Last Updated: November 30, 2015
Located just outside of the Pan Pacific Serviced Suites and [email protected], is a well known gem – Oriole Coffee + Bar. Having walked past, but never stopped in Oriole, I was perfectly prepared for another run of the mill Singapore cafe experience. Boy, was I wrong.
Oriole is well known for their coffee endeavors, but today we were here to try out their refreshed menu items, spearheaded by the newly hired Texas native, chef Randy Torres. Here we go…
At Oriole Coffee + Bar you will find a modest amount of tables both indoors and al fresco and an overall casual, relaxed vide. The outdoor tables are fully covered so you don’t have to worry about too much sun or the onslaught of monsoon season.
The interior of the space is dominated by large wrap around bar dedicated to their coffee craft. The focus on coffee is also evident by their small tasting bar for the novice or expert coffee connoisseur, but more on that in a moment.
Our first taste of the day came in the form of their Taisho White ($7.00). Getting its name from the era in Japan in which iced coffee became popularized, the taisho drink is essentially an iced coffee that does not utilize ice. Ok, a cold coffee, but it’s not that simple.
The coffee, which takes far more skill to create than a standard hot coffee drink, uses lower temperature water to achieve their desired taste and temp. Overall, this drink has a very mild flavor and was appropriately refreshing.
The Haute Chocolate ($8.00) drink (non-coffee) is a new additaion to the beverage menu. The drink, which can be served either hot or cold, is made with single-origin Valrhona Chocolate (66% Cocoa). The flavor and texture were nice, but the taste was far more mild than I anticipated. I was left wanting more – and not in the seconds kind of way.
For a scary name like Death Cream ($9.00), how cute is this packaging? The plus side of enjoying Death Cream is that you’ll end up in heaven. The drink revives an old secret coffee recipe from the 1980’s and is comprised of bright tasting vanilla beans, espresso and heaps of cream (obvi).
I really enjoyed this creamy creation for starters and would’ve equally enjoyed its rich sweetness as an after meal dessert as well.
You can really see (and taste) the chefs Southern-American upbringing in his new dishes, starting with the Humble Baked Egg Skillet ($16.00). This hearty, stick to your bones dish is served from 8am – 6pm and is made with a mixture of sous vide eggs, roasted lamb bits, chucks of sweet potatoes, Emmental cheese and simmering hot inside of a cast-iron skillet. This dish will certainly give you the all day fuel you need to tackle nearby Orchard Road.
As someone who rarely passes up the opportunity for burritos for breakfast, the Jumbo Breakfast Burrito ($16.00) was right up my alley. The standout flavor here is the Spanish chorizo. It provides a little spice to the accompanying scrambled eggs, chipotle puree and cheddar cheese. The finishing grilled tortilla was the perfect balance of soft and crispy, making this one of my favorite dishes of the day.
Country Fried Steak ($22.00) is hard to come by here in Singapore. Oriole serves a breaded 100-day dry-aged Sirloin steak atop a heap of garlic roasted mashed potatoes. As if that wasn’t enough, slices of bacon, a sunny side-up egg and the noticeable scent of a truffle bechamel sauce top things off.
This dish packs a lot of good tasting, but not good for you ingredients, making for a sinful Southern delight.
The Fish Tacos ($20.00) with huge pieces of breaded snapper and Cajun fries is basically fish and chips with a tortilla – but good all the same. The tacos are filled with a crunchy red cabbage slaw and a chipotle aioli dressing. It’s served with an avocado mango salsa on the side for an added kick. This was a very tasty, filling, good value for your money dish.
The Espresso-Rubbed Rack of Lamb ($32.00) comes with three cutlets of grilled Australian grass-fed lamb with a palpable Oriole coffee rub. The lamb comes atop a carrot puree, roasted potatoes, a cumin puff and drizzled with a mocha jus.
The lamb was slightly overcooked for my taste, but I really enjoyed the coffee flavor of the rub and complimentary sweetness of the carrots. The plate was good, but personally I would stick with the more causal, no fuss dishes.
Moving inside, we ponied up at the Tasting Bar for a Tasting Flight ($12.00) and an education from their coffee master. That day we were able to choose from two different single origin coffees prepared three different ways: single shot espresso, cappuccino and a speciality ‘coffee shot.’
Oriole takes extreme pride in their coffee – using hand picked, small batch beans from around the world and roasting them themselves.
We sampled the Kamiro Lot #103 from the Kamiro region of Rwanda, Africa. The strongest flavor notes were apricot and butter. It’s amazing how much there is to learn about creating the perfect cup of coffee. If you are keen to learn more, I suggest spending some time at Oriole’s tasting bar – it was a delightful experience.
In addition to their regular offerings, Oriole plans to offer a festive blend from Ethiopia with seasonal flavors of compote, plum pudding, stone fruit parfait and lime tea cookie. Pick up a bag of beans for a holiday gift idea.
Finishing up we sampled the Waffle Mi’so ($12.00) for dessert. This dish combines soft, modest slices of waffles, vanilla ice cream and its namesake miso caramel sauce. The dessert is topped off with crunchy bits of white chocolate and pecans for added texture. The miso flavor was not overpowering and made for a slightly unique, sweet enjoyable treat. I highly recommend indulging in this dessert.
Overall, I was really pleased with the care and quality of Oriole Coffee + Bar’s drink and food offerings. The menu items are varied and well-executed and the staff really know and care about their coffee. This is a cafe I would most definitely return to next time I’m shopping in the area or looking for a good comfort meal and a quality cup of joe.
Stop in for Oriole’s lunch promotion – 50% off a second main (Breakfast items, Sandwiches or Classics) – weekdays 12-3pm through December.
Expected Damage: $22.00 – $30.00 / per pax