Sweets @ KOI Dessert Bar (Sydney, Australia)

July 3, 2017 in Australian

It was by luck that I chanced upon photographs of MasterChef Australia’s Reynold Poernomo’s desserts on instagram. Located in Sydney? Oh my. There’s no way I was going to allow myself to not visit his shop. And with that, I immediately pinned it on my Google map. Keke.

It was on a weekday that my colleague and I arrived at KOI Dessert Bar at 12.15pm. And we were their first dine-in customers for cakes and coffee. Or maybe there were customers before us, just that they packed the cakes on the go. And from the display shelf, my colleague and I ordered:-


1) Berry cheesecake, AUD9.50 (above) – Vanilla cream cheese mousse, berry coulis and baked lemon cheesecake.


2) Chocolate delight, AUD12 (above) – Almond sable, 55% dark chocolate excellence mousse, passion fruit curd, brownies with dark chocolate ganache and raspbrry.

3) Watermelon, AUD12 (above) – Lychee creme, watermelon, chia seed, strawberry. Honestly, I didn’t like this. I mean… It’s after all just lychee creme layered over chia seed.

And KOI Dessert Bar is divided into 2 sections; Cafe at level 1 and restaurant at level 2. I looked up their website prior to my Sydney trip and learnt that level 2 opens for dining service in the evening. But for that, one would need to make advanced reservation. Wanting to try the plated desserts which was only available during dinner service and at their restaurant on level 2, I did just that. Hee.

I was required to select between set dinner menu and set dessert menu when I was making my reservation on their online booking system. I chose the latter since it’s all about the desserts that I was after. I mean… Chef Reynold is also nicked as the ‘dessert whiz’.

And for my 6pm appointment, I waited by the stairs for the staff to check my reservation and to lead me to my table at level 2. After reconfirming my order for the set dessert from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4), I commenced my meal with:-

1) Set dessert menu, AUD65 comprised of:-


  

(A) Lemongrab (above) – Lemon curd, lemon jam with lemon sorbet, herbal lemon meringue and lemon balm.


(B) Autumn forest (above) – Soft roasted milk chocolate filled log with chocolate soil, yogurt, caramel gel, porcini potato chips, fried shiitake mushrooms and applewood ice cream.

(C) Tea (above) – Soft roasted milk chocolate filled log with chocolate soil, yogurt, caramel gel, porcini potato chips, fried shiitake mushrooms and applewood ice cream.


(D) Coconut (above) – Coconut and yogurt with chocolate, almond sand, passionfruit curd, mango and kaffir lime dust.

2) Moss, AUD20 (above) – Pistachio mousse with caramel gel, dulce cremeux, pistachio sponge, matcha moss, apple blossom jelly, nitro lime yogurt and green apples. Knowing that this was a signature dish of chef Reynold, I (went crazy and) ordered it from the a-la carte menu too.

Unfortunately, the cakes and plated desserts failed to impress. Was it a case of me heading down with too high expectations? Probably. Would I recommend KOI Dessert Bar? Well… The sweets were good, but not to the extent that it blew me away. And these were pretty pricey too. So for their price tags, I would recommend checking out other patisserie instead. In my short trip to Sydney, I ironically had better desserts elsewhere.

But of course, I had my fan-girl moment when my colleague and I visited in the afternoon and we got to see chef Reynold in person.

KOI DESSERT BAR
46 Kensington Street, Chippendale, Sydney, Australia
+61 2 9212 1230, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Tues – Sun : 10:00 – 22:00 (Cakes)
Ambience: 7
Tue – Sun : 18:00 – 21:30 (Dinner)
Value: 6
Service: 7
* Closed on Mon

Brunch @ High Society

August 5, 2015 in European (cafe)

My girlfriends and I were off to Marina Bay Sands as one (of my girlfriends) wanted to visit the exhibition on DreamWorks Animation. And thus, we decided to check out High Society before going for the exhibition. Well, that was the only café that came up in our Google search for ‘cafes in MBS’. And thus, reservation was made for 8 for a Sunday since we were a big group.

However, the restaurant was pretty empty during the course of our lunch. Although I always say it doesn’t hurt to be a little kiasu. Ha!

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), we ordered:-

1) Seasonal set menu, $68 comprised of:-

(A) Choice of starter (above) – And between ‘feta cheese & tomato brushcetta’ and ‘poached scallops salad’, we went with the former (since we were getting a salad from the a-la carte menu). Balsamic glaze, toasted baguette.

(B) Soup of the day (above) – We were told the soup of the day was tomato and chicken. However, this tasted like minestrone soup. Canned minestrone soup.

(C) Choice of main (above) – Between ‘norwegian poached salmon’ and ‘pork ribs’, we went with the former. Mashed potato, market vegetables, mushroom cream sauce. Unfortunately, this fared worse than what one could easily pull off at home. We certainly were not impressed.

(D) Desserts (above) – With a choice of cupcake, we went with raspberry red velvet cupcake. Otherwise priced at $6 each if bought a-la carte. And this was too dry.

(E) Drink -With a choice of a glass of red wine, white wine, tea or coffee, we went with peppermint tea.

2) Truffle aioli fries, $12 (above) – Truffle oil, parmesan, mayonnaise.

3) Crab cesar salad, $23 (above) – Romaine lettuce, anchovies dressing, herbs, croutons, cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesan. At $23, this was hugely overpriced. And the crab was not fresh as there was a strong fishy taste.

4) Seared foie gras, $26 (above) – Caramelised apple in cognac, butter. Did not really like this. I guess some stuff are better when it’s treated less. Or less treated. Foie gras are better pan-seared. The caramelised apple made the entire dish too soggy.

5) Breakfast galore, $23 (above) – Bacon, ham, veal sausages, cherry tomatoes, house salad, toast, scrambled eggs.

6) Duck confit, $28 (above) – Mashed potato, market vegetables, mushroom cream sauce. Well… On the same duck leg, certain portion were moist while certain portion was dry. However, this was consistently salty.

7) Seafood laksa, $27 (above) – Scallops, baby tiger prawns, spiced laksa sauce. I could only say this was overpriced. We had actually expected more.

8) Blueberry cheese cake, $9 (above)

9) Casanova, $12 (above) – And of all the dishes we tried, this would be my favourite. Made mostly of dark chocolate mousse.

Will I recommend High Society? I am sorry but no. A strong no, in fact. We were very disappointed. While much effort were put into the (posh) interior decoration, the food just failed to deliver. I won’t say the food was horrible or inedible. Rather, the food was way overpriced. When I dine out, I at least expect to be getting our money worth. They could have fared better in presentation / plating and quality of the food. One could easily pull together the dishes at home and yet fare better than what was served at High Society. I kid not.

Service was bad too. We were not informed by the staff that water was chargeable. We only reaalised it when when we were paying and saw it on the receipt. And of course, it was then did it finally made sense to me as to why the staff was going through the hassle of topping up our glasses with those small pots instead from a big jug. And although the restaurant was pretty empty, it was very difficult to get the attention of the staff. Even with the buttons on the table which we could press to call for the service staff.

The only consolation my girlfriends and I had was that we had some Groupon coupon to use. Unfortunately, we did not save much cause we couldn’t use the coupon to offset the set menu.

HIGH SOCIETY
2 Bayfront Avenue, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, #B2-47/48, Singapore
6688 7522, Website, Facebook
Overall: 5.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 5
Mon – Thur : 10:00 – 23:00
Ambience: 7
Fri – Sat : 10:00 – 01:00
Value: 5
Sun : 10:00 – 22:00
Service: 5

Brunch @ Henri Charpentier

December 4, 2014 in European (cafe)

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.

HENRI CHARPENTIER
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.