dean & deluca singapore, town

incredibly disappointing and wholly vapid food – even after tempered expectations – at the dean & deluca cafe in orchard central. I’ve been to their pretty shop – with highly magnified prices – before, read the dismal reviews everywhere on the blogosphere – and I still went because I was drawn to an image I saw online of their pancakes. it was a regrettable experience, and one that’s made me feel quite a bit foolish.

I feel like I should apologize for the fact that their food made gorgeous photos – take it from me that it’s akin to finally meeting that beautiful person from across the room, only for them to open their mouths to some sort of inaneness. a bimbo experience in all – don’t fall for it yourself.


I’m pretty darn forgiving about pancakes – they are my favourite brunch-and-whenever dish – but these, these require a spiel. they weren’t griddled pancakes (or flapjacks, as the menu so graciously termed it) – which means dollops of batter on a hot surface – but most likely made using a pancake machine (which is still not unacceptable in itself), and unforgiveably, almost definitely commercially pre-made. the texture was rather strangely leavened, with what seemed to be dense, dry crumbs held together in an impermeable sort of skin for the exterior. you must know what I mean: some commercial baked goods when reheated have this sort of thick skin around the outside – which is nice sometimes, but not so great for pancakes. it was also topped off by a rather thick layer of softly whipped cream – which I really dislike, and would have requested without had I known – and a minuscule, and very petty cup of maple syrup. good lord, and not in a good way. I did eat rather more than half of it since I was hungry and it was there, and it isn’t so bad for those pancakes you have at the back of the freezer you heated up because there was nothing left to eat in the house, just that you’re not at home, and the price of these could have bought you quite a few bags of good frozen pancakes.

on the other side of the table were scrambled eggs and cured salmon sandwiched between two bagel halves, and really, only one of those things had to be cooked. the eggs were still pretty soft – which I like – but so salty, and there were capers sprinkled over, which made it even more so. not to mention that cured salmon is also a salty ingredient – you get the gist. but the major gripe was the poor excuse for the bagel – it was definitely a microwaved specimen, with that characteristic hard, dense quality that resisted biting, sawing with a knife, and even forceful ripping. truly a mutant of nature. perhaps the sandwich wouldn’t have been so salty if the fillings had been tempered with some bread?

so we left wholly disappointed – and it was a pretty expensive meal, especially for what we got – and so the emptiness of the cafe even at dinnertime (yes, I like breakfast for dinner) is rather justified. pretty place, pretty food, terrible taste – perhaps you might be better off going for their cheese counter or charcuterie and doing a takeaway with all their gourmet products. just steer clear of the food.

Dean & DeLuca Singapore
#04-23/24 Orchard Central
181 Orchard Road
Singapore 238896
tel +65 6509 7708

p.s. I’d be interested to know if you’ve had a good meal here – I do see positive reviews (albeit tastings) online, and so perhaps they were having a spectacularly off-day?

13 thoughts on “dean & deluca singapore, town

  1. many a time, due to undiscerning taste buds of others (or perhaps, just the herd mentality that is so predominant in our think-out-of-box society), I get let down by pretty pictures and this really bums me out. time taken to get friends together, to try something that is just, meh. but then again, I’d rather try places before people tell me it’s a wonderful place, because people’s tastes are different. tricky :\

    • indeed – which is why I still went to this place regardless of reviews. maybe the trick is to appreciate the photos – but then read a wide spectrum of opinions (good transport passer-of-time) and then decide! I think the other thing that mucks it up is that alot of bloggers – sigh – aren’t very discerning and also follow further encourage hype.

      • what mucks many a place up is the invited tasting sessions that some get invited to. and all I can find are pretty studio-ish pictures with polite reviews that tell me little save for how grand a person’s use of thesaurus can get ;) we’ll just have to try and see!

      • I think tasting sessions are a great photo-shot time – but possibly only useful for us to have a look at better-than-menu-photos; only some people like rubbisheatrubbishgrow I trust to deal with all the bull.

        also – I completely agree with tiong bahru! I’ve done 40 hands too – not great – and I think the area is probably undeserving of that much hype (which is already dying down) so I don’t venture down. maybe it’s a local weakness – that once someone goes, everyone must, and then the blogosphere gets swarmed with hypemania!

  2. I totally agree. i had a disappointing experience there myself. overpriced for mediocre fare. couldn’t understand the rave reviews or the fools standing in line for hours for such sub-par food either. totally agree with meds’ point on herd mentality as well!

    • random sidenote: I love reading thehungrybunny’s food reviews. you got me to z’en a few years back when I was still working in that area :p

      anyway. to-date, I haven’t tried the newer Tiong Bahru places because it’s dripping with hype that it scares me. I did try 40 hands once, but there’re more cafes I prefer (in Tanjong Pagar area) and cheaper too :)

    • perhaps they were dazed by the sheer beauty (aesthetic) of the food and didn’t think really to be anything other than polite, or perhaps they couldn’t recognize it; both of which i can’t abide!

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