We discovered Alfero Artisan Gelato quite sometime ago – it’s a gem of a place, quiet and conducive for having a cuppa or enjoying gelato. Housed at one corner of Marina Square, the gelato is quite simply, the best gelato I’ve eaten in Singapore – creamy, delish and consistent. I know some people like Gelateria Italia (now at Plaza Singapura and Bugis +) but the texture of the gelato is so chewy that it doesn’t even taste like gelato.
“Chef Pang WE LOVE YOU!!!!” (or so go the giggly girls who crowd around him go). At Chef Pang Kok Keong’s new pastry cafe, Antoinette, you’ll have an opportunity to say that to him if you’re lucky. We did (have the opportunity that is, not tell him we love him!) – the affable Chef Pang was stationed at the cake counter painstakingly and lovingly explaining each and every cake to us.
So it’s been a while since we’d seen Chef Pang (he left Canele Patisserie last October), and it was with great anticipation that we headed down to Antoinette for breakfast last Saturday (we didn’t manage to get a reservation but reached the cafe at 1015am and crossed our fingers, hoped and got lucky). To start, we had the Antoinette’s Breakfast (eggs / bacon / sausage / grilled tomatoes / pain de mie, and a choice of juice / coffee / hot chocolate and some mini viennoiseries). While I know of people who would scorn at paying close to S$20 for a breakfast, I thought this was really nice and good value. Sausage was succulent, bacon well fried, and the only thing we had to complain about the fry-up was that the egg yolks were broken (probably in the transfer to the plate?). The mini vinnoiseries came with a most delicious tasting clotted cream (or whipped butter – not sure), and together with the croissant (yes i know – heart attack heaven) was just to die for.We also had the Savoury Blinis with Bacon and Mushroom Ragout. Again, the bacon was great (by great, I mean lean-ish, but crisped up and not quite so salty), and the mushroom ragout was flavourful and had a slight sweetness (sherry or martini perhaps?). I didnt quite like the blini texture – slightly on the dry side, and I’d envisaged smaller blinis (though to be fair they never said “minis”). Overall still a nice dish with well-executed accompaniments.
The piece de la resistance (or pieces de la resistance) at Antoinette, however, must be the cakes and macarons. After all, Chef Pang IS the sugar (and macaron) daddy of the Singapore pastry industry. The macarons reminded us of (gasp!) Pierre Hermes in Paris – we had the Antoinette and the Grand Cru. The Antoinette revealed a berry centre, and married the tanginess of the berry well with the sweetness of the macaron shell.We also tried the Antoinette, which was an earl grey infused mousse with a (very interesting) raspberry coulis wrapped in a gelatin pouch on the top. This was a very nice balanced cake, with earl grey permeating each mouthful. It was not heavy on the palette and each bite reminded us of why we’d missed Chef Pang so much in the past few months!In the name of blogging (hurhur), we made a special trip down again this evening after work just to try more of Chef Pang’s new creations. We ordered the Chocolicieux and the Cafe Caramel Tarte. Unfortunately, we didn’t get pictures of either, but the Chocolicieux is a chocolate lover’s delight. A dense chocolate cake enveloping chunky hazelnuts and covered with a chocolate and nut coating, this looks exactly like a magnum icecream bar, and the taste of it will linger in your senses for some time (yes, it’s THAT dense). The tarte was equally delicious, with the caramel having a delicious burnt flavour with a hint of coffee that drags the caramel-ly flavours just oh-so-much-longer.
So that’s our review of Antoinette. A small little place with plenty of heart, and a great affable owner to boot. What more can you ask for? Suffice to say we’re COMING BACK! Chef Pang, WE LOVE YOU(R CAKES)!
30 Penhas Road (off Lavender Street)
Mon–Fri: 11am – 10pm
Sat: 10am – 11pm
Sun: 10am – 10pm
Cedele is better known for its sandwiches, soups and salads. For a period of time however I decided not to patronize the stalls after the bad service at a number of its branches, made worse by the fact that after writing into management to give feedback I did not hear from them at all. This sentiment of poor, brusque service is lamentable given that the quality of its breads and expanding selection of sandwich fillings is a step in the right direction. They have also had Cloud 9 ice cream but it wasn’t until today that I managed to sample. Each cup is $3(4 cups for $12)and $2.80 if you add it to a meal. There’s quite a selection of ice cream n sorbets – mango tango, blueberry cheesecake, cappuccino almond, vanilla bean, mango sorbet, sea salt caramel, lychee.
I had the vanilla bean- the texture of the ice cream is smooth and creamy with the scent of vanilla coming through. It was however in my opinion a tad sweet and strangely chalky. Apparently the ice cream is eggless without trans fats as with the advertising for the sandwiches. Half decent if you want something cold to round up your meal, aside from the cakes.
The first rule I learnt in economics is that businesses are profit-driven.
I thought of that while stepping into Food for Thought’s new pad at the Singapore Art Museum on Queen Street. The place prides itself on supporting charitable causes which by itself, is a novel concept for a cafe. Judging from the crowds, it is also a concept that works. The menu covers fairly standard fare for a cafe, but has some interesting finds. For instance, sandwiches come with pickles on the side, that taste more like achar and is quite a treat.
The fries are also to die for- I’ve been secretly nursing an urge to return just to feast on the fries. Huge potato cuts, not miserable shrivelled potato ones. I also loved the butterscotch berry apple crumble topped with vanilla ice-cream. The crumble’s texture in a baked dish oozes out nicely, with a delish serving of apples and mixed berries. We also had the Ferrero Rocher cake, but felt that the cake portion could be more moist as it was a tad dry.
At the end of the meal, besides walking away satisfied (the price point is decent), it also doesn’t hurt that you feel you did your wallet(and charity) a service. Now, what was that about the profit motive again?
As a reflection of how Singaporeans’ tastebuds are getting more international and adventurous, new lifestyle shops have dotted our island – some have closed(Anthropology at Raffles City) while others are shouldering on, and yet new ones continue to open. I’m not complaining as I love lifestyle shops- they sell kooky, odd items from abroad, and are often arranged such that you feel you are stepping into someone’s living room, or museum. An intimate space where there is an imaginary dialogue of sorts between you, the consumer, and him, the ‘curator’. A Curious Teepee at Cineleisure’s Escape is one such curious creature. There are lovely things to buy- necklaces by By Invite only, swimming costumes that are quite beautiful and limited edition, a Longchamp collective bag that can be collapsed into a donut.
But this is a food blog after all – A Curious Teepee also plays host to a cafe, managed under the auspices of the Lo & Behold Group (Overeasy, White Rabbit…) The menu has not been finalised and will only be out later this year. Serving a mix of cocktails, coffee,tea, sandwiches, waffles and desserts, the current menu is a little underwhelming. That said, there should be plenty of reasons to rejoice once the menu is finalised. Papa Palheta coffee is strong and potent, a really good cuppa if you are a coffee addict like myself. While we were there, we had just come from dinner so we couldn’t order the Apple Drummer with vanilla ice-cream but that looked potentially interesting. They also had tiramisu and usual suspects like Valrhona chocolate cake. Give it some time and this will be a nice spot to meet friends. I just wish they had more food on their menu. Apparently, they do a savoury waffle but you need to ask for it.
After all, who doesn’t like a place that serves cocktails & home made desserts?
While there are many cake shops in Singapore, many of these tend to be chain shops, neighbourhood bakeries or hotel bakeries. It’s not often we come across the odd independent cake shop with a niche interest. We’ve featured K Ki twice, today we thought we’ll write about FLOR, which specialises in Japanese cakes as well. While K Ki is entirely run by Singaporeans, FLOR features Chef Yamashita, who was formerly with GLACE Singapore. The shop is owned by a Singaporean, as I understand it, and is situated in Duxton Hill, in a lovely tiny outfit.
The focus of the shop are Japanese cakes- and for this, they do not disappoint. Most of the cakes have lovely fresh cream, cheese, fresh fruits, and delish amounts of cream at that. It’s a nice alternative to K Ki but I have to say both are very different- K Ki’s cakes are Japanese-influenced as well, but with a slight Western twist. Flor’s cakes are similar to what you might find at a local Japanese bakery in Tokyo – lovely fresh fruits, great selections, and well made cakes.
On leaving the shop, I noticed K Ki sent Congratulations over to the owner of Flor – how nice that the owners of both cake shops(being located quite close) are friends. Support the independent cake shops!
There have been so many blog posts on K Ki that it proves that good food is most commonly spread by word of mouth. I first discovered this nook earlier this year but it was only recently that I had been back to sample two other cakes. Fuelled by a need for cakes, we had 2 mont blancs and a chocolate banana cake called Mona. the mont blanc, so popular among the japanese, has the pleasant smell and taste of chestnut with luscious white cream beneath the spiral brown curls. The sponge layer at the base was suitably moist though I fancied it a tad hard.
Mona was a lovely mix of chocolate and a light taste of banana with a lovely crisp base.
Independently run cake shops are hard to come by and with this new gem, it’s hard not to crave more cakes. next up- flourlesd Choc cake , an old favourite!
After watching The Prince of Persia yesterday(quick review: lots of blood and gore and violence, but Jake looks far too contemporary to be in this drama. Still, decent CGI effects, with a few laugh-out-loud moments), we ventured to the first floor at VivoCity in search of ice-cream and desserts in general. VivoCity appears to have changed quite a bit, there’s now Fruit Paradise on the Queen and Mangosteen section, and where Godiva used to stand, another chocolate miracle in the form of Max Brenner Chocolate Bar. Excited by the sight of another Max Brenner(the other branch being at Esplanade), we settled down comfortably and ordered chocolate sauce coated waffles, with chocolate sauce, two scoops of ice-cream; vanilla and chocolate. The actual name of the waffles now escapes me, but there’s a more healthy version called Tutti Frutti waffles, which come with blueberries and bananas(and might make you feel slightly more healthy with the amount of fruits ). I also ordered a Mocha Frappe, that comes served in their signature Alice cup – a ceramic cup with a long slender metal straw.
The Mocha Frappe was delish – not too sweet, with the right proportions of espresso and chocolate. The waffles however, though it looked delish, wasn’t quite as tasty. For one, the waffles seemed a little too dry for our liking- and lacked that buttery flavour that tasty waffles usually have. I found myself coating the waffle with more chocolate sauce in an attempt to make it more tasty. The other thing I wasn’t wild about was the caramelised hazelnuts- they tasted like popcorn on top of the waffles. Imagine popcorn coated in chocolate sauce on top of waffles!
Still, a good place to sit around and chat- it’s quiet and laid back and perfect for a weekend night out on the town (unless you’re like me, and prefer the Orchard stretch as truly Town.)
Again, my (our) apologies for the radio silence. It seems like a long time since either of us last blogged, and I dare not check when the last post was uploaded. We keep telling each other to post reviews (we haven’t stopped trying new food places) but just have not been able to keep up to our side of the bargain. We’ll probably be quite silent till July, but we’ll try to slot in one review at a time.
Today, just a short note on a little cake shop that we chanced upon at Ann Siang Hill, with a quaint little name “K Ki”. The name “K Ki” is essentially how the Japanese term “western” cakes. It’s a direct phonetic translation, so it’s simple enough. The cakes, however, are not all quite that simple. The husband of the husband-and-wife team that run the shop, Kenneth, is not a classically trained pastry chef but manages to bake up pretty cakes reminiscent of Japanese western styled cakes (hence living up to the Japanese inspired name).
On our visit there, we had the Little Red Riding Hood and the Antoinette (sorry can’t seem to find the pictures). The Little Red Riding Hood was essentially a chocolate mousse encasing a slab of raspberry jelly, and covered with a shiny chocolate ganache. This was perfectly executed, with the bitter dark chocolate perfectly paired with the tart raspberry – this was so good that I went back to order it for a birthday celebration.The Antoinette was a mango based cake, this time encapsulated by a fluffy white egg mixture. For us, we just wished there was slightly more mango in it (although perhaps the shape of the small cake did restrict this somewhat). What we did like about it was that it was not too sweet, and of course, that it was perfectly pretty.
True to the Japanese name, K Ki makes the effort with small touches that set it just that much apart from other run of the mill cake shops. When I collected the cake, they took care to package it such that it was surrounded by dry ice to withstand the Singapore heat. The candle again, was not the regular striped wax candle that you get at other shops, but was actually patterned beautifully. The large cake itself was a tad disappointing in the design and shape, but perhaps I was expecting too much based on the individual smaller cakes.
So if you’d like to support a little independent bakery, please do head down to K Ki to sample some pretty yummy cakes (the service is also pretty good, although things get a little hectic on the weekend). The prices are not low (some cakes are more expensive than say, Canele), but I suppose that might be because they just don’t have the bulk orders to get them the lower prices. Another thing to keep in mind is that they do run out of the cakes pretty early, so go down early or call to reserve. Either way, a lovely little shop that deserves support, do head down if you have the chance!
7 Ann Siang hill
Tel: +65 6225 6650
Daily 12pm to 7pm
Sat 12pm to 4pm
Can I make a confession?
I don’t like macarons. I am aware of the work that goes into making one, and the complexity of making a very good one. But for some reason, I bite into the shell gingerly, careful not to take more than a tiny nimble each time, but after tasting it, still can’t quite fathom what the fuss is about.
Luckily, for me, Canele serves us wondrous dessert creations, with new creations from time to time, such that even if I do not partake in the macaron goodness, I still get my fair share of sweet sweet love.
We’ve tried nearly every cake on the Canele menu, from the ubiquitious Le Royale, to the hat-top Jupiter, to the light pear tart, to the multi tiered Strawberry cheesecake. The possibilities are endless. We’ve chosen to feature two recent desserts we had: Barcelona and the Strawberry Tart.
Barcelona is one of my favourite cities to visit- aside from the good food and beautiful fresh foods market(La Boqueria), the city is incredibly conducive to live in- beautiful Gaudi architecture, buildings you have never cast your eyes on, streets with a perpetual siesta and lively atmosphere, tree lined avenues conducive for walking dogs and everywhere, shops, shops and more shops.
It is perhaps fitting then that Le Royale receives a revamp in the form of Barcelona – which utilises a similar hazelnut fellutine base but with a twist on the top of the cake.
The blood orange jelly oozing out of a tiny plastic filled tube was extremely delish, coupled with a top layer of orange caramel mousse. This provided a nice contrast to the chocolat sponge and almond chocolate sponge below, which fused perfectly and melted in your mouth. A tiny chocolate macaron, reminscient of some of the famous Gaudi architecture, was elegantly perched on the top of the cake.
I am extremely partial to tarts- this strawberry tart was slightly different in that the base was less crisp and extremely hard, with a strong almond flavour to it. The strawberries were liberally placed on top, but the hardness of the tart made an otherwise very pleasurable dessert a little less gratifying than it otherwise should be.
As always, Chef Pang and his team at Canele never fail to disappoint.