This Little Red Dot that we live in is known for having one of the most diverse F&B landscapes anywhere in the world, but we think you’ll definitely agree with us when we say that one of the most popular dishes and a must-try for all true foodies is none other than the succulent chilli crab, a.k.a. Singapore’s unofficial national dish.
And from now to 30 November 2021, Oriole Coffee + Bar is certainly the place to be for chilli crab fans as the homegrown café pays tribute to the spicy crustacean with six creative chilli crab-themed dishes, as well as a special gula melaka-based dessert.
Oriole Coffee + Bar’s latest special Chilli Crab menu this year follows after last year’s successful introduction of chilli crab-inspired creations at the café and features brand new dishes containing the same chilli crab sauce that truly captures the classic local flavour.
AVENUE ONE had the opportunity to sample the new creations, and we’re going to give you the lowdown – and our thoughts – on each of the dishes on this menu. Keep reading to learn more about this deliciously hearty and fun meal that you can enjoy in the heart of town!
Everything that’s on the special Chilli Crab menu at Oriole Coffee + Bar
As mentioned briefly earlier, there are six new chilli crab-based dishes that you can order off the special menu for a limited time only.
And the Oriole chilli crab sauce we touched on earlier, we’ve been told that it’s blended in-house by the kitchen using a base sauce, further mixed with tomato sauce, chilli sauce, lemongrass, shallot, garlic, and ginger. Sounds absolutely divine, don’t you agree?
Ahead, all the dishes you can order from Oriole Coffee + Bar’s limited-time Chilli Crab menu – we’ll also tell you which ones are definitely worth rolling up your sleeves for.
Waffle Cheese Fries with Chilli Crab Dip
The Waffle Cheese Fries with Chilli Crab Dip ($16.50++) is a returning affair, this time coming back with nacho cheese drizzled all over the oh-so-crispy waffle fries.
The star of this dish that accompanies them is none other than a glass bowl brimming with a chilli crab sauce that’s enhanced with the addition of more crab meat, lemongrass, ginger, and shallots for a delicious, finger-lickin’ good dip.
Lime is served on the side as an optional garnish to soften the spice and bring out a sweeter flavour.
We absolutely loved this sinful appetiser that kickstarted our lunch – the waffle fries were as crispy as promised and the combination of nacho cheese and chilli crab sauce was the perfect marriage of savoury and sweet that exploded in our taste buds.
Marinated Deboned Mid Wing with Chilli Crab Sauce
Here’s another favourite that we couldn’t stop eating: the Marinated Deboned Mid Wing with Chilli Crab Sauce (S$18.50++) that provides a special twist yet maintains everything there is to love about classic fried chicken wings.
The boneless mid-wings are marinated in a housemade wet rub that includes ingredients such as potato starch, fermented bean curd, and sesame oil for a whole day before being deep-fried to perfection.
The smoking hot wings are then drenched in rich chilli crab sauce so that every crunchy bite is sweet, spicy, and deliciously juicy.
The moist, and juicy chicken chunks reminded us of yet another hawker favourite of ours: Har Cheong Kai (a.k.a Fried Shrimp Paste Chicken), but with a tantalising chilli crab sauce that kept us going back for one piece after another.
Butterfly Buns with Chilli Crab Sauce
If you’re a fan of fried mantou buns, don’t go without ordering the Butterfly Buns with Chilli Crab Sauce (S$18.50++) – this dish features butterfly buns that cradle crab meat, some crisp romaine lettuce, and a generous ladle of chilli crab sauce.
The intense flavour of the sauce is further enriched by deep-frying the butterfly buns until the outside is crunchy and the inside, oh-so-fluffy. The sloppy sandwich is then garnished with coriander and chilli for a touch of freshness.
With the fried buns, this dish was unlike anything we’ve tried before and it captured our palate with a textural play that felt like it was very well thought of, in our opinion, with the crunchy and fluffy bread and the sweet chilli crab meat chunks.
Chilli Crab Burger
There’s also a Western burger on the menu, and that’s the Chilli Crab Burger (S$28++). Buttery brioche buns embrace a giant fried crab patty that’s made with premium crab claw meat and slathered with chilli crab sauce on top.
The dish is served with sweet potato fries and a refreshing salad for an awesome pairing of sweet, savoury, and fresh. For this dish, you’re also given the choice to opt for classic potato fries or upgrade to truffle fries.
While every bite we took of the burger oozed seafood umami, we felt that it didn’t come with enough chilli crab sauce to take away the dryness of the generous crab patty.
We also couldn’t help but compare the burger to the Butterfly Buns with Chilli Crab Sauce that we savoured before it, and felt that it paled in comparison due to lack of sauce.
The taste was definitely there, so if you’re going ahead with this dish, try and ask for a small bowl of chilli crab sauce to add to your burger.
Chilli Crab Linguini
If you’re a regular at Oriole Coffee + Bar, you would have come across the Chilli Crab Linguini (S$30++), which can be found in the original Oriole menu.
This dish features a garlic aroma that pronounces the sweet flavour profile within the al dente pasta courtesy of the chilli crab sauce that was perfectly reduced, as well as chilli crab chunks scattered all over the dish.
Pasta is our number one favourite dish, and the Oriole team made our hearts aflutter with this sweet and spicy plate that we wasted no time devouring.
12″ Chilli Crab Pizza
The 12” Chilli Crab Pizza (S$32++), also found in the regular Oriole menu, is made with a thin crust pizza dough.
The crispy mouthfeel complements the spicy chilli crab sauce base, mozzarella cheese, and crab meat chunks.
Finished with coriander and chilli for freshness, it’s also served with a wedge of lime to round out the flavours for those who find the spice a trifle intense.
For us, the pizza wasn’t lacking in flavour but it could definitely have used more of the char that we’d typically get from our trusted humble pizza pies.
And if you’re going over to the café with a big appetite, this is definitely worth ordering to share.
Gula Melaka Lava Cake with Toasted Coconut Crumble and Coconut Ice Cream
With its rich fragrance and irresistible flowing centre of gula melaka “lava”, this special Gula Melaka Lava Cake with Toasted Coconut Crumble and Coconut Ice Cream (S$14++) was a wonderfully sweet ending to the chilli crab flavours.
The cake is topped with a deliciously buttery coconut crumble, then paired with a scoop of refreshing coconut ice cream.
We were pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t a sickeningly sweet dessert that we had initially expected based on the dish name, and the temperature contrast between the hot lava cake and ice-cold ice cream had us cleaning the plate of dessert despite our major food coma.
Bonus: Specific Gravity Craft Beers to quench your thirst while savouring the special Chilli Crab menu
Adding even more zing to your palate, the homegrown café is collaborating with new, up-and-coming Specific Gravity with the release of the local brewery’s signature four craft beers that are made available alongside the Chilli Crab menu for a limited time only.
Specific Gravity is currently making a mark for its range of delicious, easy-drinking beers that were specially designed for the Asian palate. The brewery is introducing four premium beers to Oriole’s Chilli Crab menu:
- Wheat Beer: The cool and fragrant Wheat Beer features a light and refreshing touch that enhances the aromas of clove and banana for a full-flavoured soft body and a smooth finish.
- Classic IPA: The Classic IPA is artfully hopped without being too bitter and features a lighter yet assertive malt profile to create a delicate balance of hops and approachable mouthfeel.
- Golden Ale: Simple and well balanced, the Golden Ale is a light-bodied beer that presents aromas of freshly baked bread, mild hop bitterness, and a subtle honey-like sweetness in the dry yet refreshingly crisp finish.
- Craft Lager: A flavourful celebration that makes a statement with its dry and vibrant body balanced out with a clean, biscuity, full-grain malt profile and a notable cascade with Amarillo hop aromas, it’s a laid back, easy-to-drink lager made to be enjoyed on long sessions.
Unsurprisingly, they pair beautifully with the chilli crab dishes and add more excitement to the dining experience.
At S$9.90++ for a single bottle or S$36++ for a bucket of four bottles, you can enjoy them in the warm and welcoming vibes of Oriole Coffee + Bar or at home via takeaway or delivery.
Oriole Coffee + Bar’s special Chilli Crab menu is available from now until 30 November 2021. You can find Oriole Coffee + Bar next to 313@Somerset at 96 Somerset Road, Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Orchard, #01-01, Singapore 238163. The café opens daily from 10am to 10.30pm, and reservations can be made here. For delivery, click here to place your order.
All photos featured are the writer’s own and courtesy of Oriole Coffee + Bar.