With the additional mouths of smart, liverpool, champagne, taukwa,wahcow maiden, mr. & mrs sumosumo, jems & jemster, cactusprincess, holybro & holybunny
In what was arguably the heaviest weekend degustation – a whopping 20-course – we guinea pigs gathered for a nice Saturday brunch to explore Cafe Oliv’s new food experiments and to find out the answer.
First up, Salads and Appetisers:
Presentation wise, this is a colourful beauty. Avocado by nature has a creamy & buttery texture; Combining thick slices of these together with the quail eggs, they lend weight to alternating textures between the crunchy mesclun greens and the juicy cherry tomatoes & olives, making this a full-bodied salad. 4/5
Fans of escargot can also rejoice. The snails come conveniently de-shelled and are surprisingly quite plump and tender, packing in a bit of crunch. Served on a bed of blanched Chinese spinach, some of us found the choice of greens rather amusing initially. Mismatch? Perhaps. But I thought it provided a good contrast by cushioning the saltiness of the accompanying sauce around the escargots and added a somewhat fusion-istic presentation. Bound to be a crowd favourite, you can’t go wrong with this oven-baked dish with bechemel sauce & melted cheese oozing all over. 4/5
Drawing inspiration from his Chinese kitchen staff, this Northern Chinese staple was re-invented with an additional twist in cooking technique. Instead of just the usual pan-frying, the “Guo Tie” were then braised with stock and the pan jus was left to reduce until it was totally absorbed into the dumplings, sealing in all the flavours. The intended effect was to create a “Guo Tie” in the style of a “tang bao”, a la “xiao long bao” – where there is soup within waiting to burst out. It was indeed juicy enough at first bite, though the base could be seared longer & finished with a crispier skin. 4.25/5
P.S: Before we move on, don’t forget to ask for Oliv’s two homemade sauces – Honey Mustard & Thai Mayonnaise to accompany your meal. They go well with anything at all, and our moderator ‘sumosumo’ dabbed the dumpling with the honey mustard – “Fantastic!”
The Quesadilla stood out with its paper-thin tortilla skin – it is like an ultra crispy thin-crust pizza packed with chokefuls of filling bursting at the seams. You can select from a choice of 5 types of ingredients. Uncle Smart especially enjoyed this dish! 4.25/5
Rosti is considered the national dish of Switzerland and pairing the German Bratwurst & Italian Sausage with Swiss Rosti reflects a delightful culinary mishmash akin to the neighbouring cultures prevalent in Switzerland. In Singapore, I shall christen this “Rosti Prata“.
For Oliv’s “Rosti Prata” – Russet Burbank potatoes were grated & pan-fried, with bacon left to saute first then tossed in to infuse flavour into the potato prata. Succulent sausages on top of Rosti – an impeccable match and a hit with the kakis! 4.5/5
If you are not a fan of beef, try Oliv’s Black Pepper Pesto Chicken with Rosemary Sauce ($11.90) One whole boneless chicken thigh is marinated overnight with paprika, rosemary and french mustard – Kevin adds in a good measure of ground black pepper to spice things up. I could appreciate the crisp & charred bits outside, while leaving the meat inside still moist and tender. 4/5.
If you’re looking for a meaner and crunchier alternative, also excellent is the Parmesan Cheese Chicken Cutlet Coriander Dill Cream @ $11.90. 4.25/5 They may seem like simple culifare (pardon the pun), but they can satisfy the simplest of coq cravings.
Saving the best for the last, this star dish here is so good, it is worth raving about one more time, even if it has been featured before here. This unique recipe combines a special technique with a secret homemade BBQ marinade to provide that melt-in-the-mouth texture:
Instead of basting, the soft-bone ribs are first steamed for 3 hours with the BBQ sauce & left to rest, absorbing & trapping all the moisture in the meat – most of the fat is also removed in the process. Then, more of that special concoction is coated onto the meat just before chargrilling it, to give it added oomph and flavour. The result? A perfectly lean and tender slab. I especially loved the charred and slightly crispy crust and don’t miss out on the sides where you can really suck the flavour out of the soft bones. Heaven! All of the kakis gave their stamp of approval. 4.5/5
Western? East-Meets-West? Fusion? Ultimately, you define it & decide for yourself. Whatever it is, Cafe Oliv’s revamped menu is bound to please any palate with its brand-new offerings while retaining the old favourites.