Friday, November 21, 2008

Dessert Degustation at Obolo

This is a food event organized by LadyIronChef where it is held at Obolo Patisserie for a dessert tasting session. For a 12 pieces dessert platter it consists of 3 petite cheesecakes, 4 petite entremets, 2 petite tartlets, a dessert shooter, 2 macarons and a drink at just $24.60 per person.

Although the place is small, it did manage to fit in 16 people and every table was set up nicely with their dessert degustation menu, Christmas menu and a bag of their best-seller cookies, Cranberry-Chocolate Chip. I have to admit I am pretty excited as the desserts at Obolo is not very cheap and to finish all their selections will burn a fair bit of our pocket and load tonnes of calories into our body. Thus, I would like to thank Brad aka LIC to organize such a wonderful event where laughters and joy were shared among a nice company of Brad, Yan, Evan and Vicki at our table.

I am impressed by LIC for organizing a dessert outing as it is never easy to get a good deal, a good attendance and the most difficult task, an array of desserts that impressed the majority. He done it well and tonight's gathering is definitely a success. Without further ado I shall share my opinions of tonight selection.

Starting from the top left, is the

Chocolate Noir
Tartlet filled with dark chocolate ganache

Tiramisu Au Chocolat
Mascarpone creme, dark chocolate ganache & chocolate genoise infused with coffee, cognac and dark rum

Pinada Cheesecake
Pineapple ivoire cheesecake with rum-soaked raisins

Caraibe
67% caramel-chocolate mousse, dark chocolate ganache, pecan chocolate fudge cake base

New York Cheesecake
Smooth & creamy baked cheesecake with a hint of lemon

Nikita
Dark chocolate ganache mousse, cherry-raspberry gelee, Pistachio ivoire mousse & chocolate-almond biscuit with kirsch

Mango-passion cheesecake
Baked cheesecake infused with mango & passionfruit

Le Cassis
Dark chocolate ganache mousse, blackcurrant ivoire mousse, chocolate-almond biscuit & crunchy praline feulletine

Chocolat-passion
Tartlet filled with milk chocolate & passion fruit ganache

The dessert shooter served for the evening is summer berries which consists of tangy mascarpone mousse, red berry gelee, kirsch-mixed berry compote & kirsch-soaked vanilla genoise, garnished with fresh berries and the macarons for tonight were the hazelnut-chocolate and matcha.
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Fen's comments
------------------------- Some thoughts after my dessert spree -------------------------

After eating so many desserts within 4 months, I have to admit I am extremely picky with desserts for 2 reasons. First, to shed these calories, I have to motivate myself to gym and this is never easy as I have been a couch potato for 7 years and second, this hobby is expensive.

When tasting more than 2 desserts, there are several factors which will make it good or bad. First, the selection of desserts cannot be too extreme. Second, it is important to start off with a mild flavour, then followed by a strong one. I know that $23+ is not a lot to justify such standards BUT I strongly believe in any dessert presented on a table, it has come a long way whereby the baker has to decide the ingredients used, its presentation and the time to prepare it. In any case, Obolo did impress me by its use of vibrant colours in the desserts but fails to leave a deep impression despite eating 12 of them.

To me, it is important that the first bite must impress, why is it so?
How often do you eat the same dessert everyday or rather have it more than 1 slice? I doubt it. Thus, the moment the first bite impresses you, it has won half the battle as your brain will automatically register it as a good dessert and trust me, it is good enough to tempt you to go for a second purchase and recommend it to others.

------------------------- Some thoughts after my dessert spree -------------------------


------------------------- Detailed breakdown of individual dessert -------------------------

The best among the entire lot is the Chocolate Noir for its crunchy tartlet and smooth, bittersweet chocolate ganache. Simple as that.

The other favourite of mine is the Nikita. I think Sihan is going to like this one. She can take sour stuff and love pistachio. The unique factor of this creation is the pistachio ivoire mousse but would be better without the cherry-raspberry jelly. Pistachio has a very unique mild taste which is neither sweet nor bitter, hence to match it with something bitter like dark chocolate ganache mousse and the sour cherry-raspberry jelly can be misleading to taste buds. When too many extreme tastes constitute in 1 bite, we don't know what to expect. So, I actually ate this by enjoying the pistachio ivoire mousse on its own, skipped the cherry-raspberry jelly and savoured the finishing bite of dark chocolate ganache mousse and chocolate-almond biscuit with kirsch. I thought pistachio might go better with vanilla mousse.

All the cheesecakes for this evening disappoints. I thought the richness and creaminess of the cheese was not strong enough to my liking and it tasted different from my first encounter last Sept (2007). So far, Hotel Hilton's cheesecake leave the deepest impression and has broken my record to eat 10 types of cheesecakes in a go. Pinada Cheesecake and Mango-passion cheesecake were unique in their own way but I thought it was alittle sour and extreme in its combination while New York Cheesecake lacks the baked crust which Checkers Deli has.

Although I am a fan of chocolate mousse, Nikita, Le Cassis and Caraibe were similar in terms of the dark chocolate mousse. Hence, it gets cloying after eating all of them. The problem with Le Cassis is the extreme sourness of the blackcurrant mousse, thereby it fails to bring out the texture and taste of the chocolate mousse. On the other hand, Caraibe was good but might be better to replace the pecan chocolate fudge cake base with hazelnut praline, flourless chocolate cake or peanut butter. A good chocolate mousse can be gotten easily if one is willing to pay >$6 per slice but whether the cake stands out depends on its "companion" to bring out a different level of texture and impression. Ultimately, a capable gentleman is never complete with a beautiful lady, right? So, the "best chocoholic couple" in Obolo is still Noisette.

Chocolat-passion was too yucky. Just too sour and I am pretty sure that people may get a false impression that either the chocolate is not fresh or the acidity of the chocolate is way too high.

Tiramisu Au Chocolat was definitely better than the one I had the last time round but being such a common and popular dessert, a good tiramisu (in my personal point of view) should have either of the following, strong liquor, well-soaked sponge with espresso and light, fluffy mascarpone
but sad to say, it lacks all 3.

Thus, it is good but not the best. The good tiramisu which I have encounter are HOTEL INTERCONTINENTAL, Prego (take-away) and tcc.

Summer berries is not bad, but by the time it was served after the 9 petite desserts, it has lost its appeal. Would have been better to serve as the first since it is light and refreshing and diners won't be so confused on which dessert to start with.

Macarons for this evening was a complete disappointment. We had pretty good impression of Obolo's macarons on my second visit but somehow or rather, the Matcha tasted artificial, no where near GOBI's. The shells lack the crispy outer layer and the filling was frozen, thereby lacking the smoothness.

------------------------- Detailed breakdown of individual dessert -------------------------

------------------------- Overall impression of the dessert degustation -------------------------

The fact that I remembered clearly the taste of all the desserts sampled means that the ingredients used in each desserts are good. However, since I didn't finish the desserts, it might be due to the wrong order of serving the desserts and its extreme combination of the various layers in each dessert.
As mentioned, I thought it might be better if it is served in this (suggested) order
  1. Summer berries for its refreshing and light taste to turn on insulin secretion
  2. Vanille and Noisette macarons to remove the sour after-taste of summer berries, thereby stimulates saliva production
  3. Nikita to allow full enjoyment of pistachio mousse and a prelude to Obolo's fantastic chocolate mousse (Chocolates make everybody happy)
  4. Noisette, the best Obolo's signature and Caraibe, an alternative to Noisette for chocoholics
  5. Le Cassis, for comparison of 2 extremes (sour vs. bittersweet)
  6. New York Cheesecake, something neutral to reduce the sourness
  7. 2 other cheesecakes
  8. Petite Tartlets
As least when served bit by bit, diners will finish the desserts and unfinished ones can be take-away instead of having lots of left-overs and a mess at the end of the dessert degustation.

------------------------- Overall impression of the dessert degustation -------------------------

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Yuan's comments

Overall I was impressed by the effort put in by Mac and June at Obolo. The platter looks lovely and for $24.60 we get to sample almost all the cakes at Obolo. However I must say apart from the presentation I left the place a little disappointed. For me personally I prefer sweet desserts but alas, almost all the desserts on this platter were sour.


The first dessert which I picked up was the Chocolat-passion - this lovely looking chocolate tart with some gold dust sprinkled on top. I was expecting rich chocolate with passion fruit smell as the backdrop but to my horror, it was sour at its extreme. It took me a courageous second bite to finish it. Not satisfied, I chose the other chocolate tart on the platter - Chocolate Noir. This one didn't disappoint. Rich chocolate on excellent pastry. Often as the chocolate content increases the texture is compromised but not in this case. Smooth and just the right amount of sweetness.


After the 2 tarts, I decided to try the more outstanding looking desserts which were the Nikita (green) and the Le Cassis (purple). As readers would probably know from my previous posts, I didn't really like mixture of extreme flavours. These 2 were a mixture of sweet and sourness but more to sourness. Overall I find the sour blackcurrant of the Le Cassis make its seem as though as I was eating sour chocolate.


Well 3/4 sour desserts so far. Ok, I thought the cheesecakes maybe a more neutral flavour. But yet again I was proven wrong. The mango passion cheesecake and the Pinada Cheesecake were both equally sour. However I must point out that the New York cheesecake was not bad. It is those cheesecake with a moist texture but the cheese scent did not stand out enough.


The last 2 desserts on the platter were the tiramisu and the Caraibe. By now my taste buds were already playing tricks with me as I have eaten 5/7 sour desserts. I was pretty neutral towards the tiramisu but I was a little disapointed with the caraibe. I guess hazelnut or peanut may be a better choice than pecan. Pecan lacks the crunchy effect and gives you an impression that the nut you used has turn bad.


After the platter came the summer berries. I guess by now everyone on my table were a little skeptical as to whether this will be another sour entry. It turn out that it isn't that bad. Maybe I was already getting use to the sourness. I found that it tasted like the berry light from breadtalk silver. Mascarpone cheese with slight vanilla taste and sourness of the berries. It is a nice and light dessert suitable for most dinners.


Lastly were the 2 macarons. As I mentioned earlier, macarons at Obolo were the fattest which I have ever eaten. But tonight's macarons were kind of disappointing. I realised that the filling was hard and dry probably due to leaving in the fridge for too long. Further it lack the fregrance which some macarons have.


Overall, I would say that I was happy to be given a chance to try all the cakes at Obolo although I would have preferred noisette to be part of the menu. However the selection of sour desserts really could not curb my sweet tooth.


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Obolo
452 Joo Chiat Road
Singapore 427665
Tel: 6348 9791

Operating hours -
12:30pm (Tues to Thurs),
12:30pm to 10pm (Fri)
11:30am to 10pm (Sat)
11:30pm to 9:30pm (Sun)
Closed on Mondays and Public holidays

http://www.obolo.com.sg/

Evan's coverage on Food event at Obolo; Brad's after-thoughts of the entire event; FoodieQueen's entry on the degustation; Vicki's perspective towards the Food event

16 comments:

evan 이벤젤린 said...

omg how can you be so fast! i'm still editing the pics and you've got everything ready, with writing n all haha.

Fen said...

Wah, you are still not asleep yet...

Haha, now I got to shower and sleep already. If not, I won't be able to wake up tomorrow morning for gym...

Good night =)

ice said...

Wow your review seems almost harsh. I would think it's quite unfair to review cakes at any degustation because flavors tend to clash and after a while the law of diminishing returns sets in. The amalgamation of flavors becomes too overwhelming. That's why as much as high-teas tempt, I hardly go for those (btw 4 Seasons High Tea is awesome) coz I feel like I'm gorging on desserts and can't appreciate the cakes after a while. I prefer to savor my cakes one at a time. :)

I tried the mango-passion and a soleit entremet before. They're ok but there're many places which do better in cakes.

If you like tiramisu, try the one from Ristorante de Parma at Serangoon Gardens near Chomp Chomp. It's by far the best I've eaten in the department of alcohol and mascarpone. I love my tiramisu alcoholic with creamy mascarpone and well soaked sponge fingers.

ladyironchef said...

yeah man. how can you be so fast?!? i finished everything about 4am. and here you are posting at 1. haha! thanks for coming and the super long write up. actually i thought the caraibe was not bad, but agree with you it'll be better if hazelnut praline is use instead

Fen said...

Ice: Thank you for dropping by. If I want to review the cakes, I would have put it as individual entry but in this case, I choose to give a general overview.

In fact, my taste buds during the entire dessert degustation was too corrupted after taking strong sour food, therefore, I emphasize the importance of the serving order. As for the cheesecakes, that is Obolo's signature, thereby explaining for my high expectations.

Thank you for your recommendation for Four Seasons High Tea and Ristorante's Tiramisu, will get to try it soon.

LIC: I have been writing about deserts for the past few months, thus I roughly know what to pen down =)

Caraibe was good but I happen to try it last. By then, my taste buds were pretty contaminated and Yuan thought that the mousse was sour. Maybe if we have ate it as one of the first, I would have liked it more than eating it as the last.

Foodies Queen said...

Kudos! Haha....

SLYuan said...

ice: I think it would be most inappropriate to quote the law of diminishing returns here. It seem like all desserts are perfect substitutes for each other which is not the case.

Fen and I have been going on regularly cake hunts and the amount of cakes which we eat at each hunt is also numerous. You may refer to our entries at various locations where we have 4 to 5 entries on the same day.

The point I guess Fen was trying to drive at was the first bite factor. There are some desserts which you fall in love with at the first bite. Unfortunately there wasn't for this evening. So she went on and tried to be as neutral as possible and explained that it could be due to the order of the presentation. The human tongue tells us how each food taste by comparing with previously eaten food.

But I guess ultimately everyone has different preferences. For us, it may be a little bias as we generally have a sweet tooth.

ice said...

yuan: Hi there! I think you're mistaken. I wasn't blaming fen for her harsh review. I just thought tasting too many desserts at any one time numbs the palate too quickly. No? Hmm...not sure but I'm a dessert person too. :) For some desserts, you need the flavor to grow on you though I agree with you on the 1st bite factor.

ladyironchef said...

yuan: i heard from mac, they didn't include noisette as one of the 9 because they thought most people will have try it before since it's one of their most popular cakes. so they decided to replace it with something else instead.

evan 이벤젤린 said...

i think it would be good to hv noisette and take away one or two of the cheesecakes. all the cheesecakes didn't impress, and like what fen said, they're not creamy enough.

btw fen, i linked u up!

SLYuan said...

I guess its true that too much desserts numb the tongue but I just find that even the first few desserts which I tried didn't leave much of an impression. I guess my expectations of Obolo was quite high after claiming that the noisette was one of the best hazelnut chocolate mousse in Singapore.(Refer to our monthly special)

Fen said...

My personal take is when a group is involved for dessert tasting, the most important thing is to be able to allow diners to associate the shop with a signature cake (i.e. Cheesecake from Hilton, Durian Mousse from Goodwood Park).

Thus, introducing Noisette is to leave an impression to first time visitors and to persuade others to place Christmas order on their specialties.

Evan: I thought the one to be replaced is the Chocolat-passion tartlet. Wah, extremely sour!!!

Kudos said...

Mostly I would say I agree with Ice. That seems like a lot to stomach in one session. Even Pierre Herme's "Fetish" only features max. of 5 items at a time. Well, I have been to Obolo couple of times before. Was most impressed with New York and Le Cassis, so-so about Noisette and Soleil. But the verrines are a definite crowd pleaser. Definitely going to try Nikita that most of you guys recommend :)

Fen said...

By the way, the complimentary cranberry chocolate chips cookies are good. Light with buttery taste and I like the way it crumbles (just like shortbread), good as a Christmas gift :D

Vicki said...

Was great meeting up with you again! 2 dessert outings in the span of a week. Lovely! Looking forward to the next one :)

yixiaooo said...

i really liked the honest review =)

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