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Sweet-Tooths and Small Bites

Sweet-Tooths and Small Bites

All things sweet or small for the after-meal satisfaction.
Xing Wei Chua
Xing Wei Chua

While the opening of cafes seemed to have slowed down over the years, there had been quite a number which had opened their doors fairly recently — located at 10 North Canal Road, Pivot is just one of the few cafes which had opened their doors this month.

Serving up only a single main (i.e. Tamago Sando) alongside a wider selection of cakes and pastries, the Ohh Gee Cha cake is probably the one item that have appeared on social media feeds the most from Pivot; and it’s little wonder why is that so — featuring elements such as Houjicha Genoise, Houjicha Mousse and Apple Compote, the Ohh Gee Cha does sound like the crowd pleaser, and the one to go for especially for those who prefers tea flavoured cakes.

The cake is pretty well-executed here — smooth Houjicha mousse that comes with a light hint of fragrance from the tea; the exterior coming with cookie crumbs to provide a crisp texture, while the inside comes with a multitude of layers. The Houjicha Genoese helps to add a texture similar to sponge cake; also helps to further enhance the tea aroma of the entire cake, while the Apple Compote is the element that sets this rendition of a Houjicha entremet apart from the rest — the Apple Compote helps to provide a refreshing hint of sweetness that cuts through the subtly roast-y and bitter notes of the tea; a very thoughtful touch that complimented the cake perfectly.

Whilst only having two of their cakes during my visit here, we felt that their offerings could be a hit-and-miss depending on what one orders — the Carrot Ate Sheeran (essentially a Carrot Cake) felt a tad too dry for our liking. Nonetheless, it does seem that Pivot do have some seriously decent entremets especially for a new establishment in the F&B scene — a spot that is definitely worth checking out.

NeWest seems to be pretty buzzy recently; the sleepy mixed-use development had recently seen an influx of tenants of the late with the reopening of Birdfolks, as well as other F&B tenants such as Springleaf Prata Place and Fatburger which had recently moved into the building.

Being a relatively minimalist space, the vibes at Simple Cafe does remind one of Taiwanese cafes — the space being adorned with wood furnishings with white walls and concrete floors. Serving up a good variety of cakes and pastries, I just could not simply give the Mont Blanc a miss — the classic French pastry is pretty well-executed here, featuring the standard chestnut vermicelli, chestnut paste, light pastry cream and a slight hint of alcohol with a berry compote within. Digging into the Mont Blanc, I liked how the dessert carried a very mild sweetness and booziness amidst all the earthiness; the pastry cream carrying a neutral flavour profile that strikes a good balance on the taste buds, all that whilst giving the dessert a light, fluffy texture while the tart base crumbles off neatly below. Somewhere in the middle, the berry compote is like a surprise element, providing the dessert with a flavour contrast of zippiness that cuts through the earthiness perfectly.

Despite having just two of the many cakes and pastries that they have to offer, Simple Cafe does not disappoint — very well-executed cakes that is certainly worth making the trek down; which is no wonder how the spot is pretty much filled up when we made our way down on a weekend afternoon. Still, Simple Cafe is pretty much a gem in the West; somewhere which we are most certain that residents in the area would appreciate having in their neighbourhood, and also a spot we are definitely looking forward to revisit again soon!

Mad About Sucre is back from their hiatus; having closed for quite a while, they have returned and have revamped the entire space — a bold, new look that moves away from the French-style vibes in the first iteration, to a rather colourful and eclectic look that signifies their maturity through this journey in the F&B scene ever since they had first opened their doors six years ago.

The current collection sees the return of their famed San Dominique — a classic, and pretty much their signature ever since the launch of their first collection, while the new cakes take inspiration from what was created for their first collection but switching the aesthetics and flavours up for a whole new experience. That being said, my eyes and mind were on their plated desserts — the very first time which they are offering them; the Sepia being the more conventional of the two with elements such as Banana Nutmegs Ice-Cream, Compote, Pecan Soil and Milk Texture. The entire package offers no surprises here, considering the classic flavour combination that is bound to sit well with the masses here — a mix of nutty and sweet notes that would please most, and even a favourite for some. That being said, it is the execution that takes the cake; the crunchy bits of nuts, crispness of the pecan soil, smooth and creamy Banana Nutmeg Ice-Cream and that velvety rich Milk Texture — all that makes the plated dessert really varied and interesting to have despite its rather safe flavour profile.

Quite glad that Mad About Sucre has made a comeback — the changes here are pretty stark considering the approach that they are heading, but it does speak for the confidence that they have found ever since their establishment over the years. It has been an interesting ride having visited them for the multiple collections; some of which I had also missed due to the lack of time — but it is certainly great to see them back after a short break, given how the F&B scene would be much different without the existence of their intricate cakes around.

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Have read quite a fair bit about Celine’s Gelato Cart in the past weeks on social media — a hole-in-the-wall ice-cream shop which used to operate out of a cart for mobile operations. Hidden within Novena Regency just a short walk away from Novena MRT Station (also the same building where Sinn Ji Hainanese Chicken Rice is located), the shop does have their own dine-in area situated along the corridor for those who wish to have their gelato on the spot.

Serving up their gelato in cups, cones and waffles, Celine’s Gelato Cart also serves up a limited variety of bakes displayed in the display chiller such as a few variations of the Burnt Cheesecake. Went for the Gelato on its own, and picked the Rum & Raisin flavour which was pretty satisfying — the booziness strikes almost immediately as one gives their first taste on the gelato, while it rounds off nicely thereafter without being overly sweet; a very elegant flavour that is pretty well-executed. The texture does feel a bit off; possibly from the alcohol content in the flavour itself — it’s really smooth and sticky like how a gelato should have been, though was a little runny and melted fairly easily. That being said, I could definitely see how the flavours would totally work out well texturally given the consistency of it — makes me remember the good old days of visiting Alfero Artisan Gelato when they had a physical shop especially given how the gelato are also seemingly stored in Pozzetti containers. A spot definitely worth checking out the hype for!

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Checked out the new 100labs; a new cafe which had opened its doors at Sultan Gate pretty recently — they were still on soft launch last week, but are looking to release more items which includes more hot items soon.

Considering that there were only pastries, waffles and ice-cream for food options, we went for the Oomph! Waffles and got ourselves the double scoop Gelato to pair with the waffle — really enjoyed how the waffle was crisp and plush with an alluring buttermilk aroma; very aromatic and pretty easy to have without being particularly dense, which was wonderfully done. Our choice of gelato were the Pistachio and Taro Yam & Coconut — both creamy, smooth and sticky; the former being a safe flavour that carries a good nuttiness without being overly sweet, while the latter was almost like a mix of flavours akin to yam paste which was earthy yet refreshing with a balanced sweetness. Must say it works out pretty well as a hidden spot for ice-cream that is slightly away from the busier Haji Lane/Bali Lane district of Kampong Glam!

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Dropped by the new Pints & Cones pretty recently — an ice-cream parlour which had opened its doors at 304 Serangoon Avenue 2; a short distance away from Serangoon MRT Station and the bus interchange that is slightly further away from the hustle and bustle from the neighbourhood centre. The establishment does not only serve up ice-cream, but also a rather interesting selection of craft beers as well — a pretty unique combination of offerings for an ice-cream parlour.

Went with the Signature Waffles — essentially their classic waffles along with three scoops of ice-cream; each order also comes with a choice of chocolate sauce or maple syrup which we opted for the latter. The waffles were pretty decent here; considerably light and airy without being particularly dense — wafts of a hint of buttermilk fragrance and fairly easy to have. Of the three scoops of ice-cream that we have opted for, the stand-out flavour would be the Bandung ice-cream — familiar flavours of rose syrup and milk that comes aptly sweet and floral, while the Elderflower Lime comes with a bit of alcohol for slight hint of booziness whilst being the more lighter and refreshing flavour out of the three scoops that we have had.

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From The Wonderment Collective (a Muslim-run establishment btw); formerly known as The Wedding Chateau which specialises in event/wedding stationeries, gifts and traditional bakes — they had recently opened their new physical shop space at AGROW Building at 90 Lorong 23 Geylang just a short distance away from Aljunied MRT Station where they are open from Monday to Saturday for dine-ins, serving up cakes and coffee.

Went for the Tea Cakes; coming in a set of two, the flavours of the cakes have already been pre-determined by default — Raspberry Almond Financier, and Lemon Rosemary. Thought the cakes were pretty soft and fluffy; the former carrying a zing from the berries in the middle with a light nuttiness from the almonds, while the latter was a bit more simpler in its flavour profile — a slight zestiness from the lemon and a slight herb-y note from the rosemary to provide just a little contrast.

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Checked out the new Salted Caramel; the homegrown local ice-cream brand had recently expanded its operations and has opened a new store along Lorong Kilat right beside Udders Ice-Cream — pretty exciting considering how Salted Caramel had been around for so many years, but had been stuck having just one store at Upper Thomson all these years while other establishments that have opened during the same time had since expanded.

Offering pretty much the same menu at Lorong Kilat as they have been at Upper Thomson, patrons can opt for their ice-cream to come with waffle cones, waffle bowls, waffles or brownies. The Espresso with Caramel Biscuits is a flavour that suits coffee-lovers (just like me); smooth and creamy, it comes with just enough flavour from the espresso which gives off a balance of sweetness and bitterness while the caramel biscuit (aka Lotus) biscuits come surprisingly crunchy, despite being churned into the ice-cream — provides a good textural contrast and another dimension of sweetness to the ice-cream.

Really glad that they have opened a new outlet; have always thought their ice-creams were decent and the better choice around Upper Thomson, though the environment of that outlet is a little off from desired. Loved how they have since strayed away from the now kiddy yellow and white theming into a more mature look with minimalistic furnishings with wood accents — pretty simple yet chic and spacious; guess this would be the spot I will be returning for ice-cream whenever I am in this neighbourhood!

After closing down both their One Raffles Place and Raffles City outlets, Parallel had since relocated to their new digs at 39 Duxton Hill — the Açai bowl and specialty coffee joint is now serving up a more extensive menu here, with croissants and sourdough sandwiches also taking their place in the menu here.

Had lunch prior to visiting them so just ended up sharing the Açai bowl instead — the Superstar features elements such as Banana, Granola, Pecan Bits, Sunflower Seeds, Blueberries and Chia Seeds with the açai smoothie; patrons can also opt for an additional honey topping at no extra cost, and also can go for a half Açai and half Chobani yoghurt option if they so wish to. Still liked how the açai bowls here aren’t icy; smooth with a deep, earthy yet berry-like note that is aptly sweetened by the other elements such as the honey and sliced banana, while the other components provide for a more wholesome experience whilst giving the entire açai bowl a myriad of textures for additional contrast.

Have heard how affordable the cocktails are here, but I think it’s how budget-friendly their specialty coffee are that really catches my attention — $2.90 for any black coffee (i.e. Double Ristretto, Long Black) and $3.90 for whites (i.e. Macchiato, Piccolo, Flat White, Latte, Cappuccino) irregardless whether iced or hot; bet this place is gonna be a haunt for cafe-goers for great and pocket-friendly coffee and sandwiches!

Checked out the new Wan Wan Thai Cafe along Bencoolen Street; the cafe is by the same folks by Aroy-Dee Thai Kitchen and is located on the second floor of the shophouse where Aroy-Dee Thai Kitchen — a rather hidden spot considering how the shop is hidden away from view from the ground level without any clear signage indicating its existence when we visited.

Their operating hours do not reflect on their Instagram and Facebook business pages; that being said, some websites have listed their operating hours at 12 noon — arrived at 12:15pm thereabouts and was told that they were only open at around 1:00pm to 1:30pm. Found ourselves having a light bite in the area, and returned for just the Bingsu because we have had Kaya and Butter Toast by the time we came back. Settled for the Mango Bingsu considering Wan Wan Thai Cafe is pretty much a Thai-themed cafe at heart, but while the shaved milk ice was very well-executed being incredibly smooth and fluffy without melting too easily, the mango cubes were disappointing at best — a little raw for our liking with some bits being still hard and crunchy, while the softer cubes felt it was coming short of the sweetness usually associated with Thai mangoes. Otherwise, the entire Bingsu did feel quite decent — aptly sweet from the whipped cream, mango ice-cream and mango sauce after a slight drizzle of the condensed milk on the side. That being said, a 45 minute wait for a Bingsu is a little excessive; appreciated how the staff did inform us about the long wait and apologised upon order, though having just one staff prepping everything from Mini Toasts to Bingsu to drinks from their opening to somewhere mid-meal does seem somewhat understaffed given the crowd there on a Sunday afternoon. A decent place for sweet treats if one has the luxury of time to wait, though probably the Mango Bingsu is one item I would not likely to return for.

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Have always been intrigued by the pastries and bakes selection at Common Man Stan, but have not got quite the opportunity to head down there to give them a try until fairly recently and chanced upon these.

Coming in a portion of two pieces, these House-made Sausage Rolls work extremely well as a light breakfast treat or a mid-day light bite — being just bite-sized morsels or puff pastry with a chicken sausage within; flaky, crusty and buttery pastry that encases a savoury, peppery meatball-esque filling within, while the sesame seeds over the top helps to add a slight roast-y note that finishes it perfectly. Best paired with a hot Long Black at the side; works well for those who prefer having a savoury light bite with their cuppa rather than the usual sweets that other cafes usually seem to serve up.

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It’s been quite a while since the favourite place have had a new addition on their hot food menu — was pretty stoked to find that they have finally rolled out the Waffle & Ice-Cream exclusively at their Guillemard Road outlet this week; so much I just could not resist giving it a go.

Brawn & Brains has always been known to serve up simple, yet satisfying fare that has been pretty consistent — comforting brunch dishes that are are well-portioned for the price. Glad that the Waffle and Ice-Cream stays true to that philosophy which they had been sticking to all these years — a crisp, light and airy butter waffle that is simple and fuss-free; fragrant and lightly sweetened by the salted caramel and honey drizzle on the side for ample flavour alongside chopped pistachios for a crunch. The Vanilla ice-cream provides that finishing touch — smooth, dense, sticky and aptly sweet, it also provides that satisfying temperature contrast; cold ice-cream against warm waffle; such comfort food at its very best!

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Up, down and everywhere around for food.

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