1-Caramel

Anyone actively engaged in the foodie scene in Singapore – especially that of desserts – would most definitely recognise the name “1-Caramel”. Located at Rochester Park and Raffles Place, 1-Caramel is the patisserie opened by the 1-Rochester group. My friend and I visited the Rochester Park outlet because it was the dessert boutique, thus carrying more sweets than the espresso bar at Raffles Place. Or so we assumed (:

Our main intention of going there was to use up this birthday discount voucher that my friend got. It entitled us to a 1-for-1 set lunch. So happily, we set off, travelling all the way from Tampines to Buona Vista, excitement pumping in our veins. And they always say “the higher the expectations, the greater the fall”. Upon arrival, the lady told us that we couldn’t use the vouchers cause we didn’t call them up a day in advance. Oh and that the set lunch was only applicable till 2pm. But wait a minute! They didn’t state that in the terms and conditions! And for a whole day brunch kinda restaurant, one would expect their set lunch deals to end slightly later.

Oh well, I’ve been wanting to visit 1-Caramel for ages! Since we were already there, we ended up ordering a savoury brunch platter to share, and spent the rest of our finances on their much raved about desserts!

Espresso Macchiato ($5)

To begin the meal, my friend ordered an Espresso Macchiato. My friend expected a more generous amount considering the price, but to us coffee addicts, we know that espressos are served in tiny tiny cups. She was in for a major shock when she saw how small the cup was! I thought the espresso tasted ok. The foam though was too little. A sip and it was all gone. Of course I’m hardly the expert. I still can’t appreciate espresso. The amazingly rich, silky and flavourful taste often described by coffee lovers just never seem to make an appearance around me!

Picnic Platter ($20)

The Picnic Platter consisted of asparagus wrapped with proscuitto, balsamic tomatoes, baguette with brie, avocados, smoked salmon, and a leafy salad. The description sounded absolutely deli, like a deconstructed combination of brunch favourites: toast, cheese, eggs benedict and its relatives. The presentation of the dish then went on to heighten our excitement! What wonderful plating! Taste-wise, the meat components were rather disappointing. The proscuitto looked an awful shade of purplish-black, with the supposed-to-be-wonderful fats be dirty white and yellowish instead of pure white; and the smoked salmon was just so soft and mushy. It was quite scary. Other than the meats, everything else was executed perfectly. Wonderful wonderful bread, brie, and salad that was dressed spot on.

When it comes to desserts, we’re really spoilt for choice. 1-Caramel boasts an extensive selection of mouthwatering desserts that makes it entirely impossible for you to choose!  So it was really a strategic move on their part to come up with their 1-Caramel Assiette, which allows you to pick 3-5 petite-sized desserts. Not all the desserts on their menu are available in these petite sizes though! We finally decided on getting the assiette with 4 desserts, a passion fruit souffle, and their mille feullie, an ala carte dessert.

1-Caramel Assiette – Earl Grey Creme Brulee, Raspberry Lychee Rose Pannacotta with Lychee-lemon Compote, Tropical Vodka Trifle, Midori Macaron ($20)

I was entirely impressed by the way they plated their desserts! It looked absolutely enticing, with 4 mini colourful petite desserts screaming “EAT ME!” How can you resist such a dish? I thought the chocolate-written words were done shabbily though. If they wanted to write it, then do a good job at it. Don’t serve it with smudges!

Midori Macaron – 1-Caramel’s signature green tea macaron filled with tonka-bean compote and Japanese yuzu ice cream

I’m highly suspicious that they left out one component in their menu’s description, which is a real shame cause it was the star of the dessert. The adzuki bean and matcha cheesecake was extremely light and dense at the same time, if that makes any sense. Surprising as it may seem, the adzuki flavour was prominent in the cheesecake, but instead of being heavy as I expected, it turned out tasting very light and refreshing. It was not coyingly sweet, and every bite ended with a lingering tang that left me wishing for more. Despite the lightness in its taste, the sticky, dense texture of the cheesecake was still present! These contrasting depth and texture of the dessert was further intensified with the yuzu ice cream. Refreshing and light in flavour, yet still retaining that creamy decadent taste, this ice cream is by far one of the best yuzu ice creams I’ve had. The chewy candied yuzu peels mixed into the ice cream gave it an extra bite and texture, bringing the entire dessert experience up another level. The “signature” macaron however was a let down. The shells didn’t taste of green tea at all, so much so I’m willing to bet they just added some food colouring. The buttercream filling was not impressive.

Earl Grey Creme Brulee – infusion of earl grey tea leaves in a traditional French baked custard dessert served with grissini cheese straws dusted with tea and icing powder

I’m now absolutely sure 1-Caramel has problems with their description, cause those grissini cheese straws definitely ain’t tasting of cheese. Not even a little. I thought they were pretty good puff pastries till I read the description! But to be fair, this PUFF PASTRY STRAW did taste rather good! The flaky crunchy pastry added some bite to the otherwise texture-less dessert. The creme brulee itself was creamy, cold, and was just the right amount of sweet. A hint of earl grey in the smooth custard, this is a great dessert, and one that my friend absolutely loved. I felt the earl grey flavour wasn’t too pronounced though. I’d have preferred them to infuse more of the tea flavour in. Also, the top was nicely caramelised but it wasn’t fresh from the blowtorch. The crunch was there, but it wasn’t hot enough. So it lacked that hot-cold contrast that makes a creme brulee oh-so-delicious, Nonetheless, it’s a great dessert I’d order at my next visit! 😀

Raspberry Lychee Rose Pannacotta with Lychee-lemon Compote – a combination of two exquisite puree scented with the essence of rose in a classic Italian cold pudding served with chunky lychee and lemon compote

Oh hoho this was my friend’s fave of the day! She’s never had pannacotta before. So for her to love it at first bite, it must be pretty darn good! 😀 I found the texture and the consistency of the pannacotta absolutely spot on. However I couldn’t taste the raspberry or the lychee or the rose. Perhaps the overlap of these three strong flavours cause them to overpower one another, resulting in a light, sweet taste that…is just meh. I expected to be hit with a stronger and more unique flavour. Rose, for example, is such a unique scent in itself that it should shine, be the star of the dessert. Putting it together with other ingredients just masks its fragrance and defeat the purpose of adding it in the first place! Maybe it’s just for the grandeur. Technically, it was a well executed dish, albeit an over-complicated one.

Tropical Vodka Trifle – pineapple gazpacho jelly, pineapple sponge cubes with crystallised baked almonds topped with coconut sorbet 

THIS. IS. WHAT. DIVINE. MEANS. The coconut sorbet won me over. Entirely. And that’s HUGE coming from someone who doesn’t like coconut. It was light, refreshing, a burst of tropical freshness. Below it, the pineapple jelly stole my heart for the second time. It had a jelly, yet chewy, icy texture that was so unique. Together, the sorbet, sweet pineapple sponge and sour jelly worked together perfectly to form the ultimate harmony of flavours and textures. If there’s anything I’d shamelessly promote, it’s this dessert. EAT IT.

Passionfruit Souffle with Banana-passion sorbet ($14)

Floppy and lopsided looking souffle, which smelt heavenly. So we weren’t sure what to expect when this dessert arrived. Ohmysweetsweetmama the sorbet was awesome! It tasted so tropical, so unique, so exotic! If only the passion was more pronounced. U’d have to be a banana fan cause the banana taste’s pretty strong, and it kinda overpowers the passion. Now the souffle, on the otherhand, was a letdown. It tasted like baked eggwhites, which was not very pleasant. Then again I’ve not much experience with souffles, nor have I eaten souffles of topnotch restaurants, so I don’t know the benchmark and criteria. I thought it was way too solid and eggwhite-ish though. And the passion did not stand out at all. It was like eating cooked eggwhites with sugar. Hmmm…will be trying their other souffles the next time round to find out if it’s all that bad!

Mille Feuille Symphony – Violet-scented meringue, lavender baked and shredded phyllo pastry, Manjari chocolate and lime cream ($14)

When this came to our table, we inhaled reeeeeeeal deep. It looked too pretty to be eaten!!! We didn’t want to dig in and spoil the presentation D: but of course we couldn’t resist after a few seconds of drooling. We concurred that the Mille Feuille Symphony was big on presentation, small on taste. It looked good, but it didn’t taste as good. The individual components were awsome. The lime cream was smooth and the right amount of sour, phyllo pastry was innovative and pure genius, the meringue was crispy, and the chocolate was absolutely divine. However, putting all these too-awesome components together resulted in an over-composed dessert. The flavours over-powered one another. Especially the chocolate. Though tasty, it made the entire dessert too chocolatey, and lose its essential phyllo-crispiness. The lime cream was also shadowed by the chocolate. Most importantly, there was no hint of lavender traceable. I think I’d have preferred a traditional mille feuille, kicked up a notch with the lime cream. Still, the dessert was reduced to this in a matter of minutes:

Gluttons on the move!

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