Grin Affair

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Easily overlooked is an understatement. Tucked away under a HDB block at Everton Park with its pastel coloured deco, most would probably glance past the unassuming facade of Grin Affairs without a backward glance. I of course managed to spot it at first glance only because I was looking for it. Being the last week of my long A Level break before the hectic uni life begins, my foodie friends and I decided to go on a long awaited food hunt! Dessert hunt, to be exact. Grin Affairs has recently been seeing rave reviews by foodies all over the net. With all the hype about their cutesy jars, delicious cakes and those saliva-inducing photos, it was the first to-go place that popped into my mind!

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I like the novel eco-friendly concept that shapes Grin Affairs. They sell mini cakes served in jars that are washed and reused. For takeaways, they offer incentives for you to return your jars through little tickets. Every takeaway jar comes with a ticket. For ever jar that’s returned you’d be given another ticket. A jar of cranberries is redeemable with 20 tickets collected. How’s that for an incentive?

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Decorated with wooden furniture and vintage collectibles, Grin Affairs feels like Singapore’s very own Narnia. Vintage’s the new Pink now, and what with all the vintage-themed patisseries and cafes like Kki sprouting out all over the island, I wasn’t feeling optimistic about their ambience. Perhaps it was location of being at a HDB estate, or the small space, Grin Affairs managed Vintage without Cliche. It was a small, homely hideout; a getaway from reality.

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I looooove cutesy stuff and this place is just bursting with them!

But of course good ambience is only a bonus.

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Their menu on a pin board. Cutesy once again!

I was a tad disappointed that at 2.30pm, they’d already sold out on Strawberry Custard, Dark Chocolate, Cookies and Cream and Maron. Especially when I really wanted to try the Dark Choc and Maron. In the end we grudgingly settled for the Kiwi Cheesecake, Matcha and Azuki Bean, Banoffee and the Honey Lavender and Blueberry Cream.

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Kiwi Cheesecake ($5.50) – cream cheese with fresh kiwi slices and moist vanilla cake, topped with a later of crunchy nut praline

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This was good on every count. Every layer was discernible visually; every ingredient was detectable in each bite. The slices of kiwi was a perfect complement to the light and subtly sweet cream cheese filling. The pralines added a welcomed crunch to the cake and gave it an extra textural dimension. Oddly, though not unpleasant, there was a coconutty flavour in the praline. If anything, I’d wish for more kiwi slices.

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Honey Lavender and Blueberry Cream ($4.80) – light honey lavender mousse with moist vanilla cake, topped with fresh blueberries

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My friend shouted “LIAR” when her jar was passed to her. Ok not really she kinda mouthed-shouted it. For evidence of their utter stinginess, look no further than that miserable morsel of blueberry sitting atop the vanilla cake. Blueberry vs “blueberries” stated in their description. Yall don’t need a linguist to tell you that one’s singular while the other’s obviously plural. So yes we were all scammed. Head over to their website and you’d see 3 blueberries in their picture of this cake. Hmmm tuts at their dishonesty.

Taste-wise it was rather pleasant. I was squeaky happy that lavender featured prominently in the mousse! The honey on the other hand was not that obvious. Probably cause I cook with honey pretty often, I could detect the subtle honey flavour while my friends couldn’t. I liked that the mousse was lightly sweetened with honey though and there wasn’t a layer of sticky honey or something. It would have made the cake overly sweet. On the whole this cake was light and delicate, wonderfully executed I would say if not for the mysterious disappearance of blueberries. The blueberries would’ve undoubtedly added an oomph to the dessert.

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Takeaway jars of Matcha and Azuki Beans and Banoffee

My friends called me a typical Singaporean aunty when I ordered mine as a takeaway. What for, you ask?

1. I get 2 tickets I’d miss out on if I’d eaten there.
2. The presentation of the jar looks much better that way. So its for photography purposes.
3. I want to keep the jars.

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There. For $5.50, I get a cake, coupon, a prettier dessert, and a jar, while my friends get only the cake. 4 VS 1: just do a takeaway.

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Matcha and Azuki Beans ($5.50) – green tea mousse with chunky red bean and moist vanilla cake, topped with walnuts

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Oh hohoho matcha and azuki? Nuff said I was won over instantly. I was a tad worried still cause matcha desserts are usually wonderful creations or epic failures. Thankfully this cake did not disappoint. The mousse screamed matcha. It wasn’t overly sweet and had that slight smoky musky bitterness unique to matcha. Matcha lovers this is one helluva mousse to look out for. The slightly sweet azuki beans were soft without being mushy. I loved the addition of the vanilla cake and the walnuts especially. They elevated this cake with the additional variety of textures. This is definitely my fave out of the 4, nailing the composition of both textures and flavours!

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Banoffee ($5.50) – vanilla mousse with baked crust and a layer of dulce de leche, finished with moist coffee cake, fresh banana slices and baked pecan chunks

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I was expecting quite a bunch from its promising description and the reviews it got from other foodies. Sadly this – for me – turned out to be the biggest disappointment of the day. I dislike caramel, so I’m usually able to detect any trace of it in any dish. I didn’t taste any here. Naturally I’m be more than delighted for dulce de leche to be omitted from this cake. However its absence suggests a failure, especially since I believe it is supposed to be prominent feature of this cake. The coffee cake was equally played down. And I actually love coffee, so I was a super buffed that I couldn’t taste it here. If there was any saving factor at all, it’d be the bananas and the baked crust. They chose to be generous here and the copious amounts of bananas offered was wonderful. Slightly salty, the baked crust gave the dessert a slightly tarty spin that stayed true to its origin, the banoffee pie. A well thought out dessert that unfortunately did not translate.

I guess it’s hard to be all hits and no misses, and Grin Affairs has more of the former. Free from the corruption of bustling cosmopolitan lifestyles, a visit to Grin Affairs is a must either for their mean mousses or just for their ambience. And I have to give it to them for the innovative combination of flavours and textures. So I’ll definitely be back, if not for their Lychee and Passionfruit/Dark Choc/Maron, their Matcha and Azuki Bean! 😀

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