My second visit to COVO and my partner's first. COVO never fails to impress. The Oysters were so fresh you can eat it without lemon or Tabasco sauce! And what's more? It's only $1 per oyster!
For starters, we ordered the Tapas to share and man... its SOO SOO SOO GOOOD!!! - the best of the Tapas would have to be the soft shell crab with chilli crab gravy.
For mains, we had the duck confit and baramundi. both dishes lived up to expectations especially the duck confit! crispy skin on the outside and extremely tender meat on the inside.
Though the bill came up to $138 but I think its really value for money considering we had the oysters, tapas, 2 mains and a bottle of red wine!
What can I say? You got to try COVO for yourself!
Greenwood Ave at Hillcrest Park is located just behind Raffles Girl's Primary School and National Junior College. It is a quaint and serene enclosure filled with restaurants that now occupy the premises which used to be shophouses. A close comparison with Greenwood Ave would be something like Frankel Ave. Along this stretch of former shophouses, there are many restaurants serving different cuisines. There are Punggol Choon Seng Seafood, Raku, Shiro, Sebastien's, Pepperoni, Estivo Gelateria, Chat Masala, Lana Cake shop, Fish Market, a Swiss Butchery and of cos, Covo.
The signs of Covo are not very apparent (it is located between Chat Masala and Choon Seng Seafood). But the alfresco area of Covo's is the thing that sets the bistro apart from the other residents. Nice looking lounges and chairs are set up just outside the restaurant, 2 antique fans spinning from the walkway ceiling, candle lit ornaments decorate the tables.
I actually didn't know how to make out of the food that is being served here. The style is actually fusion based, having seafood as the main theme. They also serve tapas and margeritas. So you can say I am a little confused about what this restaurant is about. But 1 thing I am sure of is that they make hell of a good seafood.
It was a Monday evening. When we arrived near to 7, we were their first customers for dinner. Shortly and surely, 4 more tables were filled. The interior looked a little crampy and the walkways between tables were quite narrow. There was a little area which was sectionised from the rest of the restaurant. Here, you can have a table for 4 where a pond filled with koi swim below you. A smoker's paradise too. The white walls had some crayon drawings, probably drawn by the staff. But at some corners you can find some signatures from artistic patrons (spotted a drawing of an F1 car somewhere).
Being a bistro, I will say that Covo have quite a good menu for food although there is only one choice for soup and salad. There is however a good range for fish. Another point I want to make is that they also serve very good crustaceans. We had a big bowl of green lip mussels and clams that were cooked in white wine ($38). I tell you, the freshness of the shellfish and the chilli padi and rosemary used totally brought out the goodness of the dish. The mussels were big and succulent. The thing about mussels is this. Some people complain about shrivelled and small mussels. These are the male ones. The plump ones with orange colour on the sides, they are the female ones. God is fair on this. Good restaurants will normally stock in much more female than male mussels (talk about equality here). And I can safely say Covo is one of them.
For mains, we got the black cod papillote and the half sakura chicken with foie gras. Papillote is a method of cooking in which the food is put into a folded pouch or parcel and then baked. Having the parcel allows moisture to be retained in order to steam fish. The black cod ($36) came in a good size and was papilloted with light shoyu sauce with mushrooms. First taste of fusion here. This dish is really oo mama mia. The oven baked sakura chicken ($28) came with garden greens and 2 slivers of pan fried foie gras. The sakura chicken has lesser fats than the usual breed chicken and the meat is really tender, even the breast meat. The poultry had a hint of ginger and soya in the taste, tasting a little bit like soya chicken. The 2 slivers of foie gras are average in size and tasted fantastic. Another dose of fusion here. There was a promotion going on from Mon to Thurs. If you order a main, you are able to get fresh tasmanian oysters at $1 each. We had half a dozen of that.
What is good food without a good bottle of wine? We realised that Covo had just changed their wine supplier when the manager brought out bottles of wines for us to choose rather bringing out the wine menu. The Bordeaux beaujolais savignon blanc ($75) had a light finish on the palate that went very well with the white meat and fish. After finishing our dinner we asked to move outside to chill out on their lounge sofas, watch the world go by and catch the stars in the the sky.
Okay, this place is awesome.
1 for 1 set lunch at $20 bucks (not including GST and service charge yet) and it's really worth it. For students like me anyway. Covo has become a hangout for my friends and I who would go to Covo weekly now. And if the portions look small, I assure you they aren't.
Entering Covo is like entering a sanctuary, it's very peaceful, as the neighbourhood itself is quiet, so you won't get squealing babies like you'd see in Swensens or something. You can actually gossip in Covo without being overheard.
So, the set lunch comes with:
bread (foccacia!) + crackers
tapas - usually soup + a side
dessert - AWESOME
Anyway I've been there 3 times, and I've never had the same main course ever. I've had pasta with chicken/pork sausages & pasta with soft shell crab & chicken/cheese/egg piccata. It's really good. The pastas are creamy, so if you hate creamy stuff, or don't want heavy stuff, you shouldn't go for the pasta. The Fish and Chips are great, they don't give you that much fish, but the salad with its dressing more than makes up for it :)
When choosing the soups, I'd recommend the warm soup rather than the cold one. I think the Cold soups are too thin, and the warm soups have just the right texture. But it's up t you, whatever you like more. :)
OKAY YEAH DESSERT. WHATEVER YOU DO, SAVE SPACE FOR IT. YOUR STOMACH WILL THANK YOU FOR IT. Covo's desserts beat the rest hands down. They usually are of contrasting tastes, but who cares? They're GOOOD. I don't really know how to describe them? BUT TRY IT FOR YOURSELF AND SEE.
The service is pretty good, we kept rushing them this one time, and the were quite nice about it! and they'd always ask nicely if you're done before they clear your stuff, and they'd always clear the previous course before serving you the next. small things like this earn brownie points :D
I totally enjoyed my dining experience at Covo.
Prior to seating, one of the waiters gave us an enthusiatic introduction to the various dishes available. (All this whilst we were still standing at the door!). Needless to say, the in-depth introduction continued once we were comfortably seated.
I ordered a set dinner and I must add that this is one of the best set dinner I've ever had.
It's full of creativity. A far cry from the usual boring set meals that most restaurants offer.
My appetiser was a tapas plate (with 3 varieties). I had previously informed the waiter that I do not take seafood and had requested that the chef avoid seafood in my tapas plate. Indeed, he did not disappoint: immaculately prepared pan-seared foie gras, baked to perfection escargot and innovative bamboo wrapped in smoked bacon. This has set the stage for a wonderful dinner to follow.
A delightful and ecclatic blend of lemon grass and cream of asparagus was my soup of the day. Smooth and tangy at the same time. Cleared my palate so that my taste buds can better appreciate the main course that is to follow.
My main was a rack of lamb laced with a accompanied by sauteed onions and potato wedges. The lamb did not fail me. It was done medium well (to my request) and there was not even a hint of the usual 'lamb taste' that we are all so turned off by. I enjoyed every single bit of my rack of lamb. The portion was adequate. And the delightful way in which the lamb was prepared leaves one begging for more.
To cap off the evening, the service rendered was nothing short of personal and warm. My questions about the food were answered ably by our waiters and waitress. It certainly is a joy to dine in a restaurant where people take pride in the quality of the food they prepare and serve.
COVO was visited a few months ago with a date.
The service was pleasant and very friendly (me and date were the only patrons that night). The 2 ladies there (owners i suspect) encouraged us to be "creative" and make any requests on the food we want.
Furthemore they claimed that one of their chef was from greenwood fish market and hence quite good with fish dishes.
We had a tapas and 2 glasses of sangrila. And a steak and fish combo.
Total damage was around 120 if memory serves.
Quite a good place to bring your date.