The truth is, we didn’t exactly plan to eat at The Oven Café Bistro but Owner-Chef James Loh was very earnest, standing outside his shop to introduce the dishes.
The café at Commerze Tai Seng is so named for a simple reason – Chef James uses the oven to cook most of his dishes. He believes that baked foods are tastier because that will retain the flavours of the meats.
Calling himself “an amateur” who left the pharmaceutical industry some 2 years ago, he started his learning journey in a hawker centre as a dish washer, went on to coffee shops, then to a course at At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy.
Originally, he started cooking not as a passion but a form of survival so that he can still protect and provide for his family at old age. As time passed, he gained interest.
His method of perfection is to cook the same dish many times in a day.
Therefore, you may notice that the offering at The Oven Cafe Bistro is straightforward – spaghetti dishes and pizzas.
The recommended dish is the Chicken Spaghetti ($11-$14) with 6 different types of sauce – Pomodoro, Cream Pomodoro, Arrabiata, Cream Arrabiata, Alfredo, and Chef’s Cream Sauce.
During my 2nd visit, we were persuaded to have the Chicken Spaghetti even though we initially chose something else. But we didn’t quite mind having it again.
Comparing the sauces, we preferred the Chef’s Cream Sauce to the Arrabita, which needed more robustness and flavours.
The chicken piece was decent – moist even though it was a big slab, slightly crisp on the skin, though could fare better with some more seasoning. There is a ‘home-cooked’ taste to the overall finish.
All doughs, sauces, marinates, soups are made in-house by Chef James. The thin-crust Pizza ($9), is a value-for-money choice.
The Oven Café Bistro is almost a one-man-show and you can sense the sincerity and passion through the service and execution.
After we left to explore a few shops down the same row, Chef James ran to us and said a thank you and please come back again.
The Oven Café Bistro
1 Irving Place #01-22 The Commerze @ Irving Singapore 369546
Tel: +65 9006 9012
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Mon-Fri), 11am – 10pm (Sat), Closed Sun