For Alice @ Pavé Chocolates and Confections
Was it love at first sight? I wouldn’t dare say so but one thing we can say for sure is, the feelings were intense!
Weekend dinners around Katong is a very convenient option for us. With me working near Parkway Parade over weekends, and J staying nearby along Haig Road, we’d dined here quite a lot over the last few years, revisiting familiar and favorite joints over and over again. And this area had seen some interesting changes and inclusions over the last year or so. First was the relocation and expansion of Awfully Chocolate, and then new dining places and concepts sprung up. We saw a new Thai restaurant, a new ramen joint, a gelato shop named Coccogelo that does very wicked renditions of flavours like pistachio and “sticky rice”, and a restaurant that does laksa steamboat! Patisseries also score well in this area, with a rather high density of shops like Obolo, Gobi, Temptations, The French Bakery all within walking distance of each other. And then there’s the new kid of the block, Pavé Chocolates and Confections, the latest patisserie cum chocolatier that opened here barely a year back. Oddly, we’d walked past this place several times on our way to and from our usual makan joints but somehow never really felt compiled to step in. Usually its because we were rushing to a reservation somewhere or just too full after dinner. About 2 months’ back we finally did but it was kinda late that day and the selections from the pastry section was very limited and didn’t really appeal to us then. But I made a mental note to check this place out again when we can and last weekend we finally did.
We opted for a takeaway instead of dining in since I didn’t have my camera with me that day and it would be such a waste to not document something from this place. We deliberated over the pastry section, listening intently to the descriptions provided by the lovely staff and at the same time staring hard at each delectable piece of work, hoping for some divine intervention, a sign from the pastry gods to bestow us with any whizz of inspiration. It was at that precise moment when I saw her, in an alluring rouge number, gleaming at us in an almost seductive manner.
I bent down and whispered to her softly if she was interested…ahem. Without a word, she merely smiled back flirtatiously and the deal was sealed.
She followed us back and I’m so glad she did…
A dark and dense chocolate cake base, not unlike a cocoa génoise, and if my nose and tastebuds served me well, infused with a hint of alcohol (kirsch?). deliciously moist.
A layer of dark milk chocolate mousse, very rich and understandably bitter, which I liked.
A stratum of vanilla “crème brûlée” interlaced the two layers of chocolate mousse. Owning to the more intense flavours drawn from the chocolate mousse, I can’t help but feel that the vanilla cream is severely watered down. And I couldn’t make out what’s so “brûlée-like” about it. Were we supposed to have experienced the crackling crunch from caramelised shards of crystalline sugar amidst the soft smooth textures? Or was it a more subtle tinge of bitterness from burnt sugar that was aimed at echoeing the bitterness from the chocolate mousse? Or was it supposed to be creamy and custardy? Whatever the case, we don’t answers to any of those questions. What this layer did do h0wever, albeit in a rather passive manner, was to attempt to bring down the rich overtones from the chocolate mousse which would probably have been overpowering otherwise. Alas we’d expected more from this. After all, a vanilla “crème brûlée” is not something one would regularly find within another cake. Perhaps this part needs some sorting out and reworking.
Another (thinner) layer of chocolate mousse over the vanilla “crème brûlée” before the whole entremet was sliced and then each oblong individually covered with a framboise gelée glaze, using raspberries of the Willamette variety for their “sweet and not-so-overpowering sour flavor“. Raspberries have been a fruit of choice for me, using it whenever I can. I love the tarty vinegary finish they provide when employed, lending an additional dimension of flavor to whomever they accompany. The pas de deux of raspberry and chocolate in dessert-making is magical, and one can hardly find any valid means to nitpick.
And I love love love the embellishment of décor chocolat on all the facades with pearlescent silvered dragées on top. Desserts we’d seen in Singapore are usually dressed with tempered chocolate décor in an utmost
boring ceremonious manner. So this plethoric use of random chocolatey mish-mesh is quite a refreshing change. And somewhat avant garde duncha think?
More hits than misses in our humble opinion, this cake is a rather gourmandising experience. It hints of an all-time favorite, foret noire which shares an almost similar list of ingredients, but “For Alice” strives to make a difference with her unique and somewhat liberal use of dark chocolate mousse and dramatic appeal. This is a dessert for dark chocolate lovers for sure, while the interplay of flavours, especially bitterness and soury tang is definitely for anyone who seeks to be astounded.
Pâtisseries seem to be springing up all over Singapore like mushrooms after a rain, with new names popping up every so often nowadays. This is all very positive news for dessert aficionados. While striving to work out one’s niche and public impression amongst the local crowd, one has to stay very rooted to the fundamentals of dessert making. Pavé ‘s “For Alice” seems to be a wonderful reconciliation of both.
Definitely looking forward to sample Pavé’s other creations.
I wonder who would follow me home next time…
93 East Coast Road,
All other days: 12.30pm to 10.30pm