While cafe-hopping has long died an inevitable death as with live television-watching, Oriole (oh-ree-ol, not oreo-leh, nor oreo-lee like a certain sir-deli) has quietly and steadily achieved its ten-year milestone last year. We say quietly because we’ve always seen the cafe/bar when passing through the side exit of one of the busiest malls in town, but have never stopped to step in. So learning that it has been there for a decade was not only a surprise, but a motivation to finally discover the secret behind its longevity.
Oriole is mostly known for its signature M.A.D milk suitable for the lactose intolerant by replacing dairy with a nut concoction of Macadamias, Almonds and Dates. Have it in the in-house cold brew Taisho for a different kick to your usual caffeine fix. Saying it tastes exactly like regular coffee would be akin to vegan burgers trying to convince you to try them i.e. a lie, but that in no way means that it’s bad. It’s great for those who love a distinctly nutty hint in their drinks.
However, as suspected, fancy coffee isn’t the only wind in its sails. The savoury menu carries a sizeable selection, of which several are must-try and try-again, put simply. The biggest jewel in this crown we reckon would be the Ginger Ale Fish & Chips. The snapper is battered to golden-brown perfection, neither too oily nor too dry, while the texture of the fish within inexplicably remains tender and smooth. The complementing tartare does its job and the dish is served with the wise choice of shoestring fries.
The Bacon Truffle Mac & Cheese is supposedly one of the top in the country. This seemed an honest oversell with the truffle close to absent from both the olfactory and the taste buds. The cheese really pertains to your preference; if you enjoy it on the creamy-borderline-carbonara side, and only slightly charred on the surface, then you will agree with the first claim.
One pasta that had the opposite effect was the Capellini Crabmeat. Likewise with the legendary Fish & Chips, the aglio-olio medley was unpretentiously al dente and devoid of unnecessary oil. For its large portion, it didn’t feel heavy on the palate with the thin density of the capellini. To further your seafood jaunt, order the Spicy Calamari on the side.
If you’re just there to sit back and get some work done, we say get the Espresso Hotcakes. Fluffy and generous with the fruits, it comes topped with Cold Stone Creamery’s ice cream, which is basically hitting two birds with a stone. A cold stone. Ahhh. Bad puns aside, there’s plenty to try at Oriole. Some might be a hit and miss, but the longstanding classics, we stan.
Oriole Coffee + Bar is located at 96 Somerset Road #01-01, Singapore 238163.