pantler, tanjong pagar

good little cakes and entremets in this newish, tiny cafe in tanjong pagar manned by young folk who seem to know (and enjoy) what they’re doing. a long counter laid out with slightly-over-ten cakes and croissants on the side, this place escapes that now-boring industrial layout of wood and exposed brickwork for a clean, modern, and perfectly enjoyable venue in which to sit down and have some cake.

close in offerings to the now-everywhere antoinette, this place has a little more of what you hipsters would call soul character, provided in most part by the neat rows of sweets and earnest (but not pushy) folks behind the counter.

we ordered nine cakes (possibly more, and not counting double orders), and despite delaying everyone’s caketification (like gratification, but with cake) taking photographs, I’ve only ended up with two that I’m pleased enough to show you.

but let me paint the scene for you – because you come here for my writing, don’t you?

all the cakes were gorgeous: well made and executed, with glossy glazes on the fancy ones, and a pleasing craggliness in the rustic, simpler cakes. my favorite was the yatsura, a dark chocolate (what else?) slice of moussey goodness, but the crumbly cheesecake was very much a favorite (I think we had three orders of those).

we didn’t take his recommended bests, like a tiger-ed sponge roll and creme caramel – so you might want to give those a go yourself, if so inclined.

I wouldn’t say this was the best cake shop, or epiphanic, but it has a quiet charm coupled with perfectly-good-for-teatime cakes – and I enjoyed how much the people behind the counter seemed to enjoy their work. definitely worth a visit, and bring a crowd (despite my reputation for sweets, I did not eat these on my own) so you get to share.

Pantler
198 Telok Ayer Street
Singapore 068637
tel +65 6221 6223
$$: <10 a cake

osteria mozza, marina bay sands

a couple weeks ago I told you about pizzeria mozza – now let me introduce you to its sexier, glamorous, sophisticated elder sister. the head-turner, without understatement.

I came here a long time before just for dessert, and it somehow didn’t make much of an impression then – that’s totally changed now. this place is at the same time glamorous and rustic, chi-chi but accessible, and filled with yuppies having the time of their lives.

it’s definitely a favorite, if not the favorite – prices aren’t cheap (rather obviously), but I feel like you almost definitely get what you’re paying for: a rarefied ambience I definitely relish.

and the food’s good. very good.

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vanilla bean, kovan

surprisingly quality, super delicious waffles at this coffeeshop in kovan, a space shared with astons specialty. I have heard murmurings that this place has closed – which is regretful but unsurprising: the first because the waffles are crisp but tender, and the fruit toppings are freshly cut (and oh my god, macerated cherries?!); and the second because despite the skill so apparent in the dishing, the store doesn’t invite confidence, with a barebones interior and slightly grouchy-looking people waiting for business.

it’s a serious waste if the place is closed – but I urge you to seek it out (and get back to me), as it’s a serious product classy in its serving, no waffle about it.

Vanilla Bean
1014 Upper Serangoon Road
Singapore 534752
$: less than ten a person

flor patisserie, duxton hill

decent-alright japanese-styled-french cakes at this tiny cafe in duxton hill. flor patisserie is pretty well-known for its light, japanese cream-type cakes, but I hadn’t gotten to it previously on my dessert circuit precisely because of those characteristics: I like my cakes hefty and substantial, and these fluffy, creamy things do little for me.

but for its class, the desserts are good – certainly worth a visit if you’re into this sort of thing.

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ps.cafe, orchard paragon

I’m going to cap off this year with what must be my favorite cafe chain in singapore – it’s an oldie, but a goodie. the cakes are consistent, the places are modern-cool and casual, and you never have to deal with too many teenagers at the joints.

last one of the cartoony shots! (until I change my mind, that is).

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candlenut kitchen, dorsett residences at outram park

lovely, delicious peranakan food at this modern restaurant along the perimeter of the dorsett residences. modern isn’t necessarily what you think of with peranakan – and neither is it something you think you’d want to hear, but the food is properly executed with finesse, and it comes dished out in a style you’d associate with european dining.

I’m very impressed with this place – it feels very much like a polished version of what was someone’s grandma’s kitchen, with dishes that taste both nostalgic and refined. service is both friendly and ready, and we finished our meal with a lady who was sharp and just prickly enough to feel like you’re dealing with a true peranakan aunt.

it’s also convenient, and reasonably priced – really, you couldn’t ask for more.

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tart blanc, millenia walk

just a quick head’s up this morning that this tiny hole-in-the-wall cafe at millenia walk does a decent set lunch – you get a permutation of one main course with soup and/or drink and dessert for very good prices (getting all four hits you barely twenty) – very good value in an otherwise rather pricey bit of town.

I suspect the cafe’s name comes from its very white walls and the rows of tarts in their counter – it’s quite a small (seats maybe 8), clinical space juxtaposed with cheerfully colorful tarts and cakes. I didn’t know what to expect of its savories – but my sandwich of mushroom and beef was surprisingly filling, with wholemeal bread holding in a rather generous mass of cheese and shroom and meat (I took half of it away).

there’s also a tiny dressed salad on the side, which was a nice touch, and my ice-cold earl grey capped it off nicely. it’s a homely little space, and good for sitting down with a book for lunch (or a friend, if you must).

I’ll be back to try the sweet stuff.

tart blanc
#01-102 Millenia Walk
9 Raffles Boulevard
Singapore 039596
tel +65 6238 6893
$$: 10-20 per person, depending on how greedy your order is

chopsuey cafe, martin road

fantastic, fantastic space, and really good food – chopsuey at martin road is a jewel in the p.s. cafe’s trove of consistent-though-expensive restaurants, and is one of my new favorite restaurants.

the place revolves around a menu that supposedly dishes up the american take on chinese food – and I say supposedly, because while that class of cuisine comes with gloppy sauces, overcooked meats, and rather tastes overwhelmingly of orange and sesame (I admit though, that panda express can be pretty good in the right situation), chopsuey instead serves a refined version without all those rather overwhelming characteristics.

the food is well-executed (chopsuey is like the asian take on the american take on asian, and we are asian, after all), the portions are surprisingly big, and the space lends itself to more than a little bantering with friends. very, very, very well-done.

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new asia bar, swissotel

upscale-ish, quiet-ish (crowd, not the music) hotel bar at the top of the swissotel (or the fairmont too, seeing as how they share the same compound). I want to stress the hotel bar part, as it rather explains the customers – not the glamorous, highly made-up sort, these are people who want a drink and a place to sit overlooking the city.

and this place does it well. it’s got an honorary dance floor, loud music and colorful moving lights – and on some nights there are actually quite a decent crowd dancing. but on the most part, it gives me what I want: an incredibly good deal on bubbly, or just a glass of something to glide away the weekend on.

a darker, loungier style than level33 – and I certainly don’t know anything about the food. but if you want a good view and a nice place to escape the crowds (and enough loud music to clear the mind) – this is one of my favorites.

New Asia Bar
Level 71, SwissĂ´tel The Stamford
2 Stamford Road
Singapore
tel +65 9177 7307
$$: 20-ish

level33, marina bay financial centre

nice, chill place to hang out with a glass of wine – and have a dessert (or two). this local microbrewery is pretty top-of-its-class, with a view up on its place on the thirty-third floor (the name’s a no-brainer, really), with a good selection of food and drinks, a good mix of standing and sit-down space – and it feels pretty cozy, even with the throngs of people that come here post-work.

I’ve recently taken to a glass of muscato a week (hey, it’s sort of like wine, which is sort of good for you, right?) – and this place serves up a sweet, honeyed glass of loveliness. it’s smooth and mellow, and quite a nice glass to start with – and of course you could go for one of their beers, brewed not a couple steps from you.

but I’d like to talk about their desserts too (a proper meal here is still a pending to-do) – and in particular, this interpretation of a sticky date pudding with triangular block of cake topped with a fig compote and goat’s cheese caramel. it’s a subtly sweet cake that plays up to the sharp savoriness of the goat’s cheese (which isn’t something I usually eat, but this was properly moderated), and the soft vanilla ice cream on the side.

very pretty, very modern, and a well-portioned plate of enough sweet to sate without cloying.

I’ve also tried their fondant previously, and it’s pretty good too – but I’m working my way up to the assiette, which is a two-person platter of dessert. I could really do with one right now.

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