chili marinade(Indonesian Soy-chili marinade) and sambal matah(shallot & lemongrass sambal). It isn’t as spicy as it sounds and amazingly the marinade tastes just like a chinese herbal chicken soup(yes that’s quite unbelievable unless you try it yourself).

Close friends of mine will know that I can’t say no to a Sticky Pudding($9) aka Sticky Date Pudding as it is more commonly known in other eateries. I have tried Sticky Date Puddings with Chocolate Dip, Butterscotch Sauce and Caramel Sauce, but this is the first time I’m trying it with rum and raisins. I guess the rum and raisins does the job just as well and the Vanilla Ice Cream here passed the taste as well as visual test (where the black specks of Vanilla beans are visible to the naked eye). A pretty decent rendition.

For something more heavy, I would suggest the Chocolate Fudge Cake($6.50). The superficial layers of chocolate ganache is rich and thick but not yet an overkill, an attribute I which find plagues most chocolate fudge cakes.

Having this opportunity to dine at Oriole leaves me with ambivalent feelings. On one hand I’m happy that I have found a new favourite hangout, but sad that I didn’t find out sooner.

Bon Appetit!

 

 

ORIOLE CAFE & BAR

96 SOMERSET ROAD, #01-01

TEL: +65 6238 8348

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TCC – Buy 1 Get 2 Free Promotion Till 25 July

22 07 2010

Its been some time since my last post as things have been rather hectic of late. Between the back to back 3 freshmen camps that I signed up for, where I managed to secure roughly 30+ to 40 hours of slp in ten days, there has been little time for noshing apart from the pre-packed economic rice/beehoon. And now, I’m ill. Apparently, even 2 boxes of Panadol/Nim Jom Cough Syrup/Woods Cough Syrup/Strepsils couldn’t stop the inevitable. Anyway, this is a very old backlog I have which I am hoping people will get to read before 25 July. 

TCC is offering a Buy 1 Main Course/Pasta, Get a 2nd Main Course of Pasta and Premium Coffee or Tea Free! I like the flexibility of this promotion as TCC allows you to change your premium Coffee or Tea to a different drink by paying the difference in their prices. IE, If a Cold Chocolate cost $6.80, you will just be needing to top up the $6.80 – Cost of Premium Cofee/Tea($4.80) =$2 extra. I visited the TCC at Bugis Junction and the TCC at Lido on the consecutive days, though not on purpose, and managed to enjoy the promotion twice.

The mains mentioned will be listed in descending order in terms of being my favourite.

My favourite main. You would like this too if you like a pasta which is slightly creamy, slightly savoury and slightly spicy. I was pleased that despite the promotion, the portion that arrived matched the one depicted in the menu. The Salmon Tataki is seared lightly, resulting in a soft flesh that is a joy to nibble at. And don’t we just love a simple sunny side up to brighten our day?

Mentaiko Spaghetti with Salmon Tataki($19++)

The Homely-Style Beef Stew($20.80++) comes in at a close second. The chunks of beef were succulent and amazingly tender, considering this is TCC and no steakhouse. Even the sides of Asparagus looked and tasted young vibrant and lively.

Homely-Style Beef Stew($20.80++)

The Chicken & Turkey Baked Lasagna was pretty decent. You can seriously do no wrong by spamming any dish with tonnes of Mozzarella.

Chicken & Turkey Baked Lasagna

The Seafood Aglio Olio($18.80++) was fair. The Scallops were overseared and dry but the Prawns were fresh and crunchy though this wouldn’t be something I would order due to it’s immense spiciness.

The Seafood Aglio Olio($18.80++)

I saw it’s picture plastered on one of the pillars at Funan so I thought that the Sea Perch with Wasabi Vinegrette($20.80++) is TCC’s speciality and boy was I wrong. The Fish came overcooked, dry and hard and the Wasabi Vinegrette overpowered the Perch instead of complementing it.

Sea Perch with Wasabi Vinegrette($20.80++)

If TCC’s aim for this promotion is to promote their mains as decent cafe food, they have failed miserably. Decent is such an understatement, especially when they are not only good but priced reasonably too!

Bon Appetit!

 

 

TCC (BUGIS JUNCTION MAIN BOUTIQUE)
80 MIDDLE ROAD, #01-92-96 BUGIS JUNCTION 
TEL : +65 6837 2027





Espressoul

16 04 2010

Singapore needs more places like Espressoul. Unlike the many other capitalist coffee chains, Espressoul’s sole branch serves up a very decent cuppa/coffee with a very much personalized service in a homely setting. It hosts the ideal environment to just sit back, chill, surf the web(there’s even a laptop with Internet access at a corner of the cafe with free usage), have project discussions yada yada.  

Lunch Sets(from $6.90++) are afforadable and includes a Gourmet Sandwich, Salad and Drink(ranging from teas, coffees to fruit nectars and flavoured sodas). After 2pm, Pastrys go for 30% off while Cakes go for 50% off! 

The Salad was topped with a tangy Balsamic Vinegrette Dressing. Choice of Bread for the Sandwiches are Focaccia, Ciabatta or Multi-grain.

I had the Tandoori Chicken Focaccia Sandwich($5.90). I was impressed that a cafe with only 2 staff could whip up such a decent Tandoori Chicken. Just mildly spiced, it suited me well. My advice is to eat it as quick as possible since the Tandoori Chicken doesn’t taste as good after it gets cold. 

 

HY ordered the Smoked Salmon Focaccia($6.90) which surprisingly was not part of the day to day menu.  “Better than Soup Spoon’s” was how he thought of it and I agreed.

AD had the Hawaiian Chicken Multi-Grain Sandwich. With a filling of Mayo, BBQ sauce, Pineapple Chicken and Cucumbers & Lettuce, it was my favourite of the 3 sandwiches. Then again, what doesn’t taste good with Mayo and BBQ sauce? 

The Mocha was competent with a strong addictive nutty flavour.

2pm arrived! So we had 50% off desserts :p

I didn’t like the Mango Deluxe($5.90 b4 50% off). It was weakly flavoured and dry.

The Praline($5.90 b4 50% off) on the other hand was a different story. It tasted so much like a pyramid-shaped Ferrero Rocher-Kinder Bueno crossbreed. Alternating layers of ladyfinger biscuit, crunchy chocolate balls, hazelnut cream and chocolate over a crisp praline base. Yummm! 

I really like the concept behind Espressoul. Between the amiable owner, more than reasonable prices and lovely ambience, there really isn’t much more that one can ask for.

Bon Appetit!

 

 

ESPRESSOUL

67 HIGH STREET, #01-01 EFG BUILDING(NEXT TO THE TREASURY)

TEL: +65 6337 7803








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