I bet most of you would have heard about this classy French-inspired Japanese patisserie by now, ever since their grand opening in the lush Dempsey Hill last year (they’re located right next to House @ Dempsey, yet another one of my favorite hangouts in the area). I’ve long wanted to be here but somehow haven’t gotten the chance till last month to do so. I remember looking longingly at their glamorous entrance to the restaurant, laid out for you with a hot (close to neon) pink carpet. Stepping on it almost makes you feel like a celebrity attending a glitzy event.
And if you’ve heard about Henri Charpentier, you would’ve probably come to know about their top 2 main desserts on the menu – their Crepe Suzette ($22) and Dome ($29). The highlight of both desserts is that the waiters will flambé (alighting the food with alcohol) personally next to your table. This factor alone justifies the price tag. For the Crepe Suzette ($22), the server would first prepare the zesty sauce in the pan, followed by adding 40% Grand Marnier cognac. Finally he adds in the two slices of crepes. Don’t tear your eyes off the burst of dancing blue flames. The resultant crepes are thin, soft and silky, sliding right into your mouth, and the sauce is buttery, orange-y and with an alcoholic touch to it. The bitter aftertaste of the alcohol is overshadowed by the sweet and zesty sauce too. Wish I could’ve more.
As for the Dome ($29), strawberry liqueur is first heated by the server and then poured over the chocolate-coated sphere, resulting in a flambé engulfing the ball. The chocolate sphere then melts to reveal a chocolate parfait biscuit of fraise d’ amande. Before digging in, the server pours some strawberry sauce over the melted dome. The entire dome was a great mix of fresh, molten strawberries and melting chocolate. The interplay of smooth, creamy textures from the strawberry and chocolate mix and crunchy textures from the almonds enhanced the dessert pretty well. I momentarily forgot about the crepes I had earlier.
We also got to savour the Afternoon Tea Set ($35 per pax) which is available on weekdays from 1-6pm – expect a three-tiered dessert stand of macarons, madeleines, financiers, glass shooters, creme brulee, mini almond tarts, apple scones, smoked salmon and parma ham canapes, a piece of crepe suzette and a beverage. Amongst all, the madeleines and financiers stole and shared the limelight. Both were adequately soft and very authentic – comparable to the ones in France. The apple scones were very soft and fluffy on the inside too. Unfortunately some of the other items were not up to standards, especially the macarons which had no crisp in their shells. Their meringues also lacked a distinctive flavor.
Otherwise, there is also the Sandwich & Cake Set ($35) comes with a soup of the day, a piece of crepe suzette, ratatouille and a slice of cake – I picked the Matcha Opera which was rather memorable. The alternating layers of matcha and sponge cake complemented each other in such a way that the cake is neither overly rich nor sweet.
If you’re looking specifically for a strawberry shortcake as a birthday cake, look no further than their Chantilly Fraise ($64.20 for 15cm cake). It had very soft and airy sponge layers with a mild sweetness to it. I rarely have strawberry cakes because of the heavy cream content, but even the fresh cream layers on this cake were not overbearing at all. I shared this with my relatives and everyone kept wanting for more! On a side note, they also offer delivery services which might be a better option to consider when getting this cake since it is a little unstable.
Apart from the few subpar goodies, the experience here is stellar. The ambience makes you feel at ease and the service staff is attentive. I don’t deny that the desserts are expensive, but I think they are worth the money. P.S. Check out the heated toilet seats. Truly Japanese.
9A Dempsey R0ad
Open 11am – 10pm daily
This is a Crystal Wee X WAttention collaboration.