KOAL, Orchard Rd: A sultry palace to satisfy your meat cravings

I’ll be honest. With the abundance of various kinds of restaurants popping up in Singapore, I’m ashamed to have never stepped foot into any restaurant by Les Amis Group. However, as I’m writing this piece, I can proudly say I’ve finally popped my Les Amis Group cherry with my visit to KOAL—a new East meets West concept restaurant located at Shaw Centre

Image of interior

The black walls and red neon lights immediately made me feel like I’d just stepped onto the set of Moulin Rouge. Think warm, intimate, and extremely sensual—a perfect place to spend Valentine’s Day at. 

What I tried 

For starters, I tried the Scallion Salad (S$6), KOAL’s Bread Roll (S$8), Red Skin Potato Salad (S$10), and Crispy Pork Riblets (S$16)

Image of KOAL’s Bread Roll

Although KOAL’s a concept restaurant focusing on their variety of char-grilled meat, the KOAL’s Bread Roll caught my attention upon the first whiff. Baked in-house, the fluffy bread comes infused with crispy bacon bits, and is served with a side of sour cream and chive butter. Simplicity at its finest, too much isn’t done to the bread as it’s served fresh out of the oven. Pairing it with sour cream and chive butter also balances out the saltiness of the bacon.

Image of Scallion Salad

Scallions, like coriander, often bring up a big debate; either you love it or hate it with every fibre of your being—there’s often no in-between. I braced myself and took a spoonful of the fascinating salad, and was immediately greeted with an explosion of sesame oil. Additionally, when paired with red meat, it will give a citrusy aftertaste, akin to a palate cleanser. 

Image of Red Skin Potato Salad

The Red Skin Potato Salad is the one for you if you love Japanese cuisine. The chunky potatoes will come mixed with eggs, shallots and mentaiko mayo, topped with a generous serving of tobikko

Close up of potato

However, as someone who isn’t a lover of anything fish-related, personally, the dish could do with a lesser serving of tobikko as it drowned the starchiness of the potatoes, and left a strong, briny taste in my mouth; which took a while to get rid off.

Image of Crispy Pork Riblets

Have you ever had meat so tender it slides off the back of your spoon? Well, over here, you can expect that. The Crispy Pork Riblets deserve nothing less than songs of praise. Not only did it deliver by being incredibly crispy, but its melt-in-your-mouth meat was also soft and tender, and the subtle tongue-numbing punch from the addition of mala left me grinning like a happy child.

Image of Hanging Tender

Moving on to mains, I decided to throw caution to the wind and start with the Hanging Tender (S$24 for 180gm). As a self-proclaimed beef connoisseur, the Hanging Tender is a lean cut with an intense beef flavour. Internally, I was half-expecting this dish to be a bust, considering how easy it is to screw it up. Alas, trust KOAL to leave me speechless with this one.

Close up of hanging tender

Its meat, soft and tender, like the Crispy Pork Riblets, also comes with perfectly charred skin. There also wasn’t the slightest hint of gaminess exuding from the meat, which made the whole experience a treat.

Pairing the meat with the Sesame Chimichurri elevated the taste profiles of the meat, and produced a burst of smoky and citrusy flavour. A perfect combination, if you ask me. 

Image of Chicken Leg, Bone-in

Another crowd favourite is the Chicken Leg, Bone-in (S$14). Here’s the deal with chicken, there are only three ways to cook it; under, over or perfect. And one thing I can vouch for is that the folks at KOAL are true meat masters. The chicken came extremely juicy and succulent while retaining all of its flavours. 

Image of Salmon with Kimchi Butter Sauce

Lastly, the Salmon with Kimchi Butter Sauce (S$18). I won’t lie and say I was excited for this one, especially since I’ve had really bad experiences with salmon in the past, but this is one dish I will recommend to non-seafood lovers. 

There was something about the creaminess of the butter sauce which elevated the salmon; it was gratifyingly sweet and easy to eat. 

Collage of KOAL's desserts

After stuffing my face with various kinds of savoury dishes, the Makgeolli & Strawberries (S$12) and Freshly Fried Donuts (S$8 for two) were well-deserved. 

The Makgeolli & Strawberries comes with makgeolli jelly and cream, topped with freeze-dried strawberries. The slightly sweet dessert reminded me of frozen yoghurt, and while not being a fan of tangy or bitter flavours, this dessert did wonders with its refreshing taste. Or maybe it could just well be the alcohol working on my palate! 

Close up of doughnut

The Freshly Fried Donuts comes in two flavours: cheesecake mousse & raspberry coulis and Nutella & banana mousse. Both doughnuts are filled to the brim with well-thought-of flavour combinations, however, due to the abundance of food I’d enjoyed prior, this dessert had to be shared. No complaints from me, though. 

Final thoughts

Image of pork

If you consider yourself a lover of fusion cuisine and char-grilled meats, KOAL will not disappoint. From their alluring ambience to perfectly-cooked meats, this is one place you can expect to be swept off your feet (especially with Valentine’s Day being right around the corner). 

Chope Reservations

Granted they still have a bit to work on, they do serve up a slew of brilliant-tasting dishes, and I can see myself heading back to stuff my face with their addictive bread rolls. 

Expected damage: S$25 – S$40 per pax 

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Price: $ $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

KOAL

1 Scotts Rd, Shaw Centre, #03-09/10/11 , Singapore 228208

Price
Our Rating 4/5

KOAL

1 Scotts Rd, Shaw Centre, #03-09/10/11 , Singapore 228208

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 2.30pm & 6pm - 9.30pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 2.30pm & 6pm - 9.30pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon
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