great casual eating at the paragon. the last time I did a review of this place, I was pretty much fixated on their delicious chocolate cake – this time, I managed a more indicative meal, and it was pretty good too (even though the chocolate cake still makes the most compelling reason for a revisit).
(this chocolate confection makes for a pretty compelling argument, too).
that’s not to say the food here isn’t good, for it’s pretty decent cafe offerings they dish up here (though not particularly stellar). it’s very good quality if you’re in for something fuss-free and quick, but it’s not a destination restaurant.
my so-called signature chicken caesar had crunchy leaves and a well-seasoned dressing – but the poached egg was pretty darn cold (even if well-poached otherwise), and the chicken strips a little dry and cold (could have been chilled out a packet, for all I know). still, it was like a very good packed salad you’d have for lunch, and it was certainly a generous portion.
we also had what I seem to remember being a pastrami sandwich – but I could be wrong, and I certainly can’t find it on their menu. decent, regardless, with a properly-toasted bread and satisfyingly-thick slices of ham.
but I think of everything on their menu, the desserts are best executed. portions are decent (which means big enough to satisfy but not cloy), flavors are rich and full-bodied (which puts other cocoa-tasting cakes out there to shame), and prices are competitive in its class. I’m a fan of their chocolate offerings, now that I’ve tried the oh-so-incredibly-delicious chocolate dome (name forgotten) and the le royale (pictured right at top) – but even their non-chocolate things like this green tea tiramisu (intensely matcha-flavoured, and tasty-ly so) do well.
service is incredibly spotty, and that could be the biggest weakness of this place. no matter where you’re seated, it’s almost impossible to get service – but at least the food arrives at a decent pace. the cafe is also surprisingly run-down for an establishment in the rather lauded les amis stable, with an almost-shoddy (mis)match of furniture and slightly worn out furnishings.
good food, though – which is the most important bit – so it’s easy to ignore the rest. visit for the cakes!
Canele Patisserie Chocolaterie
290 Orchard Road
tel +65 6733 8893
$$: twentyish for lunch