Blk 10 Dempsey Hill, Singapore 247697
T: +65 6479 8119
9A Dempsey Road, Singapore 247698
T: +65 6479 5518
11am-10pm (closed every Tue until end of Nov)
|Concept||French-inspired Australian bakery, patisserie, cafe. Used to be award-winning, but if you Google it, you’ll find articles on the downfall of Becasse Australia.||French-inspired Japanese patisserie since 1969. 82 outlets in Japan. Singapore hosts its first overseas outlet.|
|Specialities||Dunno. That’s the problem when you don’t have a website to recommend food to customers. Seems to be macarons, which are on everything, in drinks and waffles. But they were deflated, hard, and limp.
When having Bakerzin’s macarons, my friend commented they were awful. I replied, “I had Becasse’s macarons yesterday; I think Bakerzin’s macarons are awesome.” That was how low Becasse had set the bar.
|Crepe suzette, cakes, madeleine, and financier.
The madeleine ($2.90 each) and financier ($2.90) were divine, but tasted similar. The financier had an eggy smokiness, whereas the madeleine was more complex, with a hint of lemon, and ginger-like heat from Jamaican rum.
They are also sold in boxes, typical for gifts in Japan.
|Decor||A hall with a clean contemporary feel.||Fuchsia, feminine, a relaxing view of trees.|
|Service||Some Australians, and some pinoys. Casual, laidback.||Typical of Japanese efficiency, only two Japanese waitresses and a Japanese manager.
He had an uppity, stiff attitude, but he did it so well it wasn’t offensive. In fact, it was attractive. When giving us the bill, a waitress knelt! I felt like a feudal lord. They bowed goodbye when we left.
If you’re a white man having postcolonial hang-ups, welcome.
|Clientele||Angmohs, and taitais who looked like they gave their toyboys a day off.||Either Japanese taitais or fancy local taitais with posh accents, big pompadours, makeup like it’s the 80s, super white high-collared shirts, so white they reflected light. If they were not wearing white, they were in either nautical theme or complicated motifs of link chains in green, red, gold colors.|
Wagyu burger ($26): tasty with layers of very salty bacon. Though a little raw when I requested for medium, I still relished it.
But seems like you’ve to season everything yourself. The fries needed salt, and so did the Becasse club ($19). The bread was over-toasted to give it a crisp, which I liked. Rather healthy with chicken breast.
We had the savory afternoon tea ($20, 3-6pm), which had 4 savory, 4 sweet items, and a drink. Good value, since a drink already costs $6+. From the savory items, the ham-and-cheese sandwich was crispy, buttery, so rich–loved every bite.
Not many options. And the two items we had were done badly. The croque-monsieur Parisien ($18) was a tiny sliver of bread – couldn’t they give the entire slice for that price? And while it was aromatic with gruyere, it was dry, and the bread tasted generic.
Beef bourguignon ($29) came steaming, but when we ate it, it was tough and chilled. (I suspected it was microwaved.) Just go for the sweets.
Both times we had the waffles, it was terrible, dry texture, and tasted artificial.
The chocolate from the afternoon tea set, however, was out of this world: intense and tasted like essence of chicken.
Ordered the dome ($29) because I had seen photos of a burning ball, like flying, burning skulls in Chinese pugilistic movies with evil priests–super photogenic. I was very upset when my ball didn’t burn!!! It just disintegrated without flames!
Let’s fix this, let’s Katniss-Everdeen-Catching-Fire out of it:
Relight my fire! Your love is my only desire…
Though it didn’t burn, it was complex. It had a little crispy biscuit; sweet, cold, creamy parfait; and an intoxicating bitterness, which ironically wouldn’t be there if the alcohol caught fire. I don’t usually like the combination of chocolate and strawberry, but this dessert had such a balance of richness and tartness, I enjoyed it very much.
|Drinks||The iced teas ($6+) were inconsistent over the 4 or 5 times I was there, sometimes amazing, sometimes dull. When they were good, the Honey lemon earl gray was fragrant and refreshing, and mint garden had a fizz that tasted almost alcoholic, like a mojito.
The salted caramel and toffee popcorn milkshake ($8) was a balance of thickness and smoothness, sweet but palatable, and had popping candy, which made the drink fun. Too bad about the lousy macaron.
|Expensive. A glass of tea can go up to $14. Acidic, difficult coffee ($8), but my matcha latte ($11.50) had the deep bitter-sweetness of green tea.|
|Price||We went 4 or 5 times, paying different prices each time. Generally, we paid about $25-$50 each.||Paid $125 for two. OUCH.|
|Pros(+) & Cons(-)||(+) Free parking
(+) Plenty of seats
(+) Free wifi
(+) Wide selection of savory food
(-) Limited online presence. It’s almost 2015, catch up with the times.
(-) Lukewarm service.
|(+) Free parking
(+) Soothing view of trees
(+) Tables wide apart to enable private conversations
(-) Limited and bad savory food
(-) No reservations
|Conclusion||The food was passable. It was quiet with plenty of seats, and the servers, though nonchalant, left us alone. We’ve been here several times already. Don’t mind going back because there is free parking.||Costly. The mains were abysmal, but the sweets were of quality, thoughtful, and ethereal. I feel more akin to the Japanese culture than to Australian, so I’d hang out here only if I strike lottery.|
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.