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

With the closure of Ampang Niang Tou Fu at East Coast Road, there seems to be yet another cafe that has since sprouted up in the Katong neighbourhood — pretty much as though there isn’t enough of them in the area. Located at the same stretch of shophouses where one will find F&B establishments such as Mei Yuen, Project Acai and Neptune (with others such as a Brunners Coffeeshop, Isshin Machi, the now-defunct Forty Hands East Coast, Brawn & Brains and Chin Mee Chin Confectionery located across the road) is the new Good Chai People, which they have proclaimed themselves to be Singapore’s first cafe concept with an emphasis on Chai tea. The entire layout and design of the shophouse seemed to have been reworked ever since Ampang Niang Tou Fu had moved out of the premises; while the facade used to be just a simple signage with metal roll down shutters, the shophouse’s current facade now features a door and two geometrical windows; the latter can be opened for a view outside. Inside, the shophouse is decked with a Scandinavian / Balinese interior design theme — there are heavy usage of elements featuring wooden and wicker here, while most of the tiles, furniture and fittings feature an earthy colour tone for an easy look to the eye and a welcoming vibe. The ordering counter is situated to the left of the shop as one makes their way into the cafe from the entrance; the display shelf featuring the croissants and danishes available for the day taking up its space right beside the espresso machine, while another display shelf on the right after the cashier shows the tarts and cakes available for the day. On the right side of the cafe after entering from the entrance, there is a space dedicated to a retail section of Nine Wicker Ave where one can find scented candles and other merchandise. The dine-in area located at the deeper end of the shophouse past the kitchen features a faux grass flooring; perhaps an attempt to create a patio-like vibe that is close to nature. Being a full service cafe, the food menu at Good Chai People is segmented into categories such as Brunch, Pastries, Salads, Sides, Mains and Dessert; the beverage menu has a focus of various types of Chai within the Chai category, whilst also has sections dedicated to Coffee, Smoothies, Teas, Sodas and Beers.

Having only ordered two items at Good Chai People to share, we found the Fried Baby Corn was probably the more impressive item of the two that we have ordered. An item on that is listed on the “Sides” section of the menu, the Fried Baby Corn can be said as a healthier alternative to the usual finger food that features deep-fried elements. Coming with a thin golden brown batter on the outside, the batter is lightly crisp, while the baby corn itself retains a good crunch; the flavours of the baby corn being pretty subtle here. That being said, the Fried Baby Corn is finished with Furikake over the top; the Japanese seasoning helping to add a umami touch for the entire dish, giving the baby corn the flavour it needs. Whilst being quite a simple dish, the Fried Baby Corn makes for quite a decent side to share across the table; one which found to be really appetising and polished up in no time.

Other items that we have tried at Good Chai People were the Braised Beef Cheeks Polenta, as well as the Sticky Chai Latte (Hot) and the Lime Tonic Espresso; the former two felt rather lacking overall — the Braised Beef Cheeks Polenta felt like it missed the point with its odd use of tomato purée in its base for the braised beef cheeks and somewhat felt quite like a basic beef stew being served atop the polenta rather than the braised beef cheeks that it has promised, while the Sticky Chai Latte (Hot) just felt especially diluted and milky and didn’t really carry a punchy note of cinnamon and spices like what we had expected. We had also noted that some of the brunch items that other tables have ordered does seem like a simple assemble of store-bought / supplied elements, and they seemed to have sold out of most of their fancier croissant / danish offerings such as the Almond Croissant, Churros Croissant and Hojicha Oreo Croissant even before 12 noon on a weekend brunch service. The service here could also be a little bit more attentive as well; found it weird that we were asked how many pax were dining in by another staff just a minute or two when we were already seated down by the first service crew member who brought us in from the entrance, and it took a third one to ask (again, after a minute or two) if we have just arrived before we were given a menu. With so many cafes at East Cost Road, perhaps there are a lot more finer details that Good Chai People might need to look at — from the availability of the items, all the way to the execution of some of the items we have had, and the service; hopefully these are all teething issues considering it was their first day of operations when we visited. We would, however, probably be still sticking to the favourite spot whenever we are in this ‘hood; Good Chai People might still be a spot that avid cafehoppers might add to the list for the ‘gram just to check it off the list of cafes to try out.

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With the McPepper, Pulut Hitam Pie and HERSHEY’S Cone making its way out of the limited time-only menu at McDonald’s, McDonald’s had also announced the return of the Samurai Burger and the Yuzu Cream Cheese Pie, and the introduction of the new Houjicha soft-serve; a soft-serve flavour which McDonald’s is releasing for the very first time. As with most soft-serve releases, the Houjicha soft-serve is available only at outlets with a dessert kiosk, and that the Houjicha soft-serve is being served up as a Houjicha Cone, Houjicha Twist (i.e. mix of the Houjicha soft-serve and Vanilla soft-serve in a cone), Houjicha Sundae and Houjicha McFlurry form.

Being quite a sucker for new soft-serve flavours launched by McDonald’s, we found ourselves joining the beeline at their NEX outlet this time since we were in the vicinity for dinner; most in the queue being folks whom are also ordering the Houjicha soft-serve. On first look, the Houjicha soft-serve comes in that greyish-brown hue that most would associate with the Japanese roasted tea; the colour here being seemingly on the lighter side against that of the same which are typically being served in matcha speciality stores of the likes of Tsujiri, Hvala and Matchaya. That being said, the Houjicha soft-serve comes rather impactful on the very first go at the soft-serve; the notes of the roasted tea hits the tastebuds pretty much head-on right from the start — immensely rich, though not a flavour that is quite complex especially where the earthiness and roasty-ness is of concern. As with almost all McDonald’s soft-serve flavours, the notes of the roasted tea gradually becomes less evident as one goes through the entire portion; the milkiness / creaminess seemingly taking over slowly though we did note that there wasn’t this artificial note that lingers in the end that seems to exists in their Vanilla soft-serve.

Overall, the Houjicha soft-serve still is still one flavour which we really enjoyed — probably one of those flavours which we would not mind having again if it makes its return again as a limited time-only run; no doubt this would never replace our favourite Purple Sweet Potato Waffle Cone which itself is quite a bold attempt by the Golden Arches, but the Houjicha soft-serve is definitely one of the top few flavours for us especially when compared against the Ovaltine and HERSHEY’S related offerings of the late.

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Orchard has been seeing quite a number of new F&B establishments open of the late; apart from Vanda Botanical Desserts which had recently commenced operations at Ngee Ann City, as well as 怡Small Tables at Pacific Plaza, there is also Smoochie Creamery at the ground floor of Far East Plaza as well. Smoochie Creamery takes over the former premises of the shop that was previously serving up Chinese desserts (i.e. Tong Shui 糖水). Giving the space a revamp, Smoochie Creamery adopts a rather functional interior design that seems to hint slightly of industrial elements — think a concrete-esquire flooring, as well as the use of spotlights, neon lighting and rather basic furniture tha comprises of white tables and wooden stools. Being primarily a ice-cream parlour, the ice-cream flavours available for the day are being displayed in the display chiller that faces out to the shopping aisle — a great way to entice shoppers that are passing by to have a look at what they have to offer. Patrons can choose to either have their ice-creams in a cup of a cone, though there are other options to pair up the scoops of ice-cream as well — think pastries such as a “Happy Fudgie Brownie” and a “Almond Butter Bread”. Each scoop of ice-cream is also entitled to one topping — the toppings available can be easily viewed at the counter which includes Loacker-style wafer biscuits, cereal (i.e. something similar to Honey Stars, Rice Krispies etc.), crumbles and even haw flakes as well; just to name a few.

Having glanced through to the display fridge to see the various ice-cream flavours which they have to offer, we found ourselves opting for the Rum & Raisin (contains alcohol), as well as the Lemon & Lime flavours; they also do have other intriguing flavours such as Marsala Tiramisu (contains alcohol), Maple Walnut, as well as Vanilla Brownie as well. Between the two, the Lemon & Lime was something that suited our tastebuds really well; not to say that the Rum & Raisin wasn’t good, but perhaps the Lemon & Lime was something that we were more inclined towards considering how we have had a rusher heavy-tasting meal prior and the Lemon & Lime was what we needed to refresh our tastebuds. The staff over the counter did give us a prior warning that the flavour may be a little bit sour, though we did find that the Lemon & Lime sorbet here did carry a somewhat sweeter ending as the bitter-ish notes that some other sorbets may end with. Not only did the Lemon & Lime sorbet provided the zingy and zippy citrus-sy notes that one would expect out of such flavour, it does come with bits of lime pulp that further adds on to the ice-cream; the ice-cream being sufficiently smooth with a consistent texture throughout — no undesirable, icy bits hidden anywhere. Went with the Haw Flakes as our choice of the topping to go with the Lemon & Lime; thought it was a great accompaniment since it provided a soft and slightly chewy bite — also came with a slight tang that further elevated the citrusy notes of the ice-cream.

Whilst ice-cream parlours have been sprouting up everywhere in the heartlands, ice-cream parlours like Smoochie Creamery are few and far between in Orchard. This makes Smoochie Creamery a wallet-friendly spot for desserts in the heart of the shopping belt in Singapore — somewhere that seems to serve up fuss-free ice-cream with quite a good variety of toppings and items to pair the ice-cream up with. For an ice-cream parlour of its size, Smoochie Creamery also does seem to carry quite a good variety of flavours as well — the flavours being pretty consistent with what is being described in its namesake while the consistency of the ice-cream is pretty ideal; could definitely tell that there were some attention to detail being placed here. With its rather playful aesthetic, Smoochie Creamery does blend well into the surroundings it is set in; somewhere to hit for simple desserts in Orchard without having to break the bank.

Found out about The Goodlato Company via their social media pages; previously only operating as an online-based business, The Goodlato Company has since found new digs within Havelock II as a brick-and-mortar store. Taking over the former premises of Whiskdom which has since moved to a new space at North Bridge Road, The Goodlato Company operates primarily as a takeaway kiosk; there are some dine-in counter seatings that are located by the side that is within the mall, but the ordering counter is located behind a sliding glass door with the display freezer containing the gelato flavours available for the day facing the main road and the bus stop to attract those whom are passing by. With an emphasis on serving up gelato that is low calorie and high in protein, the menu at The Goodlato Company does list down the calorie count per scoop for each of the flavours of gelato it offers — flavours being listed in the menu during our visit to The Goodlato Company includes more conventional flavours such as Vanilla Bean, Belgian Chocolate and Pistachio, but there are also rather interesting ones such as the Marzipan & Choco Chip and Ube. Patrons can choose to have their gelato either in a cup or cone here; beverages available at The Goodlato Company includes Kopi and Teh.

Opting for two of the more interesting flavours which were available in their display freezer during the day which we made our visit, we opted for the Ube and the Lychee Rose flavours. One thing we did note about The Goodlato Company is despite them claiming their gelato being low in calorie but high in protein, they have not been particularly clear on their social media pages on how this has been achieved. That being said, we were fairly impressed with how the two flavours which we have opted for went; between the two, our favourite was clearly the Ube — the Ube was nothing short of the inherent earthiness of yam. In retrospect, we did feel that the Lychee Rose was stronger on the mild sweetness of lychee, though the floral notes of the rose could be slightly stronger for a better contrast. Still, the gelato carried that desired texture of a good gelato despite being one that is low calorie and high protein; it is sufficiently sticky and smooth, though one could feel that slight graininess especially after the gelato has started to melt a little; not something which we found to be particularly bothersome however. We also note that the flavours of the gelato here do seem more “pure” as well — seemingly more stronger of its intended notes without that lingering creaminess or milkiness that one would have expected.

One thing we are certain about The Goodlato Company’s gelato is how they have seemingly achieved what we have thought to be something a little difficult to execute — creating low calorie and high protein gelato that is tastes good. We really liked how the rich the flavours of the gelato here are without feeling particularly creamy or milky, though one thing we thought they could have been a little bit more transparent about here would be how they have achieved so in their gelato (i.e. what went in there that makes it low calorie and high protein as compared to the usual) — the calorie count per scoop which they have included in the menu was a nice touch however. Given how they have strategically placed their counter to face the main road, The Goodlato Company does make for a good stop for those looking for a sweet treat whilst walking past Havelock II; perhaps even a spot to drop by even for those whom are looking for just a cold treat to have whilst waiting for the bus at the bus stop just several steps away on a hot day.


Have heard about Rosemead; a modern Californian concept that is situated at 19 Cecil Street that emphasises on a style of cooking called hearth cooking which is said to be the oldest way of cooking (i.e. cooking by a fireplace), though what really prompted us to make the visit was a recent post on their social media account that have mentioned the opening of Rosemead Bakery. Being more of a fine dining establishment, Rosemead Bakery can be said as an extension to Rosemead — previously offering pastry boxes that is available for pre-orders online, Rosemead Bakery now occupies part of the grounds within Rosemead itself primarily meant for takeaways. With a dedicated counter right across from the reception desk, one can easily walk in to Rosemead and view the selection of bakes from Rosemead Bakery to make their purchase straight at the counter. Split into two sections, the counters displays the cakes and tarts, as well as the fresh bakes and cookies that are available to order — it is noted that patrons are allowed to dine-in (subject to the availability of seats) if they opt for items off the cakes and tarts selection, though the fresh bakes and cookies are strictly meant for takeaways and would be served in paper boxes instead. For those looking for a beverage to compliment their bakes, Rosemead Bakery does offer specialty coffee as well as a small variety of tea to-go as well — patrons dining in for the cakes and tarts selection will also be able to go for any beverage that is off the menu of Rosemead, while specialty coffee and tea for dine-in patrons would also be served in porcelain cups as well.

Amongst the two items that we have went for at Rosemead Bakery, the Lime Pie with Milk Meringue would be the least adventurous between the two. Served as a single slice from a whole pie, the Lime Pie with Milk Meringue is an item that is both listed in the menu of Rosemead and Rosemead Bakery — the item having its place in the “Desserts” section of the former, whilst also being placed in the “Cakes and Tarts by the slice” in the latter. We have had a few Key Lime Tarts and Lime Meringue Tarts over the years, yet none comes quite as close to this Lime Pie with Milk Meringue that Rosemead / Rosemead Bakery serves up. Digging into the Lime Pie with Milk Meringue, it is evident how the Milk Meringue bears a consistency almost similar to that of a melted marshmallow. The aesthetic of the milk meringue comes with a pleasing sheen; sufficiently sticky but not overly stiff — also liked how it was not overly sweet and actually easy to eat. The dense milk meringue also went really well with the zippy lime curd beneath; the lime curd bearing a lighter consistency as compared to the milk meringue, whilst the curd carries a refreshing zing that keeps us yearning for more. Found it really interesting how the lime curd actually does come with bits of lime pulp that adds just that bit of bite that gave it a really interesting texture against the other Key Lime Pies and Lime Meringue Tarts that we have had thus far. All that are accompanied with a Graham cracker crust at the bottom; something that wasn’t too dense, yet provides for that cookie-like crumbly texture and a light sweetness to gel the milk meringue and lime curd altogether. A creation where we felt was really well-designed; pretty on-point considering how there is a play of different textures and harmonious blend of flavours going around.

We have also given Rosemead Bakery’s Oat-Curry Leaf Cookie as well as their Latte a try and we must say that we were highly impressed with what they have to offer — the former being a really adventurous take on a soft cookie with both sweet and savoury elements (probably leaving the sweet element as a surprise for whoever that intends to give it a go), while the Latte surpassed what we would have expected from a fine-dining establishment; one which was surprisingly well-pulled being all smooth and creamy with a medium body and a really alluring floral note. No doubt we have yet to give Rosemead a try — $65++ for a two-course set lunch / $73++ for a three-course set lunch is definitely something which we would most certainly need to plan for and can’t really go for on a whim, but Rosemead Bakery certainly set an impression that makes us want to consider giving Rosemead a go in the future. One thing we really liked about Rosemead / Rosemead Bakery was also the hospitality from the service crew — despite making the visit only for the items served at Rosemead Bakery, they were nothing short of being warm, sincere and helpful; there was never an instant that we felt that we were unwelcome, and they did even assisted to get us seated down on their own accord since we could opt to dine-in by ordering the Lime Pie with Meringue Milk. For those who are looking for delicious bakes and cakes with quality and a character that surpasses the ones that are typically served in cafes — Rosemead Bakery is definitely worth giving a shot!


Chateraise should be a brand that most Singaporeans would not be unfamiliar with — having only started operations here just a couple of years ago, they have since opened many outlets at various shopping malls retailing their Japanese confections; from cakes to cream puffs, and even ice-cream, what makes Chateraise always a good option is the convenience, quality of food and the affordable price point. The brand had first introduced their premium concept Chateraise PREMIUM YATSUDOKI last year with the opening of their very first Chateraise PREMIUM YATSUDOKI in Guoco Tower at Tanjong Pagar; they have since opened the second outlet at Millenia Walk, taking over the former premises of Toast Box that is located next to the Huggs Coffee near Pullman Bakery, as well as the entrance/exit of Promenade MRT Station. Whilst the Chateraise PREMIUM YATSUDOKI outlet here mostly carries the same items as the one at Guoco Tower (i.e. some items from the usual variety available at Chateraise, as well as some cakes, pastries and even a soft-serve that are exclusive to Chateraise PREMIUM YATSUDOKI locations), the major difference between at the Millenia Walk location would be the small dine-in area where patrons can now enjoy the cakes, ice-cream and pastries in air-conditioned comfort — this would mean that the Chateraise PREMIUM YATSUDOKI outlet here also serves coffee as well. Comprising of only two high tables meant for two pax each, there is also a standing area with a counter-height table for those who do not mind enjoying their sweets standing up; there are also some al-fresco seating located outside the cafe that caters to groups of four pax.

Not sure if the Hokkaido Red Bean Paste Mochi Pie is a Chateraise PREMIUM YATSUDOKI exclusive considering the lack of mention of YATSUDOKI in its namesake, though it is an item which we have not had previously at any Chateraise PREMIUM YATSUDOKI or Chateraise outlet previously that piqued our interest. Served in the form of hand pie, the Hokkaido Red Bean Paste Mochi Pie does remind us of the various dessert pie offerings that fast food establishments typically would serve up with a bit of difference. Whilst the layered pastry crust on the exterior is all buttery and flaky, what is evidently different about the one here is the sugary crust that gives it some sort of a sweet-savoury combination of flavours. Considering how the pastry is already aptly sweet on its own, the red bean paste within the Hokkaido Red Bean Paste Mochi Pie seemed to bear a heavier emphasis on the earthiness of red bean; the paste is consistently smooth and suitably sticky as well — the thin layer of mochi hidden within the pie provides a chewy texture that didn’t feel too dense nor overwhelming. Overall, a pastry with good balance of flavours and textures.

Chateraise had gained popularity over the years for being well-priced for the quality of food they serve, bringing the masses budget-friendly Japanese patisserie-style cakes and bakes that makes them a really accessible choice considering the number of outlets they have. Chateraise PREMIUM YATSUDOKI is an extension to the Chateraise brand name; one that is able to serve up slightly more upmarket products with prices that match closer to other establishments such as dessert cafes around the island. The addition of a dine-in area for their Chateraise PREMIUM YATSUDOKI’s newest outlet at Millenia Walk is a great addition — something which we felt that was missing from their very first outlet at Guoco Tower considering how there would probably be demand from office folks around the Central Business District looking for a space to sit down over desserts and coffee during tea time or as a post-meal treat after lunch. Considering its location at Millenia Walk, Chateraise PREMIUM YATSUDOKI is a spot that is convenient for a short dessert stop that is away from the shopping crowd — somewhere which we would gladly stop by for a convenient cake and coffee whilst in town!

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If not for the trip made to Bijou for Black Cherry, we wouldn’t have known that Xchange X Seriously Coffee had since ceased operations, and a new Krys Berry Dessert House had since taken over its space. Located just a stone’s throw away from Pasir Panjang MRT Station, Krys Berry Dessert House is one of the few concepts within Bijou that are managed by the Xchange Group — other establishments that are run by Xchange Group at Bijou includes Xchange Restaurant & Bar, Xchange Chirashi and LuxeXchange (retailing luxury goods, collectibles, toys and electronics). Krys Berry Dessert House is a space that is extended from Krys Berry Superfood — the space for Krys Berry Superfood is accessible via a step of stairs located past the counter of Krys Berry Dessert House. Visiting Krys Berry Dessert House in the evening shortly just before it closes for the day, Krys Berry Superfood was already no longer in operation when we made the visit; Krys Berry Dessert House does serve up quite a good variety of cakes, pastries and tarts — the items available for the day being all displayed in the display chiller at the counter. The list of beverages available at Krys Berry Dessert House includes coffee, artisan tea, and cocoa.

Having visited Krys Berry Dessert House with a dining partner who loves all things truffle, there was an unanimous decision made to go for the White Chocolate Truffle Cake. Being a two-tiered sponge cake, the White Chocolate Truffle Cake also featured crumbles, as well as what seems to be white chocolate-infused pastry cream. All in all, we were really surprised by how the White Chocolate Truffle Cake was a cake that did not feel overly sweet; in fact, the cake was suitably sweet perhaps in an attempt to allow the truffle notes to pull off somehow. Digging into the cake, the texture of the sponge cake may seem to have been just a teensy bit dry for some, though it was not something which we found to be particularly bothersome — the cake still held to the slicing with the fork pretty well without being overly crumbly nor felt too stiff. The crumbles over the top and in the middle with the pastry cream provided a good crunch; almost akin to the buttery crumbles of what one can find in an Apple Crumble Pie. What made the White Chocolate Truffle Cake interesting was the infusion of truffle into the cake; the cake carried a really subtle note of truffle aroma that seemingly complimented with the elements of the cake pretty well — just light enough to perfume up the cake subtly without overwhelming the buttery notes of the crumbles and the light sweetness of the pastry cream, so as to provide an contrast of flavours to the cake that one would usually not expect in a dessert.

Our visit to Krys Berry Dessert House was one that we did not near much expectations of; we visited the establishment only since we were craving for desserts after our meal at Black Cherry and that it was a convenient option just right across. The bakes at Krys Berry Dessert House were decent; the Earl Grey Chocolate Brownie was yet another interesting item where they serve up a slice of brownie with Earl Grey-infused pastry cream over the top — somewhat of a more commonly-found flavour combination these days that just works. No doubt there seems to be some work required in the execution, though we thought that most of the things which we picked up were more tuned towards each individual’s preferences as well; that being said, we weren’t a fan of the dollop of cream that was placed by the side of each cake — we were told that they had used a substitute ingredient since one of the ingredients used was out of stock, which caused some discrepancy in the flavours that differed from what was intended. Overall, Krys Berry Dessert House does serve up pretty decent bakes for the price ranges of $8 to $9 that most of the cakes call for (the Earl Grey Chocolate Brownie is priced at $5 however) — considering how Pasir Panjang does have a lack of dessert spots, Krys Berry Dessert House is a spot worth considering to hit for sweet-tooths whilst being in this corner of the island.

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Always excited about the favourite place whenever they have something new on the menu or in their display case at the counter, or whenever they are opening at a new location; whilst their Guillemard Road outlet is temporarily closed at the moment, the folks behind Brawn & Brains had been working to open yet another outlet at Hamilton Road within the Jalan Besar neighbourhood. Situated at 16 Hamilton Road, Brawn & Brains’ latest location is along the same stretch of shophouses as The Lunar Rabbit Boulangerie and Missus; also being just right across from For The People as well. Currently in a really silent soft launch phase (do check their social media for whether they are open for the day), much of the works in the cafe have been completed — there are however some bits that are still in-progress. As such, their Hamilton Road location currently only serves specialty coffee and a very limited variety of pastries; think the Napoleon’s Hat, galettes, donuts and the Korvapuusti Pulla that are usually available at their East Coast Road location, with payment being by tipping basis at the time of writing. The interior decor at their Hamilton Road space does hark back to their Guillemard and East Coast Road outlets with familiar design cues that regulars would easily spot, though there have been further refinements to include a fresh touch to keep up with the times. The space is also smartly segregated into two different areas with the espresso/ordering counter sitting in between — the right side being more of a formal dine-in space with dining tables, while the left is more of a brew bar with smaller tables that allows one to get some work done over a cuppa or sit by the counter to watch the barista in-action.

We have previously written about the Rustic Apple Galette when we first encountered it at their East Coast Road outlet; turning out pretty much as consistent as how we have had it previously, we liked how the puff pastry isn’t particularly dense with the different galettes that we have tried, but gives enough chew as one tears it apart. The puff pastry also carries a nice doughy fragrance; in between the pastry and the slices of apples is a layer of cream cheese that provides a tang that attempts to bring the pastry and the apple slices together — the apple slices being sliced so thinly for a soft crunch and a slightly sweet zing that makes the pastry easy to finish overall.

Have been saying this for quite a number of times and that I am probably sounding like a broken record now — it is really amazing to see how these folks have started off from a hole-in-the-wall space from its original shop unit at Guillemard Road and have progressed so much ever since. 9 years in operations is a lot; this is especially so considering how so many F&B establishments have come and go over the years, and the current economic environment has made it even tougher for businesses these days — and here we do see the same folks being working on their business day-in and day-out to bring the very best to their patrons be it in terms of food or service. Congratulations to the folks behind Brawn & Brains for the launch (and a very soft one) of their new space at Hamilton Road — can’t wait to see what it would be like and also to try the hot food menu when it goes into full operations; also wishing them all the best in what has to come, as always!

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Hadn’t visited Lowercase for a few weeks and found out that they are offering quite a number of new cakes that are being displayed in the display chiller at the counter. Apart from the Peach Terrazzo, there is also the Charlotte Cake and a Vietnamese Dark Chocolate Tart that we have yet to try during our previous visits here.

Being an individually-sized two-tier cake, the Peach Terrazzo deceptively looks like an entremet / mousse cake given its aesthetics but is in fact, a sponge cake within. The “terrazzo” in the name stems from the aesthetics of the cake — the exterior is decorated with flower petals, bits of peach, and herbs; all that together with pieces of meringue for that “broken tile” aesthetic. Frosted with pastry cream on the outside, slicing the cake into half reveals the sponge cake layers; what sits between the two layers would be a layer of pastry cream that comes with bits of peach within. Liked how the sponge was subtly sweet; the pastry cream further enhancing those flavours while the bits of peach provided a good bite, as well as a fruity tinge of sweetness that gives a bit of a flavour contrast to the cake. The broken meringue pieces on the exterior adds on to the textures of the cake; a soft crunch that disintegrates effortlessly — an interesting touch to what is otherwise a rather standard offering out there.

The folks of Prodigal Roasters are slowly making Lowercase a space that regulars of the now-defunct Prodigal Roasters / Prodigal Cafe somewhere that is familiar to the heart. Whilst they have kept the namesake of the cafe and retained most part of its decor, they have since brought back some of the favourites from the menu ever since their announcement of their “move” into Lowercase — think the Dirty (i.e. double ristretto on cold milk in a chilled glass), to the favourite Grilled Cheese Sandwich and the familiar Lavender Cheesecake and Chewy Brownie. Lowercase has since been a haunt for us ever since the folks of Prodigal Roasters / Prodigal Cafe have moved in here — would definitely make it a point to try the new Miso Cheesecake (which sounds like a spruced up version of the Miso Cheese Tart that we have loved) soon!

Quite a number of new openings for the weekend — yet another spot that had officially launched over the past weekend is Homeground; would be Homeground Coffee Roasters previously at Joo Chiat Road that we are talking about here, which is not to be confused with Homeground Grill & Bar that is situated along Serangoon Road. Having moved out of their former home that has been through quite a number of revamps previously, Homeground had since expanded their operations with the opening of their Teo Hong Road space. Occupying two shophouse units (i.e. 13 and 15 Teo Hong Road), Homeground is located along the same row of shophouses where 99 Old Trees and Mad About Sucre are both located. With a rather big interior space, the decor does remind us of what most trendy cafes serving up specialty coffee are going for these days — terracotta and brick tiles in its design elements; all that with furniture and fittings that has a metallic and wooden accent which gives the space a bit of a clean, yet “un-basic” look that isn’t overly minimalistic. Whilst 15 Teo Hong Road is dedicated as a space for their cafe operations, part of the shophouse unit at 13 Teo Hong Road is purposed as “Playground” — essentially a space meant for retail of their roasted coffee beans and other coffee-related peripherals that is still linked to the main dining area at the back. Whilst Homeground Coffee Roasters is a spot known for all-day brunch and specialty coffee, Homeground seems to be moving in a different direction with the opening of their new space. Their emphasis of specialty coffee is still pretty strong — the specialty coffee section dominates the first few pages of their menu here. This is followed by the section that is dedicated to their small and large plates — basically where one would be able to find all the hot food that they serve up. A “sweets.” section comes thereafter; essentially the dessert section of the menu. Diners can also opt for a menu that is an “omakase” of sorts; 7 curated dishes for the price of $60++ per pax — something that we found to be rather refreshing for a change, but also unexpected for a cafe known for its specialty coffee previously.

One of the dishes that left a pretty strong impression for us during our meal at Homeground would be the Burnt Rice Coconut, which is a dessert item that is off their “sweets.” section of the menu. The Burnt Rice Coconut features elements such as burnt black rice pudding, pandan, and hazelnut crumble. Being a play on the local black glutinous rice dessert (i.e. Pulut Hitam), we liked how the Burnt Rice Coconut here was a dish that had so much to bring to the table where texture is involved. While the burnt black rice pudding resembles the Pulut Hitam in terms of flavour, what we really enjoyed was how they have also included bits of burnt glutinous rice that provides a good crunch that gives it so the pudding so much texture against the smooth, rich and dense Pulut Hitam. As though that wasn’t enough, the addition of hazelnuts provided a nuttiness and a good crunchiness that further elevates whatever that was going on in the rice pudding even further. The inclusion of Pandan-infused oil was a smart move; one which gave the burnt black rice pudding an extra “oomph” in terms of flavour considering the use of coconut milk in the pudding, while rice crackers over the top add a light crispness that complimented the crunchy textures that are going on here. A really well-designed and well-executed dessert with an interesting local element here.

Apart from the Burnt Rice Coconut, we have also tried other items such as the Quinoa Tofu Fritters as well as the Chorizo Kimchi Stew — the former saw a Middle Eastern influence with the use of homemade hummus and garam masala, while the latter had Spanish chorizo, kimchi, silver fish, baked eggs; though that it could do better with a tangier note of the kimchi that would give it a punch. To be fair, the current rendition of Homeground is probably the most ambitious one yet — their foray into serving up contemporary cuisine almost akin to that of a bistro / gastrobar or even fine-dining establishment is a fairly bold move. Prices of the food here can also be particularly pricey depending on the items ordered — the large plates being in the range of $20++ (i.e. the Roasted Butternut Pumpkin, and the Cauliflower Steak) to $62++ (i.e. the Boston Lobster). That being said, Homeground would definitely need to look into refining some of the items to better match the price tag that they are asking for. Waiting times for a seat to dine-in even with two pax can also take particularly long during weekend lunch hours — we found ourselves waiting for a seat for nearly two hours with twelve groups ahead of us even though we were told to expect to be seated for around slightly over an hour; something that one should take note if they intend to visit Homeground. With such high prices for its food now, it is certainly more difficult to comment if we would be making a return visit soon since they are less affordable than what they used to be; still, probably a spot that cafe-hoppers would be more than happy to check out at least just once.

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Checked out the new Whisking Bakes at Blk 466 Crawford Lane which has seem to start making its rounds on social media fairly recently. Located just a short walk away from Lavender MRT Station, Whisking Bakes is located right beside Vietnamese eatery Super Ngon — pretty much the same HDB block which houses the coffeeshop where the one Michelin-starred Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle is also situated. Whisking Bakes had first started out as a home-based business — best known for their Orh Nee Tart Balls (think CNY-esque Pineapple Balls with a yam paste filling), they have since expanded their operations to include a dine-in element with their move to Crawford Lane. Now being a bake shop with a taro centric element, Whisking Bakes also serves up other taro-infused bakes such as the Taro-Misu, Taro Burnt Cheesecake, Old School Taro Cake and the Taro Mochi Swiss Roll. For those who are not too big of a taro fan, there also other bakes such as the Bailey’s Burnt Cheesecake, Ultimate Chocolate Cake and NYC Levain Cookies to go for. Beverages here include specialty coffee which is brewed using beans roasted by Dutch Colony Coffee Co., as well as a variety of tea and kombucha options — the highlight would however be the Taro Latte which features housemade taro paste topped with taro milk.

One of the items that we thought we could not miss out when we skimmed through the items in the display freezer is the Taro-misu. The Taro-misu comprises of elements such as lady fingers dipped in taro milk, yam paste and mascarpone cheese — think of it as a Tiramisu that has been stripped out of the coffee elements; all of that being replaced by taro instead. First taste into the Taro-misu and we found it to be rather balanced in terms of sweetness; liked how the mascarpone cheese was adequately dense whilst also being velvety smooth — matched well with the layer of taro paste beneath that provides an earthy note akin to that of Orh Nee. The texture of the Taro Paste also bears a consistency that was somewhat the same as the mascarpone cheese as well. The only qualm we have had with this item is how the lady fingers dipped in taro milk did seem to feel a bit dry — a stark contrast against the mascarpone cheese and the taro paste in terms of texture and quite stood out on its own unfortunately; overall not something that was too disturbing for the entire experience, though definitely some room for improvement.

It is interesting how Whisking Bakes had first started out as a home-based business, and have taken their focus on taro as an ingredient from the creation of their Orh Nee Tart Balls all the way to expanding into a bakehouse that serves taro-centric bakes and cakes — definitely an interesting approach considering a taro-centric bakehouse is still relatively unheard of in the local market. The food items served at Whisking Bakes were generally decent, though we felt that both the Taro-misu and the Taro Mochi Swiss Roll could do with further refining for a stronger impression overall. Still, Whisking Bakes does work as a spot for taro lovers to check out — a comfortable environment at the foot of the HDB block with decent cakes centred around the use of taro; something that may appeal to both the young and the old.

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Had been noticing Bread & Butter Bakery Cafe (not to be confused with Bread & Butter Bakehouse; another bakery that is situated at Kensington Square along Jalan Lokam) ever since the days that they were doing renovations to prepare for their opening at Oxley Tower — situated on the ground level of Oxley Tower, they are quite easy to spot considering the pastel pink aesthetic that is all the way from the walls to its wares. Having previously operated as a home-based business, Bread & Butter Bakery & Cafe’s opening of their Oxley Tower space also marks their very first foray into dine-in operations. Whilst still primarily being a spot that is meant for takeaways, there are around three tables good for two pax each for dine-in. The display shelf at the counter pretty much shows what is available for the day — items available on the day of our visit includes a selection of bread rolls, brownies and loaf cakes; just to name a few. Bread & Butter Bakery & Cafe also does serve up a short list of beverages — this includes specialty coffee, as well as some iced teas which they have dubbed as “Signature Ice Tea” in their menu as well.

Visiting Bread & Butter Bakery & Cafe for lunch, we found ourselves settling for the Truffle & Cheese Bread Roll which was very much the only savoury bread that is being listed on the menu. The Truffle & Cheese Bread Roll features elements such as premium Italian black truffle paste, cheddar, mozzarella, and topped with finely-grated parmesan. We found it a little bit of a shame that they didn’t heat up the bread before serving it to us (not that we have asked if they would be able to do so) — we reckoned that the Truffle & Cheese Bread Roll would have done even better if it is being served warm or fresh out-of-the-oven. We liked how the bread rolls here aren’t particularly overwhelming — the bread itself was surprisingly light, fluffy and airy considering the fact how some bread rolls tend to be a little more stiff and dense. Swirled within the roll would be that oozy melted mix of cheeses, which is also laced with that Italian black truffle paste that adds on that whiff of truffle aroma amidst all that savouriness going on. Overall, a pretty satisfying bun that is fairly light and easy to have.

Apart from the Truffle & Cheese Bread Roll, we had also tried a slice of the Black Sesame & Kinako Loaf Cake, as well as their White — we found the former to be decent as well; a light cake that was surprisingly not too dry considering how it consists of black sesame with Kinako crumbles over the top. Prices are fairly reasonable here as well; the highest priced items being at $5.50 which are somewhat affordable to the office folks around the Central Business District. Bread & Butter Bakery & Cafe seems to be off a good start — a spot likely well-patronised by the office folks for some sweet treats to bring back to the office!

Up, down and everywhere around for food.

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