08 Jun 2016
Cold Blue & Pink Coffee ($6.50 Each)
TAC COFFEE, #01-1133, 170 STIRLING RD, S140170. TEL: 9856-6579. OPEN SUN ONLY. 9AM-4PM. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/TACCOFFEE
The milky blue and pink concoctions look a little like the water left over from washing your paintbrushes. But its creators, Hannah Chia, 36, a business development manager, and Lin Jiazhi, 32, who’s in accounting, say: “We wanted the colour blue to represent the masculine taste profile of this coffee blend. Then someone suggested pairing the blue blend with a pink one." The pair, who brews coffee as “a hobby”, has no intention of setting up shop for now. Instead, they’ve been taking over Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee café at Stirling Road every Sunday for over a year with their pop-up coffee biz, TAC Coffee (short for The Artisan Creator’s), to serve up their own blends, specially roasted onsite at Tiong Hoe. TAC’s colourful concoction isn’t your traditional iced coffee — which is basically just hot coffee poured over ice. The grounds for the Cold Blue and Cold Pink are painstakingly steeped in chilled water and stored in the fridge for three days. Apparently, this method of “cold brewing” brings out the natural flavours in coffee’s oils that hot water takes away and also retains more of its caffeine content. Due to this time-consuming process, both beverages are available in extremely limited quantities — only 20 bottles (180ml each) a day.
TASTE TEST: It’s no surprise if you’re not licking your lips in anticipation when presented with a bottle of blue liquid. Studies show that the colour blue is a natural appetite suppressant. Unless you’re an Oompa Loompa, the human brain simply does not respond to that colour in food favourably. That said, the hardest part about downing the well-balanced Cold Blue (coloured with regular food dye) is trying not to bounce off the walls from its considerable caffeine kick. Cold Blue consists of three types of Arabica beans (Indian Monsoon, Sumatran Mandheling and Columbian Supremo) mixed with milk and is a more “macho” blend with a robust body and rich chocolatey notes. Cold Pink, brewed with Indian Malabar, Sumatran Mandheling and Columbian Hulia and also stirred with milk, is a more “feminine” Arabica blend with refreshing floral notes and a creamy nutty finish, which we prefer. Both are addictively refreshing. For those who can’t get past the crazy shades, TAC also has uncoloured versions of both.
BOTTOM LINE: The riotous blends are pretty to look at and are fun icebreakers on awkward first dates, but we’ll stick to the regular brews in future. After all, coffee’s sexy deep caramel hues are part of its appeal.
Photo: Yes, it is coffee: (from left) regular cold brew, cold blue and cold pink.
08 Jun 2016
Rainbow Brownie ($35 for about 1kg)
BROWNIE CONNOISSEUR, TEL: 9181-5687. INSTAGRAM: @BROWNIE.CONNOISSEUR.SG
This looks like beautiful blocks of plasticine mashed together during a kiddie craft session. “We wanted something colourful and eye-catching to attract not only the kids, but adults as well,” says Malaysian Khaledatul Izza, who runs Brownie Connoisseur along with her six siblings, including Khairil Izwan, who heads operations here with his Singaporean wife. This year-old online biz is based in Singapore but originated in Malaysia. Disappointed by what they felt was a lack of quality brownies in the market, the siblings decided to fill the apparent gaping hole with their mum’s recipe for delish brownies instead. Every batch is freshly baked on demand. For the moment, there are no brick-and-mortar stores here. Orders are made via phone or Instagram and delivered ($3 island-wide).
TASTE TEST: We like the dense and cakey texture of the white chocolate-based Rainbow Brownie stuffed with banana chunks. It kinda tastes like a richer banana cake with creamy undertones, but we wish they’d skip the banana essence, which has a distinctly artificial flavour. The brownie is made from a lighter white choc batter instead of the usual brown stuff as it allows the colours to come through more clearly. While we can’t fault how moist and rich these rainbow-bright blocks are, the idea of ingesting that much “premium food colouring powder” just isn’t very appealing.
BOTTOM LINE: Get this only if you’re ordering it for a kid’s party — or a hippie who can’t bear to throw out his tie-dye T-shirts from the ’60s. We’d order their regular fudgy Double Drizzle Brownie smothered with chocolate ganache and salted caramel sauce instead.
08 Jun 2016
Puffone Gelato ($6.30)
CHURN CREAMERY, 124 TANJONG PAGAR RD, S088533. OPEN DAILY NOON-11PM MON-FRI; 2PM-11PM SAT; 2PM-10PM SUN. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/CHURNCREAMERYSG
The gelato at this cosy shop is like a pretty palate of pastel watercolours, its hues mostly from fruit. But that's not what’s interesting here — the frozen treats come sitting atop a “puffone” (a puffy cone, geddit?), a flaky handmade puff pastry cone filled with molten chocolate. It’s created by the young towkays here, three twentysomething baking buddies who met while pursuing their Pastry and Bakery diplomas in At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy. The 28-seater café, which was set up last August, stocks 18 ever-changing flavours of gelato and a tap that trickles decadent dark chocolate sauce.
TASTE TEST: Although the consistency of the gelato here is a little thin and not as creamy as we’d like, it boasts full-bodied flavours. Apart from its radioactive green tinge (this one dyed with food colouring), we quite like the Mint Stracciatella. Instead of regular chocolate chips, bits of choc shards are used here. We love the combination of bittersweet chocolate against the refreshing blast of mint when the thin chocolate blades melt in our mouth. Also a winner is the salty and tangy Blueberry Cheesecake with digestive biscuit crumbs. The fragrant Thai Tea-infused gelato, too, goes down well. As for the adorable-looking ‘Puffones’, sadly, they reek of stale oil, leave an unpleasant bitter aftertaste and have a cardboard-like texture. Not even the sinfully rich oozy chocolate filling at the bottom of the cone can save it.
BOTTOM LINE: The gelato here is not bad, but pair it with the regular crispy chocolate-filled wafer cone ($1) instead of the cute but underwhelming puffone.
08 Jun 2016
Pink Soy Latte ($6)
AFTERGLOW, 24 KEONG SAIK RD, S089131. TEL: 6224-8921. OPEN DAILY EXCEPT SUN. NOON-2.30PM; 5.30PM-11PM MON-TUE; 5.30PM-1PM WED-THUR; NOON-2.30PM & 5.30PM-11PM FRI-SAT. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/AFTERGLOWSG/
This oh-so-pretty Pink Soy Latte, made with cold-pressed beetroot juice, ginger, cinnamon and organic soy milk is courtesy of "vegetarian, farm-to-table" café, Afterglow. "We're always experimenting with our food to break the norms of how flavours are perceived,"says restaurant manager, Elson Teo. "When we were juicing veggies and making coffee, we decided why not mix the two together?" Apart from drinks like cold-pressed juices, craft beers and teas, this hipster-approved joint which prides itself on using non-processed, non-genetically modified produce, also serves super healthy dishes like raw vegan lasagne and salads.
TASTE TEST: You know what they say: things that are good for you rarely taste good. That much is true for this caffeine-free Pink Soy Latte. Sweetened with natural sugars from the frothed soy, it looks and even smells pretty, but saying it’s an acquired taste is an understatement. Even with the punchy spiciness of the ginger and cinnamon, the raw, earthy taste of beetroot is still unpleasant. Sadly, it didn’t grow on us.
BOTTOM LINE: Stick to admiring this pink cuppa on your Instagram feed. You’re better off sipping on the also-new Cocolatte ($6), which is much kinder on your taste buds. A shot of strong espresso is topped with steamed milk and an aromatic dash of coconut oil for a rich, nutty version of bulletproof coffee, a coconut oil-spiked cuppa popular with fitness buffs.