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Monday, 2 February 2015

Afternoon Tea at Henri Charpentier @ Dempsey Hill

9A Dempsey Road, Singapore 247698
Tel: 6479 5518

Prancing across the fuchsia walkway along a secluded block at  Dempsey Hill, one stumbles into a very stunning French-inspired Japanese cafe, named Henri Charpentier.  There is nothing short of seductive about this sultry setting - complete with wine colored carpeting, silken champagne drapes, and cushy armchairs overlooking lush greenery.

I knew I had to be here way before I stepped in - the first outlet outside of Japan, and it is in Singapore itself. The wide array of pastries such as Mont Blanc (chocolate), mille-crepe, lemon tarts, strawberry shortcakes were vivacious in colors and tempting to the tongue.

We took a seat back so that we could dissect the menu to see what else was instore. But first, I had to have an Iced Muscat Tea (SGD$8.50) first - black tea with rich aroma of jade-coloured Muscat grapes. Living true to its name, the tea tasted good even without adding sugar syrup (provided on the side), the strong flavor of grapes was evident in this tea itself, pure and natural. Imagine grape juice without all the artificial sweeteners and fizz - how refreshing!

*Kandie had the Iced Royal Milk Tea (SGD$13.80), which was highly raved in reviews. Actually, it tasted just like any other milk tea.... maybe just smoother in texture?  We felt this drink was overpriced and overrated, but the view outside our floor-to-ceiling glass windows made up for it.

Then we ordered their famous Dome (SGD$29.00) - chocolate sphere enclosing a chocolate parfait biscuit of fraise d'amande.

The perfect chocolate ball was carted over with the portable stove, and we watched in amazement as the Japanese crew began to pour heated alcohol over the sphere, ignite it into a beautiful flambe like a show literally - the chocolate cover began to shed and strip into the strawberry and almond center.

This was when the signature Dome was served onto our table, disintegrated into an almost unrecognizable form. We were tempted to applaud but held back. The first to late bite were tantalising - rich in chocolatey flavor but not overpowering; enhanced with a little tartiness of strawberry and crunchiness of the almonds.

After watching the live transformation of the Dome, we were now treated to another performance for the other symbolic must-have - the Crepe Suzette (SGD$22.00) - created by French chef Henri Charpentier for whom this patisserie is named after.

This comprises of a thin crepe cooked by hand in a copper pan. We watched her prepare the mixture of orange juice, butter and liqueur , and let it heat, afterwards she transferred the delicate crepes gently over to the boiling sauce.

Another sizzler of a flambe was created, before she slowly transferred the warm dessert and sweet sauce to plates for us.

The crepe was silky as described, soft but not brittle. There was a distinctive sweetness to it, infused beautifully by the orange-butter sauce with heavy hints of liqueur. We loved alcohol-infused items, so this was definitely the one for us, a blissful mixture of flavors.

Overall, we enjoyed this beautiful patisserie cafe and the personable service, as well as delectable desserts. The only flaw it has would be the steep price for desserts - a little tweak, and this place would be heaven on earth.

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