[ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE] Ondeh-Ondeh Porter, a Unique Singaporean Concoction, and Other Craft Beers by Sunbird Brewery Co.

Hello everyone!

Singapore might just be a tiny red dot on the world map, but our capabilities are not to be belittled. Already, our country boasts a few homegrown brands (such as Razer and Tiger Beer) that have earned international acclaim for their products. Now, with more companies demonstrating their ingenuity, the list is just going to keep growing!

Sunbird Brewery Company is one such example, as they have been making waves in the craft beer industry since entering the scene in July last year with a collection of four craft beers. Led by founder Clive Tan who paid his dues at Archipelago Brewery and Brewerkz, Sunbird (named after Singapore’s national bird) is driven by the passion to produce bolder flavours with an innovative edge for consumers of the future. Curious to know what the hype was all about, my companion and I promptly accepted the company’s invitation to taste all of their craft beers – including their latest offering launched in April – at Orh Gao Taproom last Saturday (after restrictions on public gathering had ease, that is).

Orh Gao Taproom - a new casual bar serving residents in Bukit Timah!

Orh Gao Taproom – a new casual bar serving residents in Bukit Timah!

Orh Gao is a colloquial term for stouts

Orh Gao is a colloquial term for stouts

Menu overhead (also pictured is the founder of Sunbird Brewery Co on the left)

Menu overhead (also pictured is the founder of Sunbird Brewery Co on the left)

Fly in Light

Fly in Light

Fly in Light

Fly in Light

A pale ale, Fly in Light has a 5% alcohol content with a fruity – more specifically, passionfruit and citrus – taste which complements the dry earthy flavour of the malt. It is light on the taste buds and does not make one feel surfeited after a couple of sips, therefore making it easy to drink. This was one of my favourites (as a non-alcohol geek) that evening, along with Fluff Up.

Fluff Up

Fluff Up

Fluff Up

Fluff Up

Fluff Up – a Belgian witbier (think Hoegaarden) – too has an alcohol content of 5% but with a more interesting flavour profile. It packs a little kick due to its spice and orange peel notes, which makes it a perfect accompaniment to seafood especially in countries with hot climate like Singapore.
Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise

One cannot forget to mention Birds of Paradise since hoppy and bitter brews are becoming a huge trend in the craft beer industry. A white IPA with a creamy taste, it has bitter taste profile as with American IPAs (which neither of us is a fan of). That said, its citrus and pine undertones will definitely go well with the holiday season (because we shouldn’t let the pandemic stop us from feeling the holiday spirit, right?), or simply spicy food like buffalo wings (psst.. Orh Gao taproom serves great buffalo wings 馃槈).
Some finger food to go with the beers. Not sure if we were just hungry but they were ALL delicious. We practically cleared the plate!

Some finger food to go with the beers. Not sure if we were just hungry but they were ALL delicious. We practically cleared the plate!

And probably the best thing that was served with the platter - the chilli. Haven't had such satisfying chilli in a while! I swear it this came in bottles, I'd totally get it 馃槅

And probably the best thing that was served with the platter – the chilli. Haven’t had such satisfying chilli in a while! I swear if this was sold in bottles separately, I’d totally get some 馃槅

Eclipse of the Sun

Eclipse of the Sun

Eclipse of the Sun

Eclipse of the Sun

Another beer in Sunbird’s regular range is Eclipse of the Sun and it is wildly popular among expats here. Despite the slightly higher alcohol content of 6%, the Scottish Ale is malty and full-bodied which could be due to the caramel that gives it a raisin taste, as well as its deep copper brown colour.
In commemoration of National Day this year, Sunbird has rolled out a new and exciting seasonal concoction infused with flavours familiar to the local palate – the Ondeh-Ondeh Porter. This one-of-a-kind craft beer pays homage to a timeless traditional dessert – as its namesake implies – with an alcohol content of 6%. The drink has a distinct roasted and dry taste, coupled with a caramel flavour and coconut smell which is further drawn out and complemented by the addition of pandan.
Ondeh-Ondeh Porter

Ondeh-Ondeh Porter

Ondeh-Ondeh Porter

Ondeh-Ondeh Porter

Ondeh-Ondeh Porter, bottled (look how cute the ondeh-ondeh illustration is on the bottle - haha!)

Ondeh-Ondeh Porter, bottled (look how cute the ondeh-ondeh illustration is on the bottle – haha!)

Crafted as a porter due to the nutty flavour profile obtained when the gula melaka brown sugar is toasted, this is certainly nowhere as bitter as a stout but its sharpness might still be a bit too overwhelming for novice drinkers. However, if you’re one who appreciates this category of beer, the bitterness of the porter actually goes hand-in-hand with the roasted caramel taste. As one with a sweet tooth, I only wished this was crafted as a witbier instead. But on second thought, that would probably render the beer too sweet.
Sunbird's brews in bottled form, a.k.a what you would get if you make your order online!

Sunbird’s brews in bottled form, a.k.a what you would get if you make your order online!

Unlike the other beers that are available in singles, the Ondeh-Ondeh Porter is only sold in a pack of 6 at $55 nett (or in a mixed pack of 12 that includes other beers) on the website, maybe because it won’t be on the menu for long (so it’s always good to stock up!). Of course, you could always sample or enjoy one bottle at selected bars and restaurants islandwide – one of which being Orh Gao Taproom – in the month of August with people you have not met in ages! Great excuse to catch up with your buddies, eh?
Leaving you with this memorable quote we saw at Orh Gao Taproom.. Remember this, guys.

Leaving you with this memorable quote we saw at Orh Gao Taproom.. Remember this, guys.

What are your thoughts about this local creation, or the craft beers offered by Sunbird Brewery Co. in general? Beer connoisseurs, do let me know your views in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!
Sunbird Brewery Co 路 5 Mandai Link, #05-05, Singapore 728654 路 order from WEBSITE 路 free islandwide delivery with purchase of $65 and above 路 For more information on where the beers are served, please visit FACEBOOK PAGE, INSTAGRAM or WEBSITE.
Orh Gao Taproom 路 10 Jalan Serene, #01-03 Serene Centre, Singapore 258748 路 Operating hours: 4.00 pm – 11.00 pm (Tue – Thu, Sun), 4.00 PM – 12.00 AM (Fri & Sat), Closed on Mondays聽路 Nearest MRT station: Botanic Gardens (CC19/DT9) 路 For more information, please visit Orh Gao Taproom FACEBOOK PAGE聽or INSTAGRAM.
this was a media invitation. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE MY OWN, with contributions from my beer-enthusiast companion.

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馃榿

KUVO @ Orchard Shopping Centre

MEDIA INVITE

Hey everyone! *waves deliriously*

It has been close to a month聽since my last update聽so I thought I should swing by to break the silence of this blog, as well as to apologise for my sudden hiatus due to my school (mainly my final-year project) and work commitments. Owing to my hectic schedule, I had to turn down quite a number of聽collaboration opportunities聽over the past few months聽but somehow when the invite came from the friendly folks at聽Media Flair to experience the new food menu and bespoke cocktail pairings at KUVO, my heart screamed for me to accept the invitation. After days of not eating well,聽perhaps it was about time to feed my body with some decent food!

Cheers!

Cheers!

Discreetly nestled on the second floor of the outmoded Orchard Shopping Centre located next to聽the H&M building,聽KUVO is almost inconspicuous to the casual observer. Unless you are in the know about the latest food and beverage offerings in town, or are extremely attentive to your surroundings, it is highly unlikely that you would have heard of聽this聽multi-concept restaurant and bar. In my years of walking back and forth between聽Orchard Cineleisure and聽Somerset MRT station, I had never once noticed聽their signage along the walkway of聽Orchard Shopping Centre due to聽their (pardon my frankness) poor visibility and lack of attention-grabbing flair. Nevertheless,聽even if they did catch my eye,聽I honestly聽don’t think I would be inclined to dine at KUVO at all given the uninviting look of the building’s fa莽ade.

Signage along the walkway

Signage along the walkway

Entrance of KUVO

Entrance of KUVO

But boy, the idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover” couldn’t have been more apt here because the restaurant looks聽nothing like the frontage of the building. Marked by a vast floor area of 9,500 square feet, KUVO comprises a bar and a large dining area聽offering afternoon tea at one end and all-day international menu at the other,聽complete with velvet sofa,聽soothing lighting and聽live music towards the end聽of the week.聽Evidently, the whole restaurant was designed with comfort and sophistication in mind, making it the perfect place for office workers to unwind after a long day at work. Furthermore, it’s easily accessible as it’s smacked right at Orchard Road!

The helmsmen at the bar in KUVO, Yutaka Nakashima.

The helmsmen at the bar in KUVO, Yutaka Nakashima.

The bar is helmed by award-winning Japanese聽mixologist and culinarist, Yutaka Nakashima who serves up novel and聽quirky individual bespoke cocktails at S$21++. To further illustrate his unique creativity, he uses聽a coffee mixer to聽create his cocktail concoction!

Concocting alcohol with a coffee mixer!

Concocting alcohol with a coffee mixer!

Live band area

Live band area – it would be a challenge to carry out conversations when the live band performs because they can be pretty loud

Have a sweet tooth? Get your sugar fix here! Chocolates and cakes are sold in this little space between the Ambrosia and the dining area

Have a sweet tooth? Get your sugar fix here! Chocolates and cakes are sold in this little space between the Ambrosia and the dining area

Dining area

Dining area

A wide selection of wine to choose from at the dining area

A wide selection of wine to choose from at the dining area

The Gazebo, catered for private functions

The Gazebo, catered for private functions

Despite its prime location, KUVO聽serves great food at reasonable prices聽and聽are constantly聽looking at ways to enrich the dining experience through the expansion of聽food choices聽and聽recently the introduction of the concept of pairing food and custom-made cocktails.

Grilled Octopus (S$16++)

Grilled Octopus (S$16++)

Up close: Grilled Octopus

Up close: Grilled Octopus. Shout-out to Chubby Botak Koala for loaning me his awesome photography light.

This Spanish-inspired dish聽was among the first few starters delivered to our table. Sous-vide and served with slow-cooked potato and smoked paprika, the slices of octopus leg were chunky and chewy with a slight charred taste. The unsuspecting potato was soft, expertly prepared and strangely more appetising than the octopus. Even though this was recommended on the menu, I didn’t think it was tasty enough聽to leave a lasting impression.

Calamari Ajilo (S$16++)

Calamari Ajillo (S$16++)

In this yet another recommended聽dish with a Spanish influence, the聽calamari is sauteed in garlic and extra virgin olive oil and topped with pork chorizo. While the calamari rings were indeed tender and well-cooked, they were poorly seasoned and hence were disappointingly bland on the palate. It was a shame because I had thought聽this dish would be a pleasant聽change from the classic fried version everywhere else was offering. Rather than being a star on its own,聽I had to ingest it with something else to make up for the lack of flavour.

KUVO Atlantic Cod Meuniere (S$20++)

KUVO Atlantic Cod Meuniere (S$20++)

In spite of the rather unsatisfactory start, things were fortunately picking up from the third dish – a sweet pea-crusted fresh cod medallion garnished with pearl barley fricassee and citrus nutty-brown butter alongside some asparagus and carrot.聽The sides revealed a smooth and melt-in-your-mouth聽texture as delicate as snow and it had such unforgettable freshness and sweetness that kept me wanting more! The creamy and viscous sauce married well with the cod too – absolutely delightful!

Brandy Flamb茅ed Beef Cube (S$22++)

Brandy Flamb茅ed Beef Cube (S$22++)

Before we transitioned into the cocktail pairings segment, we had beef cubes flashed-seared to give it a vividly pink centre,聽flamb茅ed with brandy聽and finally聽glazed with red wine sauce for an added acidic touch. The portion was relatively generous for a starter and it could easily pass off as a main course. Still, it would take a herculean effort to stop at one serving聽because聽those聽beef cubes were a mouthful of聽thick,聽hearty and luscious mellowness packed a punch of flavours. They were thoroughly easy on the teeth and the bite-size makes them all the more convenient to eat. I opted for another serving because I couldn’t get enough of the tenderness and the mouth-watering blend of succulence and piquancy of the beef cubes.聽Needless to say, this dish stole the show that聽evening and I wouldn’t mind going back just for this.

KUVO Coffee Hot Wings (S$14++)

KUVO Coffee Hot Wings (S$14++)

Up close: KUVO Coffee Hot Wings

Up close: KUVO Coffee Hot Wings

Since KUVO opens late into the night every day, you can expect to find聽people who are just there for the alcohol and supper-goers because they serve fantastic choice of finger food, or foods that help to satisfy any hunger pangs. An example would be the coffee-flavoured spicy mid-joint wings with baby carrot crudites and blue cheese dip.

Despite not being a聽coffee drinker at all, I found myself diggin’ this seemingly weird combination. It didn’t have the brutal taste of coffee and the added heat made it even more enjoyable. The blue cheese dip was surprisingly nice,聽had little to no hint of the rotten sour cream taste that is typically associated with聽blue cheese聽and it helped heaps to neutralise the spiciness (which, by the way, was quite a kick on its own). The wing, together with the condiments were by and large聽fantastic. I liked how the聽coffee flavour had a聽good blend of sweet and bitter聽which聽goes perfectly well with beer or聽the recommended Brewski Yen.

Brewski Yen (S$21++)

Brewski Yen (S$21++)

The Brewski Yen has the thirst-quenching properties of Kirin beer as well as an added tang of Suze, lemon and ginger ale.聽I personally found the ginger taste a little too overbearing for me (what’s more, I’m not even a ginger fan to begin with) but I took a leap of courage and聽managed to down everything to the last drop. Woohoo!

Slipper Lobster (S$15++)

Slipper Lobster (S$15++)

Top view: Slipper Lobster

Top view: Slipper Lobster

Those with a more refined taste can opt for sauteed slipper lobster adorned with聽habanero (a kind of chilli pepper), bell peppers and cilantro.聽Ease of eating is assured in this dish as the lobster meat is carefully deshelled and cooked before inserting it back to the shell again.聽聽While it failed to impress me because I didn’t feel that the portion and the taste make up for the聽price, my boyfriend liked the flavours and聽how the聽juices were still exuding with each bite. The heat from the peppers was a delightful addition as well.

Hello Cel'lo (S$21++)

Hello Cel’lo (S$21++)

Complementing the slipper lobster is the Hello Cel’lo cocktail made with Bankes London dry Gin, limoncello liqueur, celery bitters and balsamico. Liquor connoisseurs聽who are familiar with the ingredients聽should聽already a rough idea how it’d taste like. If you don’t, recall the bitterest beverage you have ever drunk in your life聽and聽multiply the acridity tenfold. You seriously haven’t tasted the extreme end聽of the bitterness spectrum聽until you have tried Hello Cel’lo聽because, I swear,聽this takes the cake. So unless you have marvelous聽tolerance for bitter聽foods (or are already used to the pungent taste of alcohol), steer clear of Hello Cel’lo!

Wagyu & Camembert Sliders (S$17++)

Wagyu & Camembert Sliders (S$17++)

Wagyu beef patty

Wagyu beef patty

In an attempt at fusing Western and Eastern delicacies,聽KUVO had put together a pair of sliders featuring thick and succulent housemade wagyu beef patty topped with fresh lettuce and irresistible Camembert cheese and portobello sauce, accompanied by聽cheese rolls and shrimp wantons on a platter. Much as we would like to commend on the聽texture of the patty (not overdone and was incredibly moist), we thought it was totally unnecessary to mince such high-graded beef to make the patty because it had clearly lost聽its distinctive fat marbling and sweetness in the process. As beef lovers (especially of those obtained from Wagyu cattle),聽we had high expectations for the patty but were sorely disappointed by the execution. Having said that, if you’re not as fussy as us, you would most likely enjoy the sliders as much as many of the fellow food bloggers present at the event.

Sliced Wagyu & Camembert Sliders

Sliced Wagyu & Camembert Sliders

Moving on to the other elements on the platter, we had shrimp wantons deep fried to golden brown with wasabi mayonnaise drizzled over them. Delicious! I wished there were more of the wantons! Next to them were聽cheese rolls sitting聽atop a dash of truffle cream.聽Disguised as Chinese spring rolls, they聽crumbled crisply when I stuck my fork into the centre. Perhaps because remnants聽of the patty were still lingering in my mouth, I couldn’t quite make out the taste of cheese. In fact, I聽wasn’t aware that they were made of cheese until I read the description on the menu.

Green Iceland (S$21++)

Green Iceland (S$21++)

Paired with the sliders was the Green Iceland cocktail which combines KUVO’s Italian Antica Fratta sparkling wine, Japanese umeshu, lime, brown sugar and mint leaves for extra freshness. The tongue-tingling sensation it lent聽was refreshing and soothing on palate. The crushed ice melted rather quickly so it kinda diluted the bitterness after a while.

English Scotch Egg (S$14++)

English Scotch Egg (S$14++)

A peek inside the English Scotch Egg

A peek inside the English Scotch Egg. No yolk oozing out because I missed the middle part where the egg was, sorry!

Coated with breaded聽minced wagyu beef (oh dear..) and veal meat (choice of tuna available as well), then crowned with聽a layer of melted edam cheese and served with聽red wine onion au jus聽at the base, KUVO takes this classic British picnic snack to the next level. When cut through in the middle, the warm and sultry聽yolk聽from the inside oozes all over the dish, further amplifying the luscious richness of the sauce while聽providing a nice聽contrast to the crisp crust of the scotch egg.

Don’t underestimate the size of the portion (a little smaller than my palm) – the fillings were so monstrously loaded, I felt slightly glutted in the end.聽Nevertheless,聽this dish聽is definitely deserving of a share of the spotlight. Not only is it affordable (only S$14++!), it fills your tummy as well, so聽I highly recommend you聽try this when you’re at KUVO!

Captain B.R. (S$21++)

Captain B.R. (S$21++)

Adding to the British flair is the cocktail accompaniment to this dish called Captain B.R.聽–聽short for聽Captain聽British Rum – which聽is created with Earl Grey Infused Rum, fresh lemon and soda water. Laced with touches of floral notes and聽hints of citrus, this cocktail is an absolute delight to drink even for a non-alcoholic drinker like myself!

Kurobuta Yakiniku Donburi (S$16++)

Kurobuta Yakiniku Donburi (S$16++)

Finally,聽bearing in mind that there would be聽people who had to have some carbs聽in their diet,聽we rounded聽off聽the evening with聽a Japanese rice bowl dish humbly topped with a small serving of perfectly seasoned and聽grilled kurobuta pork loin as well as聽molten egg that serves聽as the sauce, and finished off with a sprinkle of chopped spring onion.聽The portion is certainly appetizer-sized, so don’t expect to feel satiated with this dish that can be devoured in 3 spoonfuls.

Tales of Shu (S$21++)

Tales of Shu (S$21++)

Brewed in the glass vacuum coffee maker as mentioned earlier, this聽cocktail is freshly prepared with ingredients that are beneficial to the health like聽genmai tea, sak茅, Lillet Blanc, and fresh orange peel.聽The concoction is subsequently poured into an ochoko (sak茅 cup)聽to complement the Kurobuta Yakiniku Donburi. Tales of Shu聽has an immensely sharp taste comparable to that of Hello Cel’lo. Therefore, one sip was all it took to make me cringe :-S But should you be able to handle strong bitterness, do consider giving this healthy cocktail a shot!

Midsummer Breeze (S$12++)

Midsummer Breeze (S$12++)

If alcoholic drinks are out of bounds for you, there is also an array of mocktails for you to choose from聽but you have to approach the waiting staff for assistance because mocktails are not listed on the menu. Midsummer Breeze,聽the only mocktail I was served,聽contains聽melon mangosteen tea, orange juice and passion fruit. Sweet and refreshing with the taste of passion fruit sticking out, it’s the kind of tropical mocktail that takes you to the beach side on a hot and sunny afternoon.

On the whole, KUVO is a hidden gem, that’s for sure! Although there are a few misses on the revamped menu, there are聽definitely more hits and hence worthy of a second visit. Now that KUVO is on my radar, I will certainly be聽returning to try out other dishes on the menu 馃槈

What are your thoughts? Do share them with me!

Thanks for reading!

KUVO
Orchard Shopping Centre
321 Orchard Road聽#02-01
Singapore 238866
Nearest MRT station: Somerset
Operating hours:
Sunday – Thursday & Public Holidays: 12pm to 1am
Friday, Saturday and Eve of Public Holidays: 12pm to 2am
Tel: +65 6733 8272
E-mail: reservation@KUVO.com.sg
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