Hidden beneath the surface of Orchard Central and amidst the quiet pleasantries of the area, lie a secret opened only 6 months ago. Covelli, the Italian bistro and Wine bar is set to tickle the tastebuds of all guests with its take on upper cut Italian dining. That experience is made complete with the adjoining fashion boutique ESYE, especially set for the shopper to partake in some after lunch delights.
Finding the entrance to Covelli was a rather quaint experience as you could simply walk in from either sides of the restaurant. While it might have been stationed beneath the escalator, the decor is spruced up in silent timbre and a simple adornment of bird cages that recreate that distant feeling of loftiness.
Helming the kitchen at Covelli is Chef Dean Ng, formerly from Riders Cafe. And for the month of June onwards, Covelli will be featuring a new lineup in its menu with a wider range of cream based dishes to satisfy the cravings of smooth and creamy. 8 new creations, 1 whole new tantalizing affair!
To begin, I tried the Baby Spinach Salad – a combination of of Sauteed Tiger Prawns in Garlic-Devon cream served on a bed of baby spinach leaves. The prawns wholesome and crunchy, were well dressed with a thorough blend of smoky garlic cream in light consistency. Fresh and clear spinach leaves were a good base, leaving a subtle fragrance in each bite without undermining the emphasis of the cream nor the prawns.
Then the first bottle of wine came – Gancia Lychee Proseco ($75++/bottle). Light and bubbly, with a fizzy lychee fragrance that had a balance between sweetness and slight acidity, the proseco easily complemented the dishes to come. It was also a great starter to counter the midday heat.
The next starter of Antipasto Frutti di Mare was served up to a silent “oooh” from me. Simple, clear plating of tuna, salmon, avocado and crisp spoonfulls of Avruga Caviar. This is one dish that can be enjoyed separate and whole. Separate to partake in the flavours of each ingredient, whole to experience the combination of the sea with that final burst of sea saltiness and a tonal agreement from the fatty avocado slices.
For pastas, there is firstly the Pasta al Pesto Gamberi. Homemade linguine with sauteed prawns tossed in homemade basil pesto, finally topped with shaved Pecorino. The pesto sauce was very mild in flavour, with little hints of basil throughout. I would have enjoyed it slightly stronger in complex flavours with perhaps a toss of fresh pine nuts to the dish. Still, it is a delectable and light creation to sate the tummy.
For something a little more strongly flavoured, there is the Chorizo Salsiccia di Pasta. Slices of chorizo sausages create this pasta dish with caramelized onions soaked within a creamy spicy vodka sauce. Filling and appetizing, this was a decadent dish at its best. Although, I do have to admit when spicy is concerned, this dish really borders the touches of it. Not the spiciest chorizo definitely.
The first main to come was the Smoked Duck Breast. The pieces were encrusted with coarse black pepper grains and served alongside with a slice of butternut pumpkin & semi dried tomato cake. While the textures of the meat was firm yet proving with an easy cut, the contrast of the dish stood with the slightly gelatinous cake, itself sweet to dress down the heaviness of the duck meat.
Alternatively, there is also the Kurobuta Pork Belly. The crust of the belly is “chocolate spiced” to give it that grainy coarse texture. Upon serve, the immediate waft of truffle aromas livens up the atmosphere. I found the cut of pork belly to be slightly tough, and perhaps better sous-vide then roasted. Still, the porcini mushroom tortelli was one of the best yet. Earthy with the hint of truffle oil still basking within the cream, awesome stuff.
Covelli also serves a spread of Pizzas and Risottos. For the lunch, I had the opportunity to also try the Quattro di Carne ($24). A homemade tangy beef sauce, slices of prosciutto modena ham, piccante salami, chorizo iberico make the toppings. Crisp thin crust, the pizza was enjoyable and would go very well over a glass of wine to chat away the afternoon.
The table then called for a second bottle of sparkling – Mont Marcel Cava Extremarium Brut. At $80 a bottle, the brut was very bubbly yet not overly strong in alcohol. The flavours were like simple white grapes, and easy on the palate. Not too strong or loud, it seemed like a springlike drink to me.
For something interesting, there is the Barramundi e Astice to think about. Pan roasted, and served as a beautiful fillet, the barramundi is left to sit in a creation of Gewurztraminer Cream with baby spinach. The entire presentation was topped with a piece of Charcoal Lobster (which is actually squid ink batter, then deep fried). What is most striking though is the cream that settles. I would put it as a savoury cross creation of butter, garlic, sugar and caramelized onions all concentrated into a white cream. A sweet, slightly savoury intensity that leaves you craving for more. Excellent sauce this is.
Although, it you would like to settle for all things King, the last main to appear in this new line up is the Gamberoni al Forno. King Prawn baked in lemon garlic herb rub topped with Feta cheese and served with buttered Orzo. The prawn was definitely huge and almost a foot long. But I really thought the focus was more on the buttered Orzo which stole the limelight from the dish. The prawn served more as a complement than the other way round, although I can’t deny the sea savouriness that stood out with each bite.
The upcoming desserts of Poached Pear in Martini Granita with Lime Jello and Lychee Champagne Panna Cotta were not available for the day, so the alternative was the Homemade Tiramisu topped with Shaved Chocolate ($10). Moist, although the liquor intensity was non prominent.
The open concept kitchen of Covelli
Esye Fashion Boutique
Me with Chef Dean Ng
The new menu lineup at Covelli is definitely set to offer guests a more varied assortment of delicacies to indulge in. Although I didn’t get to try much of the existing menu, the creations produced by Chef Ng are largely wholesome with a quintessential sense of comfort after each bite. The most interesting would be the Charcoal lobster that tricks you to imagine strong acrid bitterness but is instead a marvelous sprite of sea crunchiness. While the one I might be a little unappreciative would be the slightly tough kurobuta pork belly (although the truffle infused porcini mushroom tortelli made me go “wow”). Still, Covelli is an interesting concept that I have to come back and try their other creations.
Thank you Publicist PR for the invitation
181 Orchard Road
Contact : 6328 6400
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