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Thursday, 2 July 2015

Tea Time at Black and Ink Cafe @ Eunos / Changi

168 Changi Road #01-01 / 02 Fragrance Building, Singapore 419730
Tel: 9620 1022

It was my third attempt at Black & Ink Cafe, and finally managed to catch them OPEN! Located at a commercial building and standing out rather distinctly, it is just a stone's throw away from Eunos MRT. I passed it enroute for meetings at another nearby building, and wanted to check this hidden gem out. Too bad I was always here on Mondays or Tuesdays - the days they are closed.

When I spotted the OPEN sign today, I popped in gaily, and found myself face to face with Roy (@eatwithroy), or more commonly known as "Big Roy". He was really friendly and took pains to ensure that the food was good. "No printed menu yet" was what he informed me, so I chose from whatever was on display - a tough feat since everything seemed to beckon.

I totally dug the vintage chic settings of this monochrome-themed cafe, right down to the old-fashioned "coffee shop" chairs and white marble-topped tables. The quilted mirrored-wall added a touch of elegance, as well as length to the sparkly interior.

From Lavender Earl Grey cakes to Banana Walnut Peanut Butter cakes  to Matcha cakes, as well as an interesting array of fresh-ingrediented, less-sugared gelatos / sorbets, I wish we had a bunch of us here so we could order just about everything.  Nonetheless, I sampled the ice-creams:

(i) Very Dark Chocolate Sorbet - velvety, bittersweet and so rich you won't believe its "sorbet" - their most popular flavour at the moment
(ii) So-Ur Plum - nice wordplay on the word "sour", but so mine.  If you love hints of sourness in your ice-creams, something refreshing and uplifting, this was probably made with you in mind
(iii)  The lidded one was the Mao Shan Wang sorbet - again, so rich and creamy you have a hard time associating it to "sorbet". This was so delicious, it made me think of fresh durian flesh being left in the fridge, and served chilled.

(iv) Then I also sampled the Dirty Vanilla - distinctive flavour a la old-fashioned vanilla, only stronger, a sapid fragrance yet no sickening milky taste to it; the texture was beautiful as well
(v) Yuzu Honey - being an avid yuzu lover, I was pleasantly surprised to note that this flavour was not toned down by sugar, but it was being played up to its fullest citrusy aroma, filling the palette with real yuzu taste, melting the heart instantly.

The ice-creams go for a mere SGD$4.00 a scoop; available in tubs for SGD$18.00 (except for Mao Shan Wang, SGD$22.00).

Ok, getting down to serious coffee business - I asked for an Iced Mocha (SGD$6.00), served in a thick glass that gives it a translucent outline in photos. I love the bittersweet flavour of this coffee, tinged with chocolate tones lurking amongst the tastiness of roasted coffee beans.

Then I had my Earl Grey Lavender Cake (SGD$5.00) and ate it too. Crispy on the outside, with a solid, yet soft texture within, exuding strong notes of lavender and earl grey in every bite. In this unique creation, it was surprising to note (and I noticed it subsciously - emailing away on my tablet while eating) - the nose was able to smell the fragrance of the cake all this while too. The lingering fragrance never wavered, even as the cake was already being chewed into a messy pulp by the eager molars.

Next, the Salted Egg Yolk Muffin (SGD$4.80), which Roy personally recommended, but I had already set my sights on it the moment I came in, because I love all salted egg yolk dishes / pastries. Do not be deceived by the seemingly innocent exterior - the muffin retained crunch, and tasted like digestive-biscuits crumbs, delicious on its own.

Prying apart the top revealed a very pleasant surprise - the pool of yellow, which in Chinese dimsum, we recognize it was "liu sha" (cascading lava custard) in a healthy golden tone. The sandpaper-textured liquid gold flowed over the tongue slowly, settling in nicely - a very lovely muffin overall, and the most special I have ever tried.

Just in case you wonder why I am gushing - no, this was not an invited tasting; and no, I did not know Roy until the accidental stumble upon this cafe. But yes, this is a hidden gem, with the best pastries so far, no fuss or muss with the extra decorations - inviting the flavours themselves to do the talking. So if you are an avid cafe-hopper or pastries-lover, do drop by and try for yourself the fresh, innovative creations.

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