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Desert Desserts? Never!

Desert Desserts? Never!

Mostly raves, plus a couple of rants about the assortment of sweet treats I have tried.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua
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If you want to end your meal on a light and refreshing note, the “Pina Colada” would be the effortless choice.
In the glass bowl, you’ll find an elegant sheet of white chocolate, passion fruit sherbet, rum-infused pineapple, coconut yogurt ice-cream, baby meringues and a dusting of kaffir lime zest.
All too easy to polish off even if you have consumed your weight in tapas and paella.

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H O S T E D
This isn’t a strawberry tart. This is love and childhood memories captured in edible form.
When he was a child, CURATE’s Resident Head Chef Benjamin grandmother use to bake him “omis erdbeerkuchen“ (literal translation: granny’s strawberry cake) as a treat. This dessert on his Spring/Summer menu is his tribute to her and the boundless love she has for him.
You would never mistake it as a fancy-schmancy thing. And that simplicity only seems to highlight his need to capture the purity of those elusive memories.
With just in-season wild strawberries, custard and pastry crust at play, there is a sense of comfort in every delicious bite. Because earnestly taking the juicy burst of sweet fruit, voluptuous creaminess of custard and crisp buttery crust to a higher plane is the one ingredient you can’t buy: this chef’s deepest emotions.

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Swung by for Matchaya’s mystery-flavour-of-the-week, the “Double Chokoreto”.
If you are a fan of their Nama Chocolate, you will like this as it has double the intensity of that flavour. Decided to get it with their signature Matcha in a regular-sized twist, and with my favoured add-on, the very soft cubes of kinako-covered warabi mochi.

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It’s interesting that Chef-owner Woo Wai Leong lamented to my dining partner and I that his desserts had never been taken seriously when he was a participant in MasterChef Asia (he won by the way). Goodness knows why. The two we had as part of our 8-course dinner were beautiful and really delicious. I fancied this nearly all-white plate in particular as I felt he pushed the envelope more here by combining the unlikely elements of soya bean ice cream, fluffy sesame oil cake, almond foam, Sarawak pepper meringue and black sesame crumble together.
The dinner menu comes in 4 / 6 / 8 courses priced at $78 / $88 / $118 (before taxes). For those working in the North Canal Road area, it might interest you to know that they will kick off lunch service some time in mid May.

I love it when the pouring of the flaming rum seems to go on forever.
Seriously, all “Rum Babas” should be like the one at FOC Hongkong Street. Its scrumptious sponge has the ideal density to absorb as much of the warm alcohol as possible. And the chantilly ice-cream scooped on as the final touch, goes so nicely with everything.
A truly wonderful way to end a meal here.

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Next to the viviacious appearance of the “Burnt White Chocolate, Rosemary and Orange Tart”, the “Celery Custard with Buckwheat” was positively dowdy. I mean, look at it.
But that impression pivoted 180 degrees with the first mouthful.
It’s like I was seeing the truth for the first time. The last of the seven veils had been dropped and my tastebuds, exposed as they were to something stranger-than-fiction, did a double take at the spectacularly delicious union of celery and custard.
Heaven knows what Chef-owner Keirin Buck did but the love-it-or-hate-it vegetable had been coaxed into revealing a sweetness I don’t ever recall tasting before.
To top it off, there’s that pile of crunchy “brown dirt” of buckwheat. Its dry, toasted coarseness contrasted so shockingly with the juicy celery and creamy custard at first but a second bite confirmed the combination worked. And extremely well too.

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H O S T E D T A S T I N G
This beautiful soufflé appears 100% French but when you really get to know it, reveals a side that is Southeast Asian, for under that light-as-air pouffiness hides caramelised bananas swirled in rich brown “gula melaka”.
I suggest sharing this dessert as it is relatively big. However, if you don’t have a sweet tooth, then you might be better off choosing something else. Like the “Matcha & Red Bean Tiramisu” ($13++ for a big square block) which I found particularly appealing.

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Chef Akane Eno’s “Sakura and Red Bean Milk Pudding” unleashed a storm of joyful exclamations as we spontaneously fell for its sublime-beyond-measure bliss.
I don’t think words can do this fragrant and delicately sweet dessert justice. But suffice to say, its consistency was the bullseye of bullseyes between solid and liquid.
The presentation of the milk pudding was a piece of art in itself with a sprig of preserved-via-salt cherry blossom, airy-light and crisp monaka, azuki bean paste, fresh Japanese grapefruit and strawberries of both the white and red variety.

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Save your stomach for the other items on the menu because the two desserts shared amongst my friends and I, tasted very, very average. And they’re really expensive too mind you.
We derived hardly any pleasure from the “Hazelnut Chocolate Pleasure Cake” as it was sweet and didn’t have a rich enough chocolate flavour. It came with a scoop of Burnt Butter Ice-cream but that didn’t strike us as being particularly fragrant or rich either.
The “Profiteroles” looked very promising, but this dessert was let down by choux puffs that were completely crispy. Last I heard this kind of pastry is supposed to be a little chewy. The chocolate sauce was also too sweet and lacked intensity in chocolate-ness.
Priced at $20++ for each of these, we had expected to be pretty impressed, if not pleased at least. That didn’t happen.

When asked what he would recommend for dessert, Chef David paused for a heartbeat before saying, “Olive Oil Cake”. So that’s what we went with and it was better than I imagined.
Surprisingly light (I kept thinking it would give our local Sugee Cake a run for its money in oily richness but nope), this had tiny bits of pine nuts and a citrus peel within to give subtle texture and a fruity note.
I liked that riding pillion was a big splodge of mascarpone with a puddle of extra virgin olive oil in the middle of it. These trimmings made the cake taste even more scrumptious.
Between this and the Vanilla-Lemon Curd-filled Bomboloni, you can say our dinner ended with a delicious bang.

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What was once my go-to drink in a bar is translated into something otherworldly beautiful and sublimely refreshing by Wild Rocket’s Owner-chef Willin Low.
His “Lychee Martini” takes on the form of a juicy ball of lychee sorbet draped in a slinky elderflower jelly. Instead of a straightforward sweet fruit flavour, the sorbet surprises with the interference from ginger flower, butterfly pea flower and elderflower. Brilliantly done in my opinion and quite clearly from her rapturous reaction, my friend Abbey must feel the same.

These scrumptious sugar-sprinkled Bomboloni (Italian-style filled doughnuts) practically burst with a perfectly balanced vanilla-lemon curd. No wonder Hui Nan asked for them to be reserved before we arrived for dinner. I can imagine how quickly they’d have rolled out the door otherwise.

Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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