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
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?