Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sweet Finesse

Canele Patisserie
11 Unity Street, #01-09
Robertson Walk
Singapore 237995

Following on the dinner that I prepared for N (see blog on Madame’s Dinner below), we adjourned to Canele @ Robertson Walk for desserts in the modern chic French tea salon and patisserie. Chef at helm is pastry culinary wizard Pang Kok Keong, one of our national culinary icons in pastry arts and a dessert anchor for the Singapore National Culinary Team. Pang and I have met on different occasions during the National Culinary team rehearsals and presentations. An upcoming rising culinary star, the guy is really cool and hippy whose personality is reflect in the finesse and adventurous creations churns out of the pastry kitchen @ Canele. Barely into his 30s, Chef Pang is the Executive Pastry Chef for the Les Amis Group, over seeing their dessert, pastry and bakery productions across the Group’s various restaurants.
Stepping into Canele which refer to a famous vanilla and rum flavoured custard cake from Bordeaux, France, is like going back to Benarchon (see blog on crème de la crème 27/01/07). This chic little place also has a delightful savoury menu which N and I sampled during our second visit later in the week. On the first occasion, our accessories studded friend was busy in the kitchen testing out new recipes for a new outlet next door when N and I were making selections on display over the counter. Still we managed a wave to one another as a form of camaraderie between craftsmen of the same trade. N was drooling over the desserts while I had a hard time trying to pick on one of his exciting ideas. In the end, we chose a pastry piece named Le Royale and another called Chloe We also added an order of Earl Grey Tea Flavoured Ice Cream with Raspberry Jelly and Milk Chocolate Chards. Complimenting our sweet selections were two special tea blends, the Bushmen Brew and Ruby Chai. The Bushmen Brew evokes calm and soothing sensations like chamomile and has flavours of honeysuckle fragrance. The sweet Indian spiced infused Ruby Chai exhibited aromas of cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon in a harmonious synergy support with vanilla fragrance.
This lovely spiced tea went very well with the Le Royale which was a dark chocolate mousse (64%) laden dessert supported by a layer of chocolate geroise (sponge) an hazelnut nougatine base. The smooth chocolate took on to the spices of the tea like fish to water and in between the bites and sips, it sets off happy bubbles in my mind making relax from the fatigue of a full day workshop earlier.
We also liked another masterpiece known as Chloe for its citrus yoghurt bavuarois and its combination with peaches, rice crispies and Chantilly cream. This dessert evolves a feminine aura around it and the Bush Brew took to it like bees to honey. The finesse in presentation is a proud attribute of Pang’s pastry skills and years of training with his pastry mentors as well as exposure in international culinary competitions. On our second visit, we sampled their Black Forest piece, a classic with a modern touch of innovation. A light chocolate mousse on a base of kirsch soaked chocolate geroise and sour cherries was crowned with a layer of whipped cream and given a coating layer of shiny red berry jelly. A gold leaf studded glazed sour cherry gave the Black Forest an elevated touch of elegance. It’s been a while since I tasted such good Black Forest cake with the kirsch liquer giving a pleasant sensation of warmth as each morsel of cake slides down our throats.
Ice creams are also a specialty of Canele, with me and N sampling two flavours on the two different occasions that we were there. L’armour which again evokes feministic sensations was a subtle rose petal flavoured ice cream with raspberry swirls, served with rose flavoured fondants and lychee petals. The floral bouquet of this creamy dessert had a very appealing aroma similar to fresh rose blooms soaked with morning dew in the highlands. The peach coloured ice cream creamy dimension tasted of condensed milk which raised a familiarity with our local Bandung, a rose syrup and milk flavoured drink.
The more macho Earl Grey Tea Ice Cream with Raspberry Jelly tickled us with memories of downing glasses of “Teh Peng” or condensed milk rich ice teas on hot weather days from traditional Hainanese coffee shops. With the milky tea flavour as a background, the flavour from the oil of bergamot which gives the tea its signature aroma comes through with a subtle note of fragrance. Fresh raspberries and the wafer thin chocolate chards created nice alternatives sensations on our tastebuds in between dainty scoops of the creamy milk tea flavoured ice cream. N found this dessert very innovative and unique while I appreciated the wonders of having your own ice cream machine and a pastry chef like Pang to whip up exotic flavours continuously.
On a savoury note, Canele offers a good selection of house made soups and great sandwiches, simple salads and pasta and a variety of crepes with gourmet fillings. The house salad, Salad Canele was a tossed mixture of mesclun mix, fresh crabmeat, tomato wedges and a citrus zest infused vinaigrette. A generous sprinkling of toasted sunflower and pumpkin kernels give a nutty dimension to the salad, balancing the sharpness of vinegar, bitterness from lettuces and bringing the rest of the ingredients in a perfectly orchestrated harmony.
Usually I am skeptical with roasted chicken filled burgers as most places tend to use overcooked breast meat with tasteless dimensions. N told me that she had heard from somewhere that the Brioche Burger on their menu was a must try specialty. My gamble with their house specialty was rewarded with another kernels laded soft brioche bun and juicy slices of roast chicken, brought to life with mayonnaise, fresh tomatoes, lettuce and a fig jam. I liked the bun for its fluffy softness and those beautiful pieces of warm roasted chicken breasts were just as juicy. Each bite was pure pleasure with the touch of sweet fig jam as a contrast to salty and tangy sensations.
Crepes here are filled with gourmet ingredients ranging from hams to cheeses and smoked salmon. N and I enjoyed a Smoked Salmon and Dill Cream Cheese Crepe with Classic Condiments that consists of red onions and capers. A sprinkle of tossed Mesclun greens gave the salad a beautiful garnish and I appreciated the generous slices of smoked salmon enveloped between the dill flavoured cream cheese and greens.
We have since added Canele into our list of great culinary destinations in SG and N is looking forward to try other sandwiches and exciting items on their menu.

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