Don’t tell me you don’t like coffee.
Actually that’s alright because it really isn’t for everyone, though I’m strictly out of that category. Very very strictly. What wonder, what pleasure caffeine brings. The delectable joy of a sharp espresso just before or after a meal, or poured over vanilla bean ice cream with some coffee jelly cubes to go along. Pleasure is the only word that comes to mind right now. Pleasure and perhaps some sophistication. Je ne sais pas.
I’m sure most of you (Singaporeans) know about Oriole Cafe and Bar at 313 Somerset in Orchard, which is owned and managed by my uncle. However, most don’t know about its slightly shyer cousin, who hangs around Jiak Chuan Road, Chinatown like an old fashioned aproned grandmother chasing chickens or whatnot (random images like to appear in my mind and fail to run away unless I put it down in some abstract form).
A grandmother who whips up the best cappuccinos, piccolos and half boiled eggs in town. Sophistication and traditional kopitiam rolled into one. It’s pretty magnificent stuff, though it’s not the sort of breakfast place where you can freely put your legs up like a trishaw driver (and spit out some chicken bones on the table, if you like).
Legs crossed. Manners, please.
It’s airy and modern, whilst retaining old charm with wooden decor and old fashioned Chinese blinds. There’s even an entire coffee gadget area upstairs, if you dare venture up the creaky staircase. Oriole is a type of bird, and birds fly high. Caffeine makes me high. I finally get the connection. Revelations.
Now I have yet to go to some place like Melbourne for their wondrous cappuccinos, espressos and lattes, but as for now, I declare Oriole coffee highly refined and simply ah-mazing. The baristas wave their wands over each cup and churn out spectacular coffee with darling latte art each and every time. Some coffees just never actually taste of ground beans, and are dampened with too much milk or sweetener. As if the beans are stamped on, squashed and suffocated, prohibited from parading their exotic flavour (for the daring ones, I recommend downing an Ethiopian espresso at Oriole. It’s caffeine heaven; almost noxious but not too addictive).
I admit that I have had better slabs of beautifully buttered kaya toast elsewhere, such as Killiney Kopitiam and Toast Box. I admired the transparent, adorned platters for a few minutes before tasting. The toast was a tad too crumbly and the flavour of the kaya not as sweet or rich as i would have liked. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, just not mind blowingly excellent (yes, ‘blowingly’ is a word in my dictionary).
Or soft boiled eggs, however you would like to call it. LOOK at that tender mound of orange goodness, just waiting to pour out rich and luscious yolk at the slight prick of a fork. The most impressive thing is that they crack it for you, and the yolks come out in perfect, trembling balls. Give me an egg and the yolk will scatter everywhere.
Better yet, on both you and me.
These were perfect, perfect, perfect. The best ones I’ve tried so far, and that tops any other coffee shop I’ve been to. The yolk was rich and provided orange oomph, not merely liquidy and mediocre. The whites caressed the edges, healthy strings and pools of almost translucent jelly, which happily slithered down my throat.
Quaint shophouse exterior. Smell the brew and walk straight in. Enjoy those sacred early morning breakfast hours alone or with the family. Indulge and eye the colourful, old-fashioned chinese cakes and kuehs sitting on platters under glass bell jars.
Sip that Joe.
Oriole Coffee Roasters
10 Jiak Chuan Road