Kuvo: Orchard's hidden gem

SINGAPORE - (THE NEW PAPER) Recently, I had a conversation that started depressingly.

We were discussing food in Orchard Road. For some reason, I could not think of anything good to recommend. I must have had a food snob block.

My mind refused to accept that one can eat quite well in Orchard Road and that it is not just a tourist trap.

The names of credible eateries emerged and I was finally convinced. Now I can add another name to the list.

Kuvo - located between 313@Somerset and H&M - has a few concepts within its space.

It is split between Ambrosia (for food, and that section itself is split in three), Vine Lounge (wine), Elixir Bar (cocktails) and The Gift Shop (a strange inclusion).

Kuvo was opened by the company behind the cafe chain TCC and the menu is a reflection of the group's diverse range of restaurants.

Each brand contributes a few dishes to the menu, which explains how it ran the gamut of all-day breakfast, Asian and European items. And no, it is not as schizophrenic as it sounds.

Given the size of the restaurant (it seats 60) and the location, variety is a wise decision.

PORK BELLY RULES

My favourite dish at kuvo is the crisp iberico pork belly ($26). It is a sinfully fatty slab of pork that pleases.

I wish the skin of the pork belly is crisp but it does not harm the dish too much.

The second time I ate it - during an invited tasting - it was just as good and the skin just as chewy.

sPiCe at first bite My first bite of the kuvo coffee hot wings ($14) turned me off because I found it too spicy.

But the blue cheese dip cooled it down and the dish grew on me. Still, proceed with caution.

GOOD PRAWN NOODLES

I like the king prawn noodle soup ($20), especially its thick savouriness.

The flavour of prawns hits you immediately.

The yellow noodles were suitably tender, although the two times I ate this, the prawns were overcooked.

It may not be the best prawn noodles in Singapore but it could well be the best in Orchard Road.

GOOD FOR YOUTH

The all-day breakfast menu, the house-made pancakes and Norwegian smoked salmon ($20) should work for the young people who populate that part of Orchard Road.

The pancakes were sweet and fluffy, the eggs were done well but the bratwurst was unexceptional.

This is an inoffensive but ultimately forgettable dish.

SPICE AT FIRST BITE

My first bite of the kuvo coffee hot wings ($14) turned me off because I found it too spicy.

But the blue cheese dip cooled it down and the dish grew on me.

Still, proceed with caution.

SWEET LAKSA

The slipper lobster laksa lemak ($22, with thick vermicelli in spicy assam coconut broth) was too sweet for my liking. The bits of pineapple in the stock contributed to this.

The soup thickens to an almost stew-like consistency, which I found overwhelming.


This article was first published on January 28, 2015.
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