Monday, December 10, 2007

Interesting Shops in Tiong Bahru

Cafe Pralet

There were many happy discoveries in the simple menu, which offers both Western and Asian favourites. Cool Chef

Thu, Dec 06, 2007
AsiaOne - Wine, Dine & Unwind
First posted in CoolChef

Cafe Pralet is the latest extension by Creative Culinare, a well known pastry and bakery school that provides baking classes and consultancy services. It is the showcase for Chef Judy Koh's inspirations and creative talents in pastry arts and bakery.

The cafe has two dining concepts - a formal area to handle the more challenging dishes on the menu and a cozy patio for coffee, tea, pastries and nibbles. There are books on a variety of subjects, as well as wireless internet access for those who live by the net. Or one could just simply laze and watch the world go by in old Tiong Bahru.

There were many happy discoveries in the simple menu, which offers both Western and Asian favourites. The small Asian selection includes curry, ayam tempra, laksa and mee siam. There are also made-to-order sandwiches and salads, chops, pasta and fish and chips. There are also snack breads with different fillings and cookies as well as festive specialties. The pastry selection is based on Judy's inspiration of the moment. Best of all, the prices are very reasonable, considering the ambience and quality.

The fish and chips are the best we've ever had in a cafe setting. Crusted with crispy buttery batter, the entire piece of white dory (or Vietnamese catfish as it should be more correctly known), took up more than half of the space of the dinner plate and required an extra serving of tartare sauce and chili sauce. More importantly the food was serving piping hot - crucial for a dish that is deep fried - and the chunky quality catfish free of any "mud taste". Given the serving that we enjoyed, it costs less than $10 per order! An excellent value-for-money item.

My wife loved the low-calorie laksa. To meet its claim, very little (I suspect none) coconut milk used in the preparation, yet it still manages to achieve the right level of richness. The freshly chopped laksa leaves reinforce the dish's character despite the absence of the other key element.

My mum enjoyed her Mee Siam. The sour assam-flavoured gravy had a decent pungency of fermented soya beans and was enriched with the right tinge of coconut milk, giving it a nice aroma.

When it comes to their pastries, the most celebrated piece would be Judy's signature's Pralet. Chocoholics will love this ganache layered piece of indulgence elegantly topped with a small piece of gold leaf. The base is supported by a crispy wafer crust and the ganache tastes of quality bitter chocolate with a nice gentle sweetness. It goes excellently with coffee or tea.

L-R: Chef Judy's signature Pralet, brownie with rum & raisin ice-cream, and Bavarian Kirschtorte, aka Black Forest Cake.

The brownies here are much lighter on the palate and resemble a combination of moist chocolate cake and fudge, specked with chunky pieces of walnuts in between. Best of all, the home-made rum and raisin ice-cream topping this brownie will sent you on a "high" with its intense flavour.

One of my favourite sponge cakes is the Bavarian Kirschtorte or more commonly known as Black Forest Cake. Unfortunately many local chefs distort this wonderful recipe by using non dairy pastry whip, maraschino cherries, chocolate rice and an absence of any flavoured liquor. Experiencing Judy's creation was like rediscovering a lost heritage. The whipped cream, the sour cherries, the liquor-soaked chocolate sponge and the chocolate shavings? everything was there in the right proportions.

A patisserie cannot do without a brulee hence Judy puts out a classic version for all cr?me brulee aficionados. The rich creamy custard is a steal for its price but it will be ridiculous to expect real vanilla for it. Nonetheless the custard still merits a mention for its rich and silky smooth texture. It left a very pleasant and smooth aftertaste in the tongue. I found the caramel crust a little too thick for my liking but that's an issue that can be easily resolved.

Beside the cream based pastries, another house specialty is the Baked Guava Tart. A cross between an apple pie and an Austrian Linzer, the filling is made with a unique mix of fresh guavas and spices. A lovely crust made with crushed crackers and nuts provides the perfect contrast between crust and filling. It is great with coffee!

We cannot wait to return to Cafe Pralet for another lazy weekend afternoon sometime soon.

Cafe Pralet by Creative Culinaire
Eng Hoon Mansion #01-03/04,17
Eng Hoon Street,(S) 169767
Tel: 63241663

Coolchef is a local professional chef who cooksm blogs, educates and lives life to the fullest with his wife in Singapore. A former CIA & SHATEC alumni, accredited with the Global Chefs Advisory Board, at-Sunrice The Singapore Culinary Academy, Coolchef seeks out gastronomic experiences and picks up culinary knowledge of different cuisines from his work in different countries during the course of his career. Keen to share his knowledge and expertise, Coolchef is also a visiting Guest Chef Instructor with People's Association.

1 comment:

tiong bahru gal said...

We went there on 2 occasions - the curry chicken and ayam tempra were both very good! But I think they are 'daily dishes', served only on certain days. Enjoy!