2am Dessert Bar – Contemporary Desserts with Wine Pairings

22 10 2012

It’s no secret Singapore lacks a wine culture. For most, the urge to splurge on a bottle of wine costing as much as the meal itself just doesn’t seem all that appealing. It doesn’t help that when a wine menu arrives, one meets lines and lines of words that seem all too foreign. Not wanting to buy something that we might not enjoy, we typically settle for a lesser soft drink or a more approachable beer.

Harbouring such feelings for the longest time, I decided to take a little more initiative over the past 2 months by attending wine tastings. Rather than just buying bottles off the rack, I think wine tastings are the best way to get a crash course on wine appreciation. That’s because by trying different wines one after another, you will be better able to appreciate the subtle and not so subtle differences between different labels.

The latest wine tasting I attended was at 2am Dessert Bar, an event organized by the SMU Wine Appreciation Club. I paid a nominal fee of $30 for 3 desserts with wine pairings and if you are vaguely aware of 2am’s price catalogue, you would have realized that I probably saved about $90, much thanks to SMU subsidizing my meals! Now you now why SMU charges school fees that are 20% higher than NUS’s and NTU’s…

While there’s classical fare like Tiramisu, Cheesecake and Chocolate Cake available, I’d imagine that 2am prides itself more on creating contemporary desserts that play on all your senses. To enhance the whole dessert experience, every dessert on the menu also comes with a recommended wine pairing. Friend R tried their degustation menu a while back and told me for one of the courses, she was given a test tube smelling of Popcorn to whiff at while having her Popcorn dessert. Interesting much?

The first dessert I had was the Popcorn ($17++) but it wasn’t the same one as what R got previously if that’s why you are wondering. It’s a creative concept, where 2 different types of popcorn mousses (sweet and salty) sprinkled with dehydrated popcorn are at the opposite ends of the dish, with Passionfruit sorbet in the centre. The silky popcorn mousses totally worked for me, with both varieties tasting exactly how actual popcorn tastes like. Despite being polar opposites, I still found trouble deciding on my favorite. My only gripe was that the sorbet was extremely sour, much too sharp for the delicate tasting popcorn mousse in my humble opinion.

Pairing this dessert was Prophet’s Rock Pinot Gris Central Otago 2oo8 ($18++), a white wine from New Zealand. Despite taking down tasting notes, I shan’t go into describing the wines because I believe the articulation of wine flavours varies quite greatly from person to person and I’d hate to sound like a pretentious snob saying the wine tastes of vanilla, pine nuts and lychee.

For the 2nd dessert, I had the Kayambe H2O ($18++), which is essentially Chocolate Rocks with Caramel, a Burnt Caramel ball, Chocolate Soil and Yuzu Sorbet, made using 72% Michel Cluizel Chocolate (a French chocolate with 72% cocoa content), and Evian water. This dessert didn’t quite agree with me as the chocolate comes across as a little too heavy. The best thing in this dish was probably the yuzu sorbet.

This dessert was paired with Finca Constancia Petit Verdot & Syrah 2010 ($21++), a red wine from Spain that smells of matured fruit (imagine stewed fruit) rather than fresh ones. Anyway a random wine tip I learnt at this juncture was that as red wines get older, it gets a lighter shade. When white wines get older, it gets a darker shade.

Lastly, I had the Cheese Avalanche ($18++), a deconstructed Cheesecake with Biscotti, Candied Figs, Spanish Corn and sous vide Cantaloupe (a classy synonym for Rock Melon). My favourite of the 3 desserts, I was amazed at how balanced this dish was in flavour. The cheesecake was smooth but by itself, it would have been merely pleasant and uninteresting. I liked how the rock melon cubes added the extra sweetness while the spanish corn (tastes like those corn snacks you get from Philippines) added a savoury tone and distinct crunch.

This dessert was paired with Pauleczki Tokaji 3 Hungary 2000 ($16++), a sweet dessert wine that goes down pretty smoothly, downplaying the actual alcohol content.

Desserts take centre stage at 2am Dessert Bar so apart from the few snacks like Fries and Drumlets, there isn’t much “proper food” here. Then again, you might be surprised at how 3 desserts can fill you up quite nicely for dinner.

2am Dessert Bar

21A Lorong Liput, Holland Village

Tel: +65 6291 9727

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1 Caramel – The 4th Visit

17 09 2010

Are Women really from Venus and Men from Mars? Evidently, our diets do differ on the most fundamental of levels. Most men enjoy cheap food that is massive in quantity, messy(think full rack ribs with much gravy) and not necessarily all that palatable as long as it fills the tummy. Women enjoy their food petite, aesthetically pleasing with a focus on taste and presentation. Men thrive on mains while women on starters and desserts. At least that’s my take…

In an attempt to attain the status of a New Age Man, the male equivalent to the Tai Tai, my resolution in the fine art of dessert appreciation had advertently led me to 1 Caramel, a place known for it’s chic setting and overpriced albeit laudable desserts.

-An excerpt from my previous post on 1 Caramel

Ever since I have gotten to know the existence of 1 Caramel, I have been endeavoring to slowly but surely make my way through it’s lengthy cake menu. Today marked my 4th visit to 1 Caramel and I’m still only halfway there. Yet, each new visit has filled me with new insights, intrigue and wonder, never ceasing to brighten up my day.

There are some things that are worth ordering over again and again simply because it’s just too awesome. In this case, it’s the highly raved about Strawberry Shortcake($8.90++). The Strawberry cream and cake batter is especially light. This is one cake you will never get tired of.

I would have preferred the Chocolate Berry Lust($8.90++) to be without the Berries. I know it’s presence was to cleanse the palate and not allow the chocolate to become threateningly cloying but it’s acidic sharp sour tones was a bit too much that I had to set the berries aside.

Another chocolate based cake, this time in the form of the Chocolate Slut($8.90++). “Multiple layers of chocolate flourless sponge, caramel peanut butter mousse, marshmallow chunks, crispy struesel dough and glazed with dark rich coating”. Need I say more? It wasn’t as cloying as I expected it to be though, the chocolate was a bit too runny for me and I wished for a denser consistency of rich peanut butter.

The Tea-ramisu($7.90++) here was pretty decent too. Instead of Espresso or Rum, it seems that the Finger Sponge was soaked in Tea instead, giving rise to a unique tiramisu taste that I couldn’t easily place my finger on.

1 Caramel does customization of cakes too! Some of the designs are really out of this world and very lifelike, ranging from Chanel Bags, iPhones etc. I highly recommend checking out their facebook photos page, it’s a serious eye opener. There was a wedding cake being displayed there today and I think this modern take is an improvement from the traditional wedding cake.

Ideal for knocking back a cuppa while nibbling on a slice of heaven, 1 Caramel is a must visit for dessert enthusiasts, especially those who have a thing for inspiring French Cakes with a Japanese twist.

Bon Appetit!

1 CARAMEL

6 HANDY ROAD, #01-01A THE LUXE

TEL: +65 6338 3282








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