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reviews by guy who doesn’t know much about food

reviews by guy who doesn’t know much about food

Featuring Lobsters & Ice Cream v2.0, Benjamin Barker Cafe, The Dark Gallery (Millenia Walk)
Wesley Kam
Wesley Kam

Met a new friend today and decided this was the cafe to make an impression, also because I had hoped the 1-for-1 deal would cushion the impression it made on my wallet. However, having taken our seat, I noticed a robust $12 lunch set that would’ve been cheaper than the 1-for-1 offer, and was left with mixed feelings. On one hand, I was pleasantly surprised at the affordable lunch set, and on the other, I was offended that it was more affordable than this 1-for-1 offer I had paid good money for. Deciding to be the bigger man, I abused the 1-for-1 offer and ordered the two most expensive pastas on the menu— that’ll teach them to undermine my cheapskate tactics.

Just as the Benjamin Barker brand feebly attempts to mask over its painfully Singaporean origins, the ‘Pomodoro’ in Spicy Pomodoro Crab Pasta attempts to mask over what is really a simple tomato-based pasta. With the crabmeat sliced so thin I could see through them, I was reminded of Caitlyn Jenner, who Kylie Jenner would call trans-parent. However, my simple tastebuds were hugely satisfied with the overall spicy flavour and the firm texture of the pasta— definitely better than PastaMania!

What does Truffle Carbonara have in common with Italian Soft-Serve? Both are gelat-o. Saw the law of diminishing marginal returns come to live with every bite my friend took, and by the end, Truffle Carbonara was well and truly a Struggle Carbonara. As I unashamedly asked to try the Carbonara, I decided on the socially acceptable number of two strands of pasta— one being too small a sample size, yet keeping it under three to be conservative. Yet, these two strands still managed to overwhelm the senses.

Over all, it was a nice lunch experience, and I especially appreciated the initiative of the waitresses to serve us water even toward the end of the meal when most would use drought tactics to evict us from our seats. We felt especially welcome and taken care of with these small gestures!

The Dark Gallery was a fine dessert stop for my friends and me on a Monday night. We began like any other Singaporean would, trying free samples of ice cream flavours before finally settling on what we already knew we wanted from the beginning.

First up was Truffle Chocolate. Two ingredients that could hold their own thrown into the mix, they were gonna be the power couple of the dessert world. We learnt that evening that it requires the superior olfactory senses of pigs to snuff out truffles in the wild. Not here, no. One free sampling stick was all it took for our snouts to be knocked out by the truffle. We Jolie well should’ve known this “power couple” would never work out, what a Pitt-y.

Second was the 88% Dark Chocolate, the highest percentage of the lot. Seeing that 88 was an auspicious number, I had to eighty-ate some of that! Almost immediately, however, the rich dark chocolate and oaky flavour corrected my grammar— “eighty-EAT”, cos that stuff was in-tense. This flavour was really authentic though, taking me back to its origins, almost literally because the oak made sure I didn’t just taste cocoa but the cocoa tree as well. We could only afford two scoops and this didn’t convince us.

The two scoops we finally settled on were reminiscent of Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra, the first time white settled on brown and it went well since the East India Company. Pure Vanilla was like that one girl who swears she isn’t like all the other girls... and turns out to be right. The Signature 80% Dark Chocolate, however, was the most impressive of them all. The Dark Gallery, in producing this masterpiece, probably had to first defecate in an elevator— cos they took that shit to a whole new level. Jokes aside, and pardoning my imagery, not many ice creams come close to that last scoop of ice cream! Just like our shameless British colonial masters after the war, I’ll be back!

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Me meeting my Dad for dinner on a Friday night aptly paralleled how Lobster met Crab in a Laksa broth— basically the same thing so you aren’t surprised they go well together.

We were here on a 1-for-1 deal and had 2 pastas that came with fries (one of which had parmesan truffle toppings) and a serving of seafood soup, as well as kaya and whiskey ice cream respectively. However, while the $53 we paid was a modest sum, it comes close to the number of minutes we waited for the food to be served. While this usually isn’t a problem understanding it is a Friday night, the kitchen took a gamble and prepared their batches of fries a few customers in advance. The dice were rolled, our fries were cold.

However, that didn’t stop me from enjoying the half Lobster, half Crab pasta. The rich Laksa broth really put the Asian in Crustacean, while the bits of crab and lobster in the pasta tasted like an anxious introvert— fresh out of its shell. The seafood soup though fragrant, did have hints of “food court” as the onions reminded me of chicken rice’s embarrassing friend— chicken rice soup. But dad loved it, and he’s the foodie.

Finally, to top off the spread we had for dinner, what better way than to end with dessert that, well, was also a spread— Kaya Ice Cream. This Nyonya treat tasted so good that it sent me into 小娘惹 territory, which I only thought of because it was almost 9pm by the time dessert had arrived. But I shan’t go in too hard on the kitchen given it was an admirable effort for 2 people in a kitchen the size of my toilet. Also, just like me in the toilet, these people really worked their butts off to put food in the bowl.

Jokes aside, it was a great meal, and it would be shellfish of me not to recommend this to my friends!

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have you tried eating silently? it’s an a quiet taste

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