Henri Charpentier

Henri Charpentier, the famed Japanese patisserie chain, landed on our shores with much fanfare. The fuss has since subsided, so we thought it time to pay a visit. The French-inspired cafe is really gorgeous, in that princessy girlie way, with soft drapes, bright fuchsia hues, cushy recliners and romantic candlelight. Add to that the lush greenery of Dempsey Hill, and I can see myself whiling the time away here at Henri Charpentier while nursing a pot of tea and lapping up a good book.

The charming little cafe has truly beautiful desserts, but taste-wise, was a tad underwhelming. After all the hype about it being Japan's premier patisserie, I was expecting to be blown away. I was expecting a little more finesse, and a lot more nuance. And at just over $100 for 4 persons, I don't think my expectations were too lofty. My take is to get the cakes, which are more value-for-money at about $10 a pop, rather than the fancy schmancy theatrical Singapore-only creations.

I thought the Matcha Opera ($9) layered with white chocolate ganache, almond sponge steeped in matcha syrup, and matcha butter cream was a smidgen saccharine, but a galfriend thought this was perfectly balanced.

The Dome ($29), a chocolate sphere enclosing a chocolate parfait biscuit of fraise d'amande, sounded really impressive and grand.

It was lit up with a minty eau de vie, melting away the sparkly ball.

BUT, the resultant mess, finished with strawberry sauce, was lackluster, and clunky.

The Flower Temptation ($25), a tower of caramelised pineapple saute, dark and caramel chocolate semifreddo mousse, and a sugar bowl flambed with triple sec, was pretty decent, and this got a friend's hearty stamp of approval.

My pick of the lot was the Aquarium ($23), a dainty fish-bowl of vanilla cream nestled with chocolate mousse, fresh strawberries and crunchy chocolate-coated nut clusters, while a hot passionfruit caramel sauce dissolves the chocolate film cap.

The chocolate and peanut-dotted ice-cream is popped into the entire concoction. This was sumptuous but balanced.

Henri Charpentier
9A Dempsey Road
Tel: 6479 5518
Open daily from 11am to 10pm
Website: www.henri-charpentier.com

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