Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Never trust a skinny cook"...


...as uttered in good humored jest by the enterprising and loquacious Clement Ronald Ng, chef and owner of Eden Cafe (54 Club Street, S069431, tel : 6536 1181). It's been quite some time since I've last had his desserts which was back at Helio. Having made aware that he had made a batch of creme brulee with ostrich eggs, I decided to drop by for dinner with all the intentions to have a go at the delicious desserts that Clement crafts.



Food at Eden is unsophisticated. Most of the dishes here are of simple design and leans towards being light in flavor. Like the mushroom black pasta. In most cases, black pasta brings forth imageries of squid ink black. Down at this place, the pasta (fettucine) is made in house with toasted black sesame which results in an interestingly textured grey-ish noodle speckled with black bits. Despite the use of toasted black sesame, I found the taste to be quite bland. The pasta is tossed with some fresh sliced button mushrooms and flavored with merely some bits of olives, capers and some sparing sprinkle of powdered parmesan cheese. I honestly think that this dish would be bettered by the use of shaven parmesan. Being a beef kind of guy, I tend to be more discerning when it comes to the associated meat. The brown sauce beef which is of a ribeye cut was a decently medium rare done piece of beef, but definitely wasn't what I would look for in a steak. A marinated beef stew was likewise subdued in flavor, but it being piping hot turned out to be quite the trick for a rainy evening. There was an earl grey milk coffee which was subtly accented by the fragrance of the tea. I personally found the coffee a tad mellow. It's usually thick and milky, or just strong black for me. But let's get to the desserts instead. It's really what I came here for.


Clement has managed to obtain an ostrich egg and has used it to make a small batch of creme brulee. Previously the best that I've had was the one at Lawry's. But that was quite some time back and as I will again regurgitate, memory can be a fickle mistress. Lol. Well, this may just be my new favourite. Almost ethereally light and still creamily smooth, this creme brulee doesn't have as eggy a custard as the regular ones. And yes, the flavor of the custard is from vanilla beans, not artificial flavorings. The sweetness of the custard as explained is from corn extract. Oh, there is usually never added sugar for the desserts. It's all either natural sugars from the ingredients, or already available in them. So I guess in some strange irony, this would be the one naturally sweetened dessert with added sugar for the crispy glazed top.


Undoubtedly, another brilliant star of the night arrived in the form of the hibiscus cheese filo which Clement exclaims has put him up on his minutes of fame on a couple of occasion on television. Back in Helio, I devoured the predecessor which was a strawberry cheese filo. The dessert has apparently transcended from fruit to flower based and it's so good it puts a smile on your face. The fillings of the buttery tasting layered filo pastry are basically a mix of beaten mascarpone cheese and hibiscus. This is something that one has to eat to understand.


The molten chocolate cake here doesn't come hot. In fact it was barely lukewarm, but the cake comes in the form akin to the other molten chocolate cakes. It's soft and lava like. The chocolate wasn't excessively sweet as some which was a good thing for me. However the flavor could have been more robust. As with the previous rendition which was actually a white cake instead of a brown one, these are topped with rum marinated apricots.


These are yoghurt parfaits. I hope I got the name right and I don't remember seeing them on the menu. They tasted like the ice cream yoghurt filled with bits of blueberry and raisins and topped with a dollop of strawberry jam. There was another that had apricots in them which I thought was more agreeable to my palate and might make it's appearance somewhere in the west side in a month or so.

In honesty, how many times do you actually see me take on so much desserts at a go? It's usually not something that most of us are inclined to do from the overload of sugar. I'm hence reminded of how the late Macaron failed spectacularly at attempting to "degust" us all with a multi course dessert array which I had the foresight to augur its demise using mere logic from the not so common sense. One can only take so much sugar high before it no longer gives you that rush. So remember, no added sugar at Eden Cafe.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

hmm...just curious...how does the ostrich egg taste like compared to the chicken egg? :)

LiquidShaDow said...

If you're refering to just the eggs themselves, I really have no idea since I haven't eaten ostrich eggs before.

As for the creme brulee, it's a well made one there, so I can't really say what's the distinction of it between ostrich and chicken egg custard except that this one was exceptionally light. Then again, I thought Lawry's made a rather good light version too.