Friday, April 30, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake 苺ショー @ Pâtisserie Glacé

The Japanese Strawberry Shortcake is a favourite among most Singaporeans and hence a common candidate found in most cake shops in Singapore. With so many versions, the recent discussion in my cbox brought up the issue of how authentic the local strawberry shortcakes are in Singapore and one of the recommendations made was Chef Yamashita's Strawberry Shortcake 苺ショー ($4.80).

As described in Pâtisserie Glacé's website, this has been a standard in any de rigueur Japanese Cake Shop and the basic criteria lies in the freshness of the strawberries, the fresh cream used and how good the sponge cake is.

Till date, the most memorable strawberry shortcake I had was the one from Arinco King. Sad to say, the place has closed down since they are unable to cope with the demands after the opening of 3 stores in Japan. Indeed a waste, I must say.

To non-strawberry cake lovers, like Yuan, most strawberry shortcakes will be ordinary since it is a standard combination of cream and sponge and don't be surprised, the 4 leaves' version is good enough to satisfy him. For me, I am picky and having ate a couple lately, my brain starts to do the comparison to hunt for my favourite.

Before I continue, let me relate to my dad's recent experience in baking a sponge cake (that affects my thoughts towards this cake). For those who baked, to get a good sponge is not easy and somehow or rather emusifiers is a magical tool. They make the sponge even and soft. The same recipe without emusifier makes the sponge porous and dry. In a way, having to witness the difficulty of making a good sponge that makes me appreciate cakes even more.

Strawberry Shortcake @ Patisserie Glace

Back to Chef Yamashita's Strawberry Shortcake; visual impression, the 2 layers of sponge is very even despite the layer of cream. Not exceedingly sweet with a soft but not porous sponge, the most important factor, they are not soaked. Cream is very light but lacks the "milky" and creamy taste Tampopo's has. So depending on your criteria, some may find this heavenly while other will find it average.

Personally, I will say this is definitely one of the better strawberry shortcakes I have encountered but to say this is my favourite, it lacks the x-factor that Arinco King has. Lastly, the cakes at Pâtisserie Glacé sell very fast and by 6pm, one will be surprised the shelf is close to empty. Don't forget to reserve a few slices should you pop by late.

Pâtisserie Glacé
12 Gopeng Street,
#01-33/34 Icon Village
Singapore 078877.
Tel: 6400 0247

Operating hours: 11am to 7pm (Mon to Fri)
11am to 6pm (Weekends and P.H)
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tofu Chiffon Organic Green Tea

Green Tea Chiffon is a recommendation made by one of my readers and this is something I didn't regret trying. Chiffon may be a common item in neighbourhood confectionaries but this is something very different. The texture is very springy and soft, unlike the common puffy ones (without volume body).

Tofu Chiffon Organic Green Tea

I have mentioned in my previous entry that Tampopo's chiffon is a class-different from the regular chiffon, I guessed I will have to retract my stand after this entry. Why so? First, the baked skin which is a must-have for chiffon cakes is very even and not burnt. Second, each bite is springy and moist with certain density, not just plain soft. Lastly, it is not overly sweet.

Tofu Chiffon Organic Green Tea

However, green tea lovers will find the cake mild to their liking. As for the tofu in this cake, the taste is not very distinctive, apart from Yuan mentioning that the cake has a strong taste of "eggs" (probably due to the protein content of tofu and not eggs) but I am not sure if this is the factor that contributes to the heavenly texture.

Note that this cake is not 100% vegan, as confirmed by Glace, they indeed use eggs in their tofu chiffons. This cake is available as a whole ($10.80) and I am not sure if this is sold in individual slices. On the day of my visit, I did see the orange chiffon sold in slices but not green tea. individual slices are sold at $1.80 each & flavors vary everyday.

Quoted from Pâtisserie Glacé's website,
"Using silken tofu as a main ingredient, Chef Yamashita's rendition of a common local fare with a nod to eating healthy and eating well.

The first bite warrants a re-think. The cake has good density, clear tastes of the green tea we import from Kyoto. Rest assured it tastes nothing like tofu. Like tofu it is low in calorie.

The whole cake is about 15cm in diameter and serves 6-7 persons."

Pâtisserie Glacé
12 Gopeng Street,
#01-33/34 Icon Village
Singapore 078877.
Tel: 6400 0247

Operating hours: 11am to 7pm (Mon to Fri)
11am to 6pm (Weekends and P.H)
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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Blogger meet-up @ The Lobby Lounge

Met up with my regular foodies friends, Daniel, Harris, Kaelyn and Phoebe; and let me have a disclaimer before I blabber my way through. I don't usually elaborate the cakes we have during blogger outings as
- first, it is not accurate since we only have several mouthfuls. Tasting and eating the entire thing is a different affair;
- second, with great company, food will naturally taste good so to a certain extent I do have my reluctance to blog about outings. Do take my comments with a pinch of salt.

Personally, I haven't been a huge fan of Marriott as my first encounter with their chocolate orange cake 3 years ago was disappointing, the cake loaf was dense and dry. Subsequently, I visited Marriott cafe for a buffet dinner with my colleagues and it didn't impress either, be it the spread nor the desserts. To be honest, if not for this blogger outing, I am not sure when my next visit to Marriott will be.

Blogger dessert degustation

Among the 7 pastries we had that afternoon, Yuan and I have a favourite in mind and I shall focus my entry on these 2 pastries. My favourite is the same as Kaelyn and Phoebe, the Strawberry Tart ($6.90++). Although Kki's has stayed at the top of my list, what makes Marriott's good in my opinion is the shortcrust base that is meaty core and crisp, crunchy exterior. Kki's strengths lies in the buttery taste which both Yuan and I adore but falls short on its crunchiness when compared to Marriott's version. I find both good so depending on where I am, I am happy with both tarts. For picky tarts eaters like Yuan, his choice is clear between the two.

Strawberry Tart

Lychee Mousse (described to have Lychee Mousse, Kirch, Sponge Finger, contains alcohol, $6.90++) is another favourite among the females and I did point out to Yuan that the thick proportion of sponge and a curd-like lychee mousse is very similar to the cakes we had in KL. Nice refreshing treat but the excessive gelatin makes it ponder to try it a second round.

Lychee Mousse

Opera ($7.90++) turns out to be Yuan's favourite among the entire lot. Often, the opera we had so far were dry with chocolate overshadowing the coffee buttercream but this is moist and evenly layered with the basic requirements of an opera. Each of the layer (i.e. almond sponge cake soaked in coffee syrup, ganache, coffee buttercream and chocolate glaze) are distinctive in taste and the entire combination is moist with a good balance of coffee and chocolate.


The remaining cakes for the afternoon, Rich Chocolate ($5.90++), milk and dark chocolate mousse with a hint of alcohol, a combination that won't go wrong except the missing hazelnut feuilletine

Rich Chocolate

Strawberry Cheese ($5.90++), New York cheese with strawberry glaze

Strawberry Cheese

Cherry Michelle ($5.90++), a banana cake taste-alike that is actually chocolate almond cake crumbs with dark cherries

Cherry Michelle

Easter bun ($3++) with either a chocolate egg or hard boiled egg on a danish pastry

Easter bun

One thing to note, the turnover of the cakes was very fast on a Sunday afternoon and this is one of the factors that (I would say) determine how good and popular the pastries are. With fast turnover, the cakes are ensured fresh at all times. Should your favourite cake be missing in the shelf, just check with the staff, considering how fast they replenish their cakes.

28 April 10: Called up the hotel to ask about their evening promotion. They have a 25% discount daily from 7pm to 9pm.

The Pastry Shop @ Marriott

The Pastry Shop
Marriott Hotel
320 Orchard Road
Singapore 238865
Tel: 6831 4551

Operating hours for The Lobby Lounge,
7am to 1am (Last order at 12.45am, daily)

The Pastry Shop opens daily from 7.00am – 9.00pm
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Saltwater Cafe

Note: Don't miss out on the new Kampong Lunch buffet available on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

To most, travelling to Changi Village Hotel can be a chore. For those who don't drive, here are some directions to Changi Village,
- From Tanah Merah MRT, take 2
- From Tampines MRT, take 29
- From Pasir Ris MRT, take 109

I have my reasons for including directions to come by this hotel. Having situated away from town, the rustic location offers a idyllic alternative for a nice weekend dinner. Upon entering saltwater Cafe, the mood changes despite braving through the rain and hassle to come. The effect of high celling with glass panels does provide a calming effect as opposed to the busy restaurants in town.


If one is expecting the usual suspects on a buffet bar, you will be disappointed. Given the pricing of the buffet and its patrons, this buffet focus more on local fare with a personal touch of Executive Chef William Soh.

As Changi Village Hotel is located very near to Changi Airport, the hotel patrons are mainly delayed flight guests and regulars. The main highlight of this cafe is floor-to-ceiling glass panels to allow diners to feel close to nature while the stylish interiors and comtemporary lighting provides a minimalist yet comfy ambience for both couples and families.


A quick glance of the buffet bar presents a few D.I.Y. counters for diners to prepare the local Rojak, Kuih Pie Tee and Laksa.

Executive Chef William Soh explains that Singaporeans prefers customising their food and likes the idea of self-service, thereby introducing a few of these stations. Having worked in Copthorne King’s Penang buffet, it is interesting to learn from Chef William that the Penang rojak he adored is not mixed in with the rojak sauce but rather drizzled on it so that the water will not be extracted out from the vegetables and fruits. Moreover, Penang rojak focus alot on fruits and that You tiao (fried bread stick) and Beansprouts are not found in this variation.

Anyway, back to D.I.Y rojak we had in the buffet. While I like my rojak to be thinly coated with sauce, Yuan prefers it thickly coated with the prawn paste. The verdict? This pleased me more with me finishing the entire plate of rojak as the sauce concocted by Saltwater Cafe is milder and less viscous.


It is a known fact that Singaporean cannot opt out sashimi in a buffet and seafood lovers will feel something lacking since oysters and crayfish are not found in the buffet line. Chef William is one that is particular with the quality of food and since this buffet is priced less than $40 on a weekend dinner, it is hard to balance a continuous flow of good quality oysters with an affordable price tag.

However, unlike the regular salmon and tuna sashimi, the sashimi served are cuts from snowfish and salmon trout (a hybrid of salmon and trout). While snowfish having defined flakes with a less fishy smell (which Yuan define it being a good alternative to tuna), salmon trout sashimi is amazingly sweet and tender.


Hot food sections focus on a selection of local dishes and hot favourites such as Tumeric Dory fish where hand-chopped spices such as lemongrass brings a maximal flavour to the succulent fish. Apart from that, one can expect comfort food such as porridge, South Indian favourites and a selection of Stewed Chicken, Braised Duck and Prawns Fritters.


There are a couple of signatures in this buffet which the regulars come back for and one of them is the Penang Char Kway Teow. I am no local-styled Fried Kway Tiao fan, those oily rice noodles with sweet sauce just don't work me but Penang style is different. Instead of using the thick rice noodles, this is fried using the thinner Ipoh Kway Teow noodles that is soft and smooth. Although Yuan felt that it was ordinary, we both agree in sync that the Kway Teow was not oily and does not clump to each other. What I like about it is the slight crispy exterior, the soft and springy interior Kway Teow that is light and wok seared with lard.

The other more sought-after dish is the peppered pig stomach soup. The soup is so rich and has no traces of dreadful "porky" smell. Chef William emphasized on the importance in blanching the pig stomach well and it is no surprise why this dish is requested when regulars make their buffet bookings at Saltwater Cafe.


Next to the gardo gardo section is a live pasta section whereby you can get the chef to prepare a plate for pasta for you.


In my opinion, the main highlight of the buffet is probably the outdoor grill section next to the poolside which is available on Friday and Weekend buffet dinner.


Cooked using stone grills, the live grill station offers a selection of Sirloin Beef, Chicken Chop, Chicken Sausage, Squid and Prawn to choose from. Sirloin Beef was done medium well, though thin but not tough. Chicken Chop and Chicken Sausage were tender while the Squid is slightly thick to our liking (prefer squid rings). Overall, the meats are well-seasoned and I liked the slight smoky aftertaste.

A point to note, this station left a very deep impression as we have opt for a poolside BBQ for our soleminization held last month at Traders Hotel. Since some of the items served at our soleminization event were chicken thigh and ribeye, we can comfortably say that the standard Saltwater Cafe offers is on par with what was served during our soleminization event at Traders Hotel.


Laksa, another Singaporean favourite. Although Chef Willam has experience in making Penang Laksa, he choose to serve the local version in this buffet as Singaporeans prefer to have their laksa served in the lemak style with Hay Bee Hiam (Spicy Dried Shrimps). Apart from the regular prawns and fish cakes, diners have the option of incorporating roast duck and char siew into their laksa. Indeed a virgin experience of eating roasted duck and char siew with laksa.

Laksa gravy was alittle spicy for me, considering my threshold for spiciness is close to zero. Although the laksa gravy is not exceptionally rich with coconut milk and Hay Bee Hiam, it is flavourful enough to coat the bee hoon in every mouthful.


Dessert section is something we often used to benchmark a buffet but note that Saltwater Cafe does not have an in-house pastry chef, thereby the desserts are mainly outsourced, apart from the shooters, Pear and Chocolate Pudding, Apple Crumble, Barley water and Chin Chow with Aloe Vera. Since the desserts are mainly outsourced, it will not be appropriate to comment much here. As for the Apple Crumble, it is tad too sweet with sugar visible on the crumble. However, we must give the credits for the crumble served warm and crisp.


Yuan's opinion
My overall impression of Saltwater Cafe is that it is a good weekend getaway to bring your family for dinner. However, if you are expecting an extensive spread of lobsters, crayfish, oysters etc. you will be sorely disappointed.

Fen's opinion...
Personally, it has been awhile since I feast in a buffet and I was indeed surprised by how much I have ate for this dinner. There are some buffets which I stopped short at just 2 rounds and headed straight for the desserts. Although the spread may not be extensive to frequent buffet-goers, my personal take is that this place is good for unwinding after a hard day of work. Moreover, the variety this buffet offers is decent for its price tag, given its selection of grilled western food, locals favourites, Indian food and pasta. The most important factor that makes this dinner memorable was to have Executive Chef William Soh chatting with us. Indeed an honour and an enriching evening to hear him talk about his gastronomic experience.

The cafe seems to be pretty short-handed and hence some of the utensils (e.g. dessert spoons and sauce dish) are not available at the buffet bar. The staff needs to be prompt for refill of water but apart from that, they are generally pleasant and polite.


Many thanks to Executive Chef William Soh for the complimentary meal; his time to chat with us and introduce the food on the buffet spread. Also, this photoshoot would not have been possible without the help of Ms Julie Lock, Marketing Communications Manager of Far East Hospitality.

Pricing of the buffet is as follows,
For Weekdays, lunch is priced at $32++, dinner at $36++
For weekends, lunch is priced at $22++ (local cuisine & high tea menu), dinner at $40++
Children below 12 years old are entitled to 50% discount while kids below 6 years old dine for free.
There is a 20% discount for UOB and DBS cardholders.

Saltwater Cafe
Changi Village Hotel
1 Netheravon Road
Singapore 508502
Tel: 6379 7018

Operating hours:
6:30am to 11pm (Sun to Thu),
6:30am to Midnight (Fri and Sat)
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Friday, April 16, 2010

Read this and flame if you want

Frankly speaking, the recent spams on my cbox is getting on my nerves and I am not sure who these people are; but for sure they are getting the hang on defaming me.

Most would have known that I don't bake and I don't see what is wrong to have a dessert blog. In the first place, my original intent was to keep a diary of the cakes Yuan and I had over the years and I thought it might be useful to let readers know what are some of the patisseries and bakeries found in Singapore.

I am not trying to defend myself but I just want everybody to know the objective of the blog.

For those who don't read Chinese, the content of the 联合早报 article was about Yuan and myself going round Singapore to try various desserts in Singapore and my original objective was to try all 50 yummiest cakes published in the ST article.

In the midst of blogging, we invested in a dSLR and since then we took up another hobby, photography. The blog was named "Indulgence after workout" to describe our regular weekend routine of gyming, photography and eating desserts. The most important thing is that we named it such a way that it has no implications of it being a food blog.

Apart from the genuine desserts lovers, I am quite surprise this blog has attracted some people who only have the intent to harass or insult. Not sure what is keeping you guys to come back but at least they seems to bother to return to find out if there is a follow-up in the defaming saga.

But something I always emphasize. People, or rather (some) NETIZENS always make irresponsible remarks because you feel that it is safe to hide behind your computer screen. No one knows who you are and I know that some likes to gain attention through this manner. Whatever you say, no one can stop you but spare a thought for all the patisseries and bakeries, they spend the money to start-up, they hope that people will appreciate their effort. Touch your conscience before you, being only NETIZENS, use them as a tool for verbal attack.

For now, all irrelevant comments made on the cbox will be deleted. The cbox is meant to serve as a platform for people to talk about CAKES.
[ ... ]

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Mandarin Cake Shop, Hong Kong

The Mandarin Cake Shop

To come to Central (中環), one can travel via the MTR or take a ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui; and locating Mandarin Oriental is quite easy, given how near the hotel is to both the ferry terminal and Central MTR. Upon entering the hotel, take the lift up to M floor and the signage will bring you to the Mandarin Cake Shop.

My original plan for my last day is to do some last-minute shopping but having walked the entire stretch of escalators that links the Central and Mid-levels, not forgetting the detour made before reaching the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, I was dying to find somewhere to have a drink and rest. Little did I realize, we chanced upon a cake shop that is led by a talented Executive Pastry Chef, Yves Matthey, who has been at the hotel for over 20 years of experience as a pastry chef and maitre chocolatier.


Apparently, some of the internet reviews have claimed this place to be the city's "must-visit" for sweet indulgences and apart from cakes and chocolates, the place is also a supplier of handmade breads, the famous rose-petal jam and XO sauce to all of Hong Kong and around the world to overseas guests.

Display I

Unlike Mille Feuille pastries and cakes we have seen for the past 3 days, finally there are mousse cakes.

Display II

When we ordered this, we didn't know that the hotel's cheesecake is highly rated for its rich and creamy texture. True enough, if you are a fan of dense non-baked cheesecake, this is one you wouldn't want to miss. Thumbs up to the light yet rich texture but a slight disappointment as the base is almost negligible.

American Cheesecake
American cheesecake (HK$32 + 10%GST)

One mouthful of the Chocolate Truffle is enough to declare that this is the best cake we had during our 4 days trip. The rich, smooth dark chocolate mousse with slight acidic chocolate aftertaste says it all.

Chocolate Truffle

Cross section of Chocolate Truffle
Chocolate Truffle (HK$32+ 10% GST)

We know we are in for a treat when we saw the Easter chocolate goodies displayed in the shop. To see more of Executive Pastry Chef Yves Mathey, renowned cake artist, Bob Tay and team's creations, they have uploaded some pictures on facebook.

Happy Easter Day

Lastly, the attraction at Central? Well, it is very similar to Singapore's business district given the banks and office buildings located within the vincity. Don't forget to pop by International Finance Centre 1 and 2 since that is Hong Kong's tallest office building, shopping mall and cinema.

Central, Hong Kong

The Mandarin Cake Shop
Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
5 Connaught Road
Mezzanine floor (M floor)
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: 2825 4008

Operating hours: 8am - 8pm (Mon to Sat)
8am - 7pm (Sun & P.H)
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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Zoë pâtisserie et chocolat, Hong Kong

Zoë pâtisserie et chocolat

Zoë pâtisserie et chocolat was originally not on my itinerary as I couldn't locate their website. While I was talking to the staff of Pâtisserie Tony Wong, I mentioned to them that I was planning to drop by Sift Dessert Bar which is located along Graham Street, Central. Anyway, the change of plans is because she felt that Zoë pâtisserie et chocolat is a better bet and that Sift is so-so in her opinion.

If Sift website has stirred your interest, this place is within walking distance from Central (中環) MTR.

Ok, back to Zoë pâtisserie et chocolat, if you have search through the web about this place, it seems that the branch in Happy Valley is more mentioned.

Hong Kong Tramways

To come to Happy Valley, the easiest way is to take the electric tram (of course, with the signage Happy Valley) and shown above is the last stop of the journey.

Happy Valley, Hong Kong

For those who wants some luck in gambling, Happy Valley Racecourse (one of the two race tracks of the Hong Kong Jockey Club) is located nearby. In terms of tourist attractions, don't expect too much from Happy Valley (快活谷) as this is a residential suburb of Hong Kong, located in the northern part of Hong Kong Island.


As mentioned in my Tony Wong's entry, it is not easy to find a cafe that offers dine-in seating and Zoe is no surprise. In fact, this is a mini cake shop with a brown colour outlook. There is only a fridge displaying approximately 20-25 types of creations.

Generally, for HK$30 ($5.50), the cakes are very small in terms of size. In terms of ingredients, they are pretty simple so in short, you can say good quality cake but pricey.

1459 Mille-feuille
1459 Mille-feuille (HK$30)

One of the recommendations of Zoë pâtisserie et chocolat is 1459. 1459 refers to each puff pastry having one thousand, four hundred and fifty-nine layers, not sure if that is true but I prefer this more than the napoleons I had at Pâtisserie Tony Wong for its lighter tangy custard and thinner, more crisp, crusty puff pastries. Yuan, on the other hand, prefers Pâtisserie Tony Wong's napoleons for a richer custard filling.


Zoë (Close-up)
Zoë (HK$30)

Named after the shop, Zoë is the cake version of Kinder Bueno. Hazelnut cream, vanilla sponge and wafer bits... Refreshing and yummy.

Mud Cake
Mud Cake (HK$30)

Yuan is put off by the texture of this cake as it has a sticky texture. As for the layer of chocolate fudge, understandable that it is sweet since it is made of icing sugar.

All in all, our impression of this place is pretty close to this blog entry. Pricey, small but not too bad of a taste.

Lastly, after you are done with your cake business, you can take the electric tram to Kennedy Town and drop along one of the MTR stations (e.g. Causeway Bay, 銅鑼灣).

Hong Kong Tram Route
Picture above is obtained from Wikipedia

Zoë pâtisserie et chocolat
No. 7A-3, Shan Kwong Road
Happy Valley, Hong Kong
Tel: 2892 1166

No. 6, Sunning Plaza,
10 Hysan Avenue
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: 2234 7188

No. 2 Commercial Portion of J Residence
60 Johnston Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
Tel: 2866 6885
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Friday, April 2, 2010

Mango Mousse, Disneyland (HK)

Bakery @ Disneyland, HK

Walking down mainstreet of Disney HK, you will not miss the Market House Bakery.

Interior of coffee & pastry

Of course Fen and myself could not resist trying the cakes with cute Disney decorations on them. We chose the Minnie Mango Mousse (HK22)

Minnie Mango Mousse

In general the term mousse seemed misappropriate in this context. It is generally a sponge cake with a layer of mango mousse (slightly curd-like) in between the layer. Nothing special about this cake except the piece of white chocolate with a print of Minnie Mouse on it. If you are really curious about the taste of this cake, I believe that there is a variant of this at the Maxim outlets located at various locations in HK.

Market House Bakery @ Hong Kong Disneyland
By Maxim's Restaurants Limited
Tel: 2162 5192

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