Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Places to chill in Singapore

  My family practically lives in cafes around Singapore. When you talk about a place to chill, especially in sunny Singapore, you can never run away from the countless Spinelli's, Starbucks and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (CBTL) chains dotting our little island. In these cafes, the food is usually microwaved and served, and the drinks people usually order are the ice-blended drinks. Thus, this is a guide to what's good and what should be avoided like the plague, in the popular cafes here.

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf


Fruit cake
This, as well as the log cake below, were rolled out in celebration of the Christmas season. This cake was moist and had the perfect cake-texture. I am not fond of fruit cakes but I enjoyed this very much! It was not too sweet and the fruity bits were yummy!



Log cake
Also exclusive to the Christmas period, this log cake was the devil's delight. The coating of dark chocolate on top of the cake was dusted with powdered white sugar, but was not overbearingly sweet. The cream within the log cake was also rich and mousse-like. Divine.



Tart frozen yoghurt
I love CBTL's frozen yoghurt, but I am very unsure about the amount of sugar in it, so I hardly order it. Anyway, this tart "flavour" (if it can even be considered that) is very tangy and, well, tart. I love how it is refreshingly cool yet not sickeningly sweet like ice-cream. If you are not a fan of sour things, then I would suggest you get the Mango Peach blended frozen yoghurt. Although it is definitely more expensive than the regular tart flavour, it is really delicious and slightly sweet!



Raisin cheesecake
This was absolutely glorious. I loved the creamy yet not-too-thick cheesecake and the plump raisins that surprised me with each forkful. The cake's base was not as crisp as I would have liked, but the cheesy and creamy cheesecake layer made up for that. Of course, after eating the whole cake, you will feel extremely guilty as this is the epitome of devilish desserts.



Chicago cheesecake
This cheesecake is much like the raisin cheesecake, sans raisins. The base is a lot more firm though, so many plus points for that! I enjoyed eating the cheesy cake along with a little bit of the biscuit-like base together. It was so cheesy and so good.



Flourless chocolate cake
This is, no joke, the flourless chocolate cake. I am absolutely convinced that no flour was used at all. If you think that this cake has spongy cake layers in between, well, you are so wrong. This cake was not even a cake, it was leaning towards the mousse family! It was like eating a triangular slice of chocolate. Not that I'm complaining, but the richness of the chocolate gets a little sickening after a while. Nonetheless, this is really good for sharing.


 

Mixed fruit cheesecake
Just like the other cheesecakes, the cheesy cake is my favourite part of the cake. The mixed fruits were more like dried fruits used in fruit cakes.



White Chocolate Cherry cake
The cherries were plump and juicy, but the white chocolate cake layer was lacking in more ways than one. What a disappointment! I would love to order the cherries and pretty pink chocolate shavings alone, but as for the white chocolate cake bit, I would give a miss.




Warm Chocolate cake
This is CBTL's version of the chocolate lava cake. Unfortunately, there is no runny, gooey, molten hot chocolate center. Instead, a thick chocolate cream filling awaits you in the middle of this teacup-shaped cake. The dusting, or blanketing, of powdered sugar is not very appealing either. I guess you could give this a try if you enjoy your lava cake un-flowing and spongy.



Clockwise from right: Double Chocolate muffin, Eggs Ben, U.S. Cranberry muffin

Double Chocolate muffin: (see below)

Eggs Ben: Nothing like the eggs Benedict you would expect of any decent restaurant. The egg is not runny, and thus does not qualify to be honoured the title of a poached egg. The ham and melted cheese on the bread is nice, but if that's what you're going for, there really is no point spending $8 on this. You might be better of with a good ol' ham and cheese sandwich.

U.S. Cranberry muffin: I have no idea why the name is as such, but this is, in my opinion, CBTL's best muffin. I love the dried cranberry bits, and the muffin is fluffy and soft, but not crumbly-soft. It has a very cake-y texture and is fruity enough to deceive you into thinking that you are eating a healthy meal.



Chicken Mushroom fusilli
This is not good at all. The only thing decent about it is the mushrooms and perhaps the cream sauce. The shreds of chicken are hard and too chewy, and the pasta is just bland!



Egg Club Sandwich
The ham and cheese sandwich with a marked up price along with a fancier (not so) name. It is delicious, but not really worth its price. After all, what is so complicated (and expensive) about slices of ham and cheese in a sandwich?



Salmon Brioche
The egg was runny for this one, and the brioche was sweet and fluffy. Absolutely wonderful! The hollandaise sauce was soaked up by the brioche breads, which did worry me a little (oh, the calories!) but then it was pointless to avoid the sea of yellow on the plate! The salmon bits were a bit too few for my liking though. It is not me being greedy here, as the amount of salmon on the bread is really...why did I pay $12 for this again? Again, special mention has to be made of the brioche bread. I would gladly eat the brioche on its own!



Plain bagel
I love the bagel and how it is so crispy when it is freshly toasted! If you buy the bagel with the set, you get a tub of Philadelphia cream cheese for free. Usually, it costs seventy cents. However, the bagel is not very filling, and is actually akin to eating plain bread...you be the judge.



Double Chocolate muffin
This may look tempting on the counter, but it is really bad. The muffin lacks the rich chocolate taste and is overly crumbly. It literally would be an achievement to get a forkful of muffin without it breaking into bits.



Iced hazelnut latte
I could taste the sugar crystals, which was a rather sweet yet fun experience when drinking. The hazelnut flavour was not strong enough, though. I would prefer the hazelnut ice blended drink.



Spinelli


Apple crumble
The apple pie/crumble/whatever is really crumbly! I loved the crumbly bits (the pastry?) more than the caramelized apple slices. The apple slices were rather big and long, and were kind of the main ingredient for the pastry. There were raisin bits too, which further brought out the sweetness of the whole dessert. It can be a rather boring choice of cake though.



Lemon Yuzu Tea Cake (Low Fat)
How is this low in fat? Oh wait, perhaps it makes up for it by being high in sugar. There is a whole layer of icing sugar on top of this cake! The worst thing is that the sugar actually tastes amazing. It is tangy and tart, bursting with citrus flavour. I enjoyed the cake as well, even though it was a little dry.




Sea Salt Caramel Chocolate cake
This is the best cake in Spinelli's, imo. I could only find this at the Novena (VeloCity) outlet though. The sea salt was embedded with the layers of caramel and complemented the chocolate flavour of the cake most perfectly. There were thick chocolate ganache layers as well, altogether making for a sinful yet most pleasing dessert.



Cookie spin
It was very creamy, but quite delicious as a whole. The cookie bits were not big enough to munch and crunch on, sadly.



Hazelnut Chocolate spin
My all-time favourite drink! I love how the chocolate is swirled with the blended ice, and the hazelnut flavour is extremely prominent. This is always something I order every time I visit Spinelli.


Starbucks


Molten Chocolate cake
This was too chocolate-y and dense for me. The chocolate was gooey and molten inside, but the chocolate was really too overwhelming for me to enjoy the cake. On the bright side, the cake looks really pretty and delicious, no?



Verona Mascarpone Chiffon cake
This is does not look appetizing and definitely does not taste good as well. The cake is too dry and too bland, save for the shoddy attempt at richness using a chocolate ganache on top. What a disappointment!




White Chocolate Raspberry Brûlée
This is the mother of all cheesecakes (although it isn't called a cheesecake). The raspberry is very sweet and the cake is cheesy yet light! The base has a "healthy" taste to it, probably because it has granola ground up in it? I don't know, but whatever it is, I love it.



Red bean green tea frappuccino
Tip: Always ask for extra red beans! I love the green tea blend and the red beans make me reminisce the days when I sucked up tapioca pearls while drinking bubble tea. The red beans all settle towards the bottom and you will be delighted whenever you suck up a red bean (or two!)


Mocha Cookie Crumble frappuccino
Yes, there is a very cookie-like flavour to this but it is just too blah for me. If you enjoy chocolate-y drinks, this is probably your glass slipper!


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