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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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H O S T E D
All the desserts at the spanking new @restaurant.table65 seem to have a certain wow factor.
Led by Pastry Chef Jurgis (Instagram: @herbs.n.spices) who has worked with owner-chef Richard (@rvanoostenbrugge) for years in Amsterdam, the team dazzled us during the media tasting with not one but three desserts. One of them is this “Chocolate Balloon” which opens up neatly like a flower blooming, once the hot chocolate is poured over it.
Lest you think it is purely eye candy (pun intended), let me assure you the beauty here is more than skin deep. The dark chocolate which forms the balloon, is elegance on the palate, and happens to pair exceedingly well with the savoury elements of miso and ice-cream hidden inside.

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M E D I A T A S T I N G
Without a doubt, the “Drum Of Fortune” is a
serious showstopper. Tipping the scales at 1.3kg, this elaborate fondant-covered chocolate marble cake by Pastry Chef Joe Tan of Goodwood Park Hotel is crowned with eight “mandarin oranges” and a pile of mini gold ingots that are made entirely from dark chocolate.
Whether presented as a corporate gift or as a dessert for a gathering at home, this magnificent dessert is bound to wow.

Part 3 of 3.
In the Swedish tradition of “Fika” where the hustle and bustle of daily routine is paused for the enjoyment of warm cake and coffee, we too had our “Fika” moment on the top floor of Zén, where we were ushered to after finishing our meal on level two.
Once my friend Tim and I were settled into a sofa in the chic, stylish space—honestly, this floor looked like something straight out of the pages of Wallpaper magazine—Beverage Manager Aaron pushed over an overachiever of a tea trolley to serve Tim the final drink in his non-alcoholic pairing. Head Chef Tristin then appeared, bearing a piping hot Pineapple Tarte Tartine. Its dizzyingly fragrant aroma had me thinking instantly of our local pineapple tarts. Taste-wise, despite a crispy and flaky base, I felt it wasn’t far from them either. Zén’s version did come lavished with a black miso glaze which gave it a sexy look and a savoury edge.
What took us by complete surprise though was how after we had eaten only half of it, a brand new Pineapple Tarte Tartine was brought out as a replacement. But even in my gobsmacked state, I was only too eager to dig in for seconds. Because when it’s eaten fresh from the oven, the scrumptiousness was at its peak.

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There is an expectation to order wine by the bottle when you’re here and of course one should seeing how extensive, well-curated and high quality their selection is. But as the name “Ma Cuisine” suggests, it is the food that captures my attention more and is the main reason I like this one Michelin-starred gastro wine bar.
Head Chef and Co-owner Mathieu Escoffier does classic hearty French dishes that are hard to beat. This extends to the desserts which he bakes fresh every morning. They are dependent on his mood and therefore, change daily.
When we dropped in last week, it was his Paris-Brest that was on the menu. At $34++, it‘s expensive and no, it isn’t the size of a dinner plate unfortunately. But it was scrumptious beyond a doubt. I loved the contrast of the light, delicately crunchy #choux puffs and the voluptuously rich praline cream.
Chef Mathieu also told me the story behind the wheel-shaped design. It is the work of pâtissier Louis Durand who was asked in 1910 to create a pastry to commemorate the Paris–Brest–Paris bicycle race. Little wonder this delectable energy-booster became a hit with the cyclists looking for a sugar rush. I’d have done the same too. #bestenergybarever 😋😋

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M E D I A T A S T I N G
If you are the kind of person who makes a beeline for the dessert section at a buffet, JW Marriott South Beach has a new weekday “Afternoon Tea” at Beach Road Kitchen that will fit you to T(ea).
Most likely it will be the two-part “Desserts Buffet” table with its eye-catching display that will grab your attention the moment you walk in. Take your pick from the pretty spread of pastries, fruit tarts, macarons, chocolate truffles, fresh fruit and more. Don’t miss out on their Signature Tiramisu that comes in a cup (it truly feels like a cloud in the mouth), the Apple Spelt Cake as well as the Mango Panna Cotta.
If you prefer to start your afternoon with savoury items, have a seat because these will be served to you at the table.
Everyone gets one serving each of the creative canapé-style creations: a Parmesan cheese cookie with truffle cream, a ginger orange muffin with smoked salmon, goat cheese herb cupcake and a toasted sourdough with prosciutto and ricotta cheese.
I’m pleased to say they also serve my all-time favourite tea-time delicacy: scones. In two variants as well of plain and raisins. Most importantly, you get butter, proper clotted cream, strawberry jam and marmalade to spread on them.
Granted this isn’t the hugest or fanciest of buffets (please don’t visit expecting “live stations”) but at the price, it is a very civilised affair with a decent variety of lovely bites in a comfortable setting. Coffee and tea is freeflow too.

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Baked fresh in-house, this Cheese Tart turned out to be a revelation in scrumptiousness.
Both my friend Abbey and I had been actually close to bursting after having eaten our weight in tapas but there was no way we could refuse dessert. I’m so glad we picked this (and the Churros because why stop at one) as it was just perfect.
The crust was thin, crisp and buttery. The filling - an exceedingly light and creamy-soft cheese plus the lively lift of a citrus note from the sorbet.
The only thing is this isn’t available everyday. So if they happen to have it when you’re there, make sure you get a slice.

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For dessert, I tried this and found it pleasing.
The green tea lava cake itself wasn’t overly sweet and when eaten with the slightly savoury ice-cream, tasted even more interesting. Do be careful when you take the first bite of the cake because the matcha lava within can be very hot.
“Halcyon & Crane” is located in the newer wing of Paragon. With an open concept layout and a pavilion-like structure, spotting the cafe is easy as it is done up in light golden and cream tones. The most direct way is to use the entrance by the Miu Miu boutique and head straight up to level 3.

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On a sweltering day like today, something cold would be perfect. And right at this moment, I would love to dig into one of Apiary’s freshly-made waffle topped with their housemade ice-cream.
My visit to this popular spot had been long overdue but thanks to my god-daughter and her cousins in tow. Only then did I understand why Apiary is always packed.
With exciting flavours that can’t help but trigger many sampling requests (think “Blue Milk”, “Despicable” and “Ferrero Rocher” to name a few) and an exceedingly creamy, smooth texture, the ice-cream here is a definite winner. I was especially pleased by how luxuriously indulgent it felt in my mouth. When the icy-cold richness was combined with the piping hot and crunchy, airy-light waffles (they make them with brown sugar), I thought the result was even better.
The friendly owner Travis Goh was kind enough to show me around his kitchen where his pastry chef was busy with a fresh-out-of-the-machine batch of pistachio ice-cream. I got a taste of it and was blown away by its insane intensity. It made me instantly wish I had ordered that instead (of course you know what I’ll be getting on my next visit).
Coincidentally, pistachio turns out to be Travis’ personal favourite and it is the one he zeroes in on wherever he has ice-cream. According to him, it is the flavour that also serves as a barometer of product quality at any ice-cream joint. Because in order to produce a really tasty pistachio ice-cream, there’s heavier investment required.

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H O S T E D
Head Chef Eugene See drew his inspiration for the heavenly “Ice2 Baby” from his trips to Chengdu where he saw many locals enjoying shaved ice with jelly to cool themselves down. Of course, his rendition is infinitely more splendid with an “ice jelly” (this 冰粉 is made from the “ice powder tree”) served with different kinds of seasonal fruit, crushed peanuts, burnt slices of compressed and dill-marinated cucumber and a granita made from Chinese “Lao Zao” wine. It is lightly sweetened with a complex caramel of brown and red sugar with gula melaka.
I highly recommend getting this dessert, especially if you are planning to order the “Sweating Mussels”, one of their popular dishes. There is no better way to cool down after indulging in that pain-is-pleasure, tongue-numbing, lips-tingling experience.

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Of course it would be Bjorn Shen, the irrepressible chef-owner of “Artichoke” to think of coming up with his own take on a certain fast food brand’s seasonal specials. Even though it may be an ongoing insider joke with his team, it doesn’t mean any less attention is given to making these creations taste scrumptious. This Chocolate Salty Pie is proof of that.
My hubby TH was right on the money when he likened it to our local hawker snack - the “hum cheem peng”. This large piece of deepfried pastry really did taste similar. But with the blanket of chocolate powder and filling of dark chocolate cream, it was transformed into pure decadence, the stuff of a chocoholic’s dirty fantasy.
Good by itself, but better with the housemade Burnt Honey soft serve ($6++).

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I N V I T E D
In celebration of Singapore’s 53rd birthday, Cold Stone Creamery has launched two new flavours that will be available from now until 31st August 2018.
Shown above is the “Nasi Lemak” which, as crazy as it sounds, tastes very shiok!
It starts off with a coconut-flavoured ice cream base that has spicy chilli sambal with ikan bilis and peanuts hand-mixed in. This is shaped into a ball that goes into a pandan-flavoured waffle bowl. Crispy ikan bilis, rice puffs and two pieces of cucumber are then added. I love the resulting beautifully lemak (rich) ice-cream dessert with its appetising blend of sweet and savoury.
What I initially thought would be off-putting, that is the ikan bilis with ice-cream, turned out to be addictive. I was poking around in the bowl to make sure I didn’t miss any.
Cold Stone Creamery definitely succeeded in translating everything that makes a good Nasi Lemak into dessert form. I think they ought to keep it on the menu because it’s something to be proud of 😄

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I N V I T E D
The “Pulut Hitam” is the more straightforward of the two locally-inspired creations by Cold Stone Creamery to celebrate Singapore’s 53rd birthday (you can read about the other, the “Nasi Lemak”, in an earlier post).
Already popular as a dessert, the version of “pulut hitam” here is wonderfully indulgent as the rich and creamy “pulut hitam” flavoured ice-cream is joined by a generous helping of black glutinous rice. Carefully folded in, the soft and chewy grains add a very pleasant chewiness to every spoonful. Another plus point about this is the well-controlled level of sweetness.

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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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