Wednesday, October 26, 2016

喫茶 la madrague : The Legendary Giant Egg Sandwich Since 1945

Oh my god...what s*** did I land myself into for ordering such a huge sandwich? I didn't expect the legendary Kyoto egg-sandwich to be such a monstrous size. I'm sure you must be laughing at the photo and thinking "Very Big meh?" OH YES, IT IS! Probably the biggest of your life. 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ollella : Delicious Choux Heaven in Singapore

Many cake shops or dessert places in Singapore tend to ride on the bandwagon of food trends such as salted egg yolk lava or colorful pancakes but very few have looked into old-school pastry such as eclairs and choux. There is, of course, places like Tart by Cheryl Koh that focused on tarts, as well as L'eclair and Kumoya which turned humble eclairs into colorful statement pieces. 

But for a place that specializes in chouquettes, Ollella is probably the first in Singapore and the first that does it so well. I was glad to have the opportunity to check out this place with @fundamentally_flawed because it restored my hope in the local pastries just when I thought that everyone was too focused on Instagram-worthy stuff and neglect the actual quality.

Ollella is named after the owners, Ollyvia and Marcella, who are sisters of Indonesian parentage. These upside-down choux pastries are the creations of the younger sister, Ollyvia, who used to work at The Peninsua Chicago Hotel and underwent a three-month stint at the prestigious Pierre Herme in Paris a year before opening this shop. Meanwhile, the front service and operations affairs are managed by Marcella, a bubbly personality with corporate marketing experience.

Some might described this as "haute-coute" desserts but I begged to differ because there's a kind of simplicity and intimacy in each of these these 5-cm hollow airy pate a choux are armoured with a delicate craquelin shell. Piped full of creams and custards, there's little not to like in the combination of crunchy, aromatic and creamy.

Presentation wise, they might be a notch below those lightning eclairs but these darlings are gorgeous in my eyes. Prices are eminently affordable and satisfaction guaranteed. It's the next place after Dulcet & Studio that I would recommend for excellent cream puffs.

Our unanimous favourite was the Dark Chocolate, a black ugly duckling that sat right at the corner of the display choux. Yet this was everything a chocolate choux should be ― a perfectly formed, chocolate streusel that crunched loudly in the mouth, oozing forth an exquisite balance of hearty and rich 72% dark chocolate cream. At $4.50, this is the perfect plebeian pleasure.

The Matcha Azuki ($4.50) also hit the spot with a forthcoming tea taste that wasn't ruined by sugar. That said, the amount of red beans could be too much of a good thing to handle, even for those who love their azuki.

Other flavors include bright and tart Lemon Meringue ($4) which could afford a subtle burnt flavor of the meringue had been torched. My friend who don't fancy rose and lychee found the seasonal Lychee Rose ($5) here to be acceptable because the rose Chantilly was only lightly scented with floral notes. Just be warned that the lychee creameux hold no barriers in its fruity sweetness.

Last but not least, there's the Apple Cinnamon ($4) which offers varied textures just like the Dark Chocolate. It's stuffed with cinnamon-infused Apple compote, vanilla streusels and Madagascar vanilla mascarpone cream. Even those who fear cinnamon will find it easy to be acquainted with this choux.  

Apart from chouquettes, it also sells mini chouquettes in plain, chocolate and curry flavor. There's also a 20-layer Kueh Lapis Legit (from $38/600g or $1.50/slice) made based on their grandmother's recipe. Party-sized choux tarts are also available but a minimum 24-hour advance reservation is required.

Despite being new to the scene, Ollella has chalked up a fair share of experience at pop-up stalls with exclusive creations such as the Moon Choux series during the Mid-Autumn festival. With a confident mastery of the craquelin and Pâte à choux, Ollella definitely makes the cut as one of the best patisseries in town.  

Ollella Chouquettes ・Gula
Residences @ Somme
3 Petain Road, #01-01
Singapore 208108

Friday, October 21, 2016

Patisserie Tendresse パティスリー タンドレス  : No.1 Cake Shop in Kyoto

The quest for the best cake shops in Kyoto brought me to Tendresse, the highest ranked patisserie on tabelog. But a visit to this place isn't as easy as it seems. First, it only opens 3 days a week (Sat/Sun/Mon). Secondly, it is not located in any major train stations so one has to transfer a few times before reaching Ichijoji station. Thirdly, the shop believes in producing cakes in small batches so be prepared for everything to be sold out (or maybe left with 1 choice) even if you reach within 2 hours after the opening hours. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Gomacro : A Kyoto Cafe for all Sesame Lovers

Don't you love sesame?

Being a huge fan of sesame, I was elated to discover this casual cafe that specializes in all things sesame when I was walking along the streets of Karasuma Oike. 

Gomacro is a casual cafe produced by Yamada Seiyu, a third generation manufacturer of sesame oil whose mission is to protect the mothers who play an important role in raising the pillars of future generation. As such, one can expect that the food here is designed to be healthy, organic and gluten-free. In fact, you can see it as a vegetarian place as the food is free of meat, dairy, eggs, artificial colouring, chemicals, preservatives and even white sugar! 

My main agenda wasn't trying to be healthy (though it feels good to know that the food here is healthier than other places). I wanted to check out the signature white curry rice (¥1000) because I never had white curry before. The curry roux is made by slowly grinding white sesame and almonds by hand using a stone mortar, resulting in such a smooth and thick gravy that was full of nutty aroma. 

The spice here is non-existent and adding splashes of Sesame Rayu (Sesame chilli oil) contributed more to the aroma than taste. But still, I enjoyed the curry tremendously and thought it was a great delicious pairing indeed to go with the black sesame multigrain rice. 

For sweet ending, I had the duo of soymilk and black sesame icecream which was served with homemade sesame granola cookies. I couldn't say if I love the ice cream or the granola more but we all know that creepy crunchy bits can be very addictive. 

But the good thing is that their products from edible stuff like sesame oil, sesame paste and granola to cosmetic skincare items are retailed at the entrance of the cafe. The second level is a kitchen where cooking lessons on healthy organic food is conducted. 

11.30-19.00 (Closed on Mondays, every 2nd and 4th Tues of the month)
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