Brunch @ Henri Charpentier

December 4, 2014 in European (cafe) by thywhaleliciousfay

Henri Charpentier, a French-inspired Japanese patisserie, has opened a dessert salon on our island in October 2014 as part of its global expansion outside of Japan.

And since we were in Dempsey (for exercise *gasp*), my girlfriends and I managed to pop by twice. On a weekday evening and a weekend afternoon. And because we entered during meal times, the restaurant was a little quiet since Henri Charpentier is more well-known for their desserts.

The first thought that I had when we entered the place was that the massive use of pink did not seem to go well with the shop name. I mean, doesn’t Henri (a guy’s name) sound too masculine for pink? Haha. =p And having read that their prices were on the high side, my girlfriends and I came with the intention to order just a few dishes. A few.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4), we ordered:-

1) Ratatouille and parmesan cheese tartine, $19 (above) – An original take on the classic open sandwich, made with house ratatouille and parmesan cheese. We were really hungry after our exercise, so we ordered a main to fill up our stomachs. And this tasted very much like our pizza where ingredients were placed on a bread and topped with lots of cheese. Not exactly impressive, but good enough to fill us up as we continued to wait for our desserts.

2) Dome, $29 (above) – The chocolate sphere encloses a chocolate parfait biscuit of fraise d’amande. And we chose to order Dome, 1 of the 6 desserts made exclusive to the Singapore menu. And for this, the dessert was prepared in front of us where we were treated to a flambe performance. As the ball of chocolate was set on fire, the chocolate melted to expose what was hidden within, to which the staff further poured some strawberry sauce over. Not too bad.

3) Crepe suzette, $22 (above) – A signature dessert of Henri Charpentier. We initially did not intend to order this, but we couldn’t resist after we smelled the aroma when the staff prepared this for our neighboring table. Thin crepes cooked by hand in a copper pan. We especially liked the sauce of orange juice and liqueur. But at $22, the price would have been better justified if there were 3 pieces instead of 2. My girlfriend called this “mee hoon kway”. Silky mee hoon kway. Haha.

4) Mille-crepe, $9 (above) – Ten layers of moist, soft thin crepes and thick, rich custard cream.

5) Mont blanc, $9 (above) – Almond financier with chestnut, whipped cream and rum chestnut cream. This was not too bad, although I say mont blanc is a dessert which one needs to learn to appreciate.

6) Lemon tart, $7.50 (above) – The classic French favourite made with a flaky crust and tart lemon cream.

7) Financier, $2.90 (above, left) – This was pretty good. Slightly crispy on the exterior, and really buttery (said to be original cultured butter from Hokkaido) and moist on the inside.

8) Madeleine, $2.90 (above, right) – Almost similar to the financier, but this had a stronger flavour. Vanilla? Taken from their website, this was made from a mixture of Hokkaido wheat, Jamaican rum, Sugarcane Rum, lemons and honey.

So frankly, our dining experiences at Henri Charpentier were of mixed feelings. So while the desserts tasted good, they were expensive especially with the small portions. Service was not exactly brilliant. On our first visit, they forgot to key in our orders and we foolishly waited for our dessert for an hour. (^^lll) We really thought the staff needed that long to prepare our non-cake dessert since we noticed there was only one cart going round doing the flambé performances.

And it was definitely frustrating cause the staff only knew how to smile and apologise. It took 3 enquiries (from us) before the staff realised our orders were not keyed in! But somehow, we still had a roaring good time thanks to the manager. A really tall Japanese guy. He was amused by our reactions as he did our flaming desserts, and joked quite a fair bit with us.

So yes, I say drop by Henri Charpentier for desserts only if one is in Dempsey and if one does not mind the price tag. Cheapest being the lemon tart which starts at $7.50. And if one is coming for the flaming desserts, do try to come in the evening or later. When we were there in the day, we witnessed a table not being able to see the blue flames under the strong sunlight. We were sitting near them and their dessert was in full view, and we couldn’t see the blue flames to their dessert too.

When we checked with the humourous manager, he also said the flames were more visible in the night. Actually, I am not too sure if he managed to understand us right. In his exact words, he replied us with “Yes, yes, After 7pm. Better. (And) I do the cart after 7pm.” Haha.

9A Dempsey Road, Singapore
6479 5518, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 11:00 – 22:00
Ambience: 7
Value: 6
Service: 6

UPDATE: Restaurant has moved to 181 Orchard Road, Orchard Central, #01-18.