A Slice of the Trend Pie

A Slice of the Trend Pie

Let's face it - nothing beats the excitement we foodies get after learning about a new, much raved-about eating spot. However, many often find themselves questioning if it's any good, or if it's worth the money. This list hopes to provide you with some objective sense regarding these trendy new places.
Zul Latiff
Zul Latiff

If high-quality milk means a milky flavour so pronounced that it overwhelms and masks the matcha flavour, I don’t want it. 😭 This was exactly the case with this Iced Matcha Latte - there was no significant difference in quality as compared to other matcha lattes I’ve had in the past.

Which made me question - what was I paying close to $10 a cup for? There was really no marked smoothness in the texture of the milk or in the whisked matcha mixture. Plus, there was not even a modicum of an element of complexity in the flavour. And with little to no sweetener, this was truthfully and regrettably - an unpleasant and unreasonably-priced drink.

It was merely its minimalist visuals and branding that give it the ‘pull’ appeal. Otherwise, subsequent visits are out of the question. 😐

Not sure if I’d say I regret getting this, but I do have my opinions on this one:

- It started out with a nice pandan-doused flavour, which to me evoked nostalgia, and a sense of comfort
- It also wasn’t too sweet, which came as a pleasant surprise to me
- However, it got jelak real quick because the topping added a density to every sip, which didn’t alleviate the fact that I was already having something that was protein-laden
- The topping really had my throat itching halfway through. Bring a bottle of water with you before having this…you’ve been warned 🤪

I guess I’ll have to give this one a miss the next time! I tried their Peanut Butter shake when I was in London last year, and that was a moment. (6.3/10)

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I’ve condensed my thoughts into bullet points here:

- The burger is definitely smaller than the ones I had in London last year, but the difference is that this one’s more compacted
- The American cheese lent it an incredible amount of melty-ness. OOOOOF I’m still shaken by how fitting and good it was
- Mustard really amplifies this burger with its green, piquant flavour
- It is fast food ultimately, so do yourself a favour and not expect it to taste like a gourmet burger
- Your last bite at Shake Shack should be of this, and not anything else

I really enjoyed this one, no question about it. (8.5/10)

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[Weekends Special!] The bubble tea craze was one thing I didn’t see coming - it’s come to a point where bake shops are stuffing bubble tea pearls into croissants! 😧

But it’s not too shabby really. Brother Bird’s mochi croissants have an excellent texture to them - the density and the semi-elasticity that each croissant possesses make it super satisfying to bite into. The boba truthfully didn’t serve to amplify it that much, but it is a fun and unique, albeit peculiar, way to get your fix of bubble tea and croissants all in one. 😛 (7.4/10)

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Thought I should post this as the details of my experience are still fresh in my head. Plus, I’m quite pumped because I really went all out to
make sure I got my hands on the Impossible™ Patty Melt...even if that meant I had to make my way back to the city from the west side, in time for their dinner service, AFTER failing to get it during lunchtime. 😶

In all honesty, I don’t think all the components in this sandwich meshed excellently. I admit, I was expecting the beefy-umami taste to grace my tastebuds as the cheese, sliced cucumber and sauce all dovetail and create a fiesta. 😋😍 Well, none of that happened.

Instead, what I got was a lot less complex than expected - the plant-based patty had the flavour identical to that of a sausage patty, even though it possessed the succulence of a regular beef patty. I’ve tasted something similar in a particular brand of meatless burger patty…and it’s something you can find at the supermarket. 🤧 But if there’s any striking difference, it’s that it’s a lot drier in comparison to the Impossible™ patty. In summary, I hate to say it, but its lack of newness costed it its sterling first impression. 🙁 Still though, from a more objective standpoint, it was pretty delicious and satiating!

Be informed that this comes at a whopping $2x2, which may be ridiculously expensive for a darn sandwich, but you know…for the sake of trying it once, I suppose I could close one eye. 😴 (7.2/10)

<<<<>>>>>>
The Burpple Beyond deals are NOT applicable to the Impossible™ Patty Melt, so prepare to pay full price if you intend to try it. 🤪

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[Available Till: 3 Feb] This is one of those things that race to my feed as soon as they become available. Self-professed matchaholics are fans of this one; Tsujirihei Honten hail all the way from Japan and have an extensive history that dates all the way back to 1860. But hmm…it is with regret that I can’t say that I was coloured impressed by this. 😬

Let’s start with the price-point. The selling price of this parfait is arguably unconscionable – a whopping $16. For that price, here’s what you can expect to get in your cup:

* Crushed Warabi Mochi
* Castella Cake pieces
* 3 to 4 swirls of the soft serve of your preferred flavour
* Crunchy Chocolate piece
* A dollop of sweet potato
* Matcha Sauce

There’s no denying though that the matcha used in this one is the real deal. It’s not the first time that I’m saying this, but downing this had my heart pounding and my anxiety levels going through the roof for a good 6 hours. 🤪 Flavour-wise, the Uji Matcha was bursting with umami, and the Uji Houjicha was rich in coffee flavour and you can expect to linger on your palate for several hours. The other elements supplemented the kiss of sweetness that you’ll need to combat the exceedingly potent flavours.

However, the reason why I wasn’t blown away by this was because of how overbearing the flavours were – they drowned out the flavour of the other elements of the parfait, which thus rendered them well…pointless? 😩 My advice - you’re likely better off getting the softserve on its own, really. (7.4/10)

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The ultra jiggly, pillowy Japanese soufflé pancakes have found their way to Poofy, located inside habitat by Honestbee, an experiential lifestyle store. This place incorporates the some of the most sophisticated technology (contactless, smartphone-based payment) into every step, from grocery shopping to dining. Those who are tech-savvy may agree that this place is ahead of the curve as compared to its competitors.

Back to the real stuff, here’s the Matcha by Riz Labo ($17) with Hokkaido Milk Softserve (+$3) which I got when I was going around the store. The prices are quite insane here - for one, I paid $20 for this.

The dish has its merits for sure – the pancakes were delicate and pillowy in texture and had a modest amount of sweetness to it, as with most Japanese desserts. The chantily cream as well, which had a marked weightlessness to it and a fresh flavour that was quite beautifully restrained. The matcha powder cuts through that deftly with a soupçon of astringency, so you can expect a pretty balanced taste. ⚖️ Presentation wise, they did make the product look appealing - the more I look at it, the more it reminds me of the pancake version of coin pratas. Is that a strange association to make though? I’ll let you be the judge. 🧐

This dish also has its shortcomings and masks it pretty well, thanks to the glitz and the hype around the store and the brewing craze over jiggly pancakes (and also bubble teas??) on social media. It became more obvious in hindsight. The softserve was a combination of icy and chunky, which I felt was a far cry from what a Hokkaido Milk soft serve should be. It also exhibited a surge of sweetness, which made it stick out like a sore thumb com pared to everything else on the plate. The azuki was a little hard and dry. It would have been better if it had a little more moisture to it like a paste or something. 👀

Overall, I wouldn’t say this was too shabby. It showcases its pros strongly, and its cons just as evidently, but when you add the two together, I guess it was something that I still personally enjoyed. 🙌🏽 (7.1/10)

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This dish is perhaps the stuff of an egg lover’s dreams – a thick, succulent tamago-style egg patty sits in between two pieces of white bread toasts. It is lathered with kombu (Japanese kelp) mayo and pear sauce, before the sandwich is finally cut up into two halves. 🍳

Personally though, while I did find it to be a decent and pretty enjoyable fare, I didn’t exactly uncover any electrifying or sapid flavours. The tamago also leans away from the sweeter notes and more towards the savoury side. And that’s probably because its established, characteristic sweetness is supposed to come from this dish’s condiments instead. But given the tamago’s great deal of thickness, I firmly believe more kombu mayo and pear sauce would have galvanised this. 🧐

Grids & Circles’ highlight comes in its aesthetics though. They have taken pride in their interior design, boasting a very clean, bright, Scandinavian-influenced space with hints of Japanese design principles. The amount of detail and thought that have gone into doing up the place is insane though - at one point, I whipped out my phone in their restroom to take a side view of the interior and the things in there aligned perfectly to the grids in the camera mode. Talk about by design! 🤯 Go for a seat upstairs if you can. Trust me - it’s a haven up there. Overall, very impressive stuff, and they hence score all the points they can get with their environment. 👏🏼

And they even have some of their own merchandise they sell in-store, which I thought was a nice touch.

Notwithstanding its pretty steep prices, I will say that this is one cool place to check out. (7.3/10)

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The Instagram-famous Australian softserve place that has been on my bucket list since forever is finally here! And of course, I had to go for their signature flavour, the Sea Salt. 🍦🌊

The swirling’s immaculate and the texture’s really soft and creamy, which laps up a detectable amount of saltiness that will transfer to your tastebuds. One thing noteworthy - the salty flavour remains consistent from the first lick to the last, which is a highly underrated quality that deserves more mention! 📝

Seeing polarised reviews of this, I genuinely had little expectations that it’d turn out this good. Plus, any great food brand that Singapore imports to its shores almost always ends up delivering quality that is a shadow of the original. We all know how it be like hahaha. 🙄😬

But that’s just me being salty I guess. And boy, was I proved wrong by another salty thing! 😂 (7.6/10)

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I’m not sure what part of this was supposed to taste like cheesecake, because I didn’t detect any of that in this. It’s basically a vanilla frappucino, with a disinclined tinge of tartness, complete with a shot of sweetened green tea syrup. The drink’s pointless familiarity left me confused as a result, even though it wasn’t something that I…really minded?

To dynamise it though, I shoved my straw all the way to the bottom of the cup and sipped on it while I gradually moved it towards the top. It’s a convenient way to get my gush of sweetness, which, by the way, did put me off a little at first. But not long after, I decided to give in to my sugar cravings which had been tame for quite some time. Ah well. I’d like to think of doing that as getting a little bit of everything, though I’m not quite sure if I am able to define everything? 😂

It really wasn’t bad, to be honest. I think it just felt like almost every other Starbucks drink – very ordinary, unable to fully satisfy, and lacking of an import. (7.1/10)

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The Milkshake with Crododo Set here gets all the score it can get in terms of aesthetics, but frankly, it is far from cutting it in terms of taste. Their ‘crododo’ is their take on a croissant-donut hybrid. It was unnervingly dry and flaky in texture, and my feeling of aversion was further exacerbated by how overwhelmingly sweet the white glaze was – its taste oddly enough reminded me of a baby milk formula powder’s. Add on the fact that I chose Milo cereal puffs, M&M candies and chocolate syrup as my toppings…my God, that’s a gobsmack of sweetness. 😵

Their milkshake was similarly overbearing in that regard – to the point that the fructose in the banana and strawberries got defenestrated by the arsenal of sucrose as the latter outnumbered the former. 😖

I refuse to completely dismiss it though. Credit where it’s due – the taste does have a very winsome edge to it. I can see it vibing and resonating with the younger crowd. I mean I’ve been told once that the youth generally tend to be drawn to more distinct and pronounced flavours in their desserts, even if that means brazen sweetness. But you know what, this was just…not for me.

If anything deserves lauding, it’s their immense effort at creating a wonderland-esque atmosphere. Plenty of charming, baby pink-awash, decors embellish their two-storey premise, and they also have a play corner for parents to keep their kids amused while they enjoy the food and beverages. The more I think about it, the more I realise how closely the place resembles a dollhouse - well, except the people in them operate on free will. 😂 (6.1/10)

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These have been making rounds on the Internet (at least in the local parts). I didn’t go out of my way to search for these. I just happened to find it in a nondescript-looking box at Bedok Mall’s FairPrice Finest (near the self-checkout section) with a sign advertising its price of $2.90.

Let’s cut straight to the chase – it tastes just like Pokka’s bottled rendition of Milk Tea, with a more pronounced citrus undertone that you’ll detect when the drink first hits your palate. The only difference is that it doesn’t have an ounce of unctuousness to it, that is traditionally present in dairy products. Personally, I like it! It makes it a whole lot more refreshing. A friend of mine who tried this, however, would’ve preferred if it had that milky, slippery texture to it - to each his or her own, I guess! 😗 (7.2/10)

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All things good; all things food 🥳

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