Cheap & Good

Coconut tarts with sponge-like filling from Max Cafe at Lucky Plaza

Coconut Tarts with thin, buttery crust, sponge-like fillling and lots of desiccated coconut.
Coconut Tarts with thin, buttery crust, sponge-like fillling and lots of desiccated coconut.ST PHOTO: NATASHA ANN ZACHARIAH

In a bid to eat healthy, I have been trying to avoid sweet treats.

But my poor willpower almost always means I cave in when I am near a confectionery. So, when the Almond Toast ($3) and Coconut Tart ($1) from Max Cafe in Lucky Plaza are in front of me, I am ready to devour them.

The Almond Toast is made with a slice of bread slathered with butter, sugar and housemade almond paste. It is liberally topped with crunchy almond flakes and toasted for about five to seven minutes. A dusting of powdered sugar goes on top before it is served.

I am pleasantly surprised that it is not too sweet and the almond paste has a strong - though not overpowering - aftertaste.

While I like the toast, it is the Coconut Tart that really appeals to me.

The crust of the shallow tart is thin and buttery, and the sponge- like filling rises like a dome above the shell. Desiccated coconut, lots of it, fill the tart, which is perfect if, like me, you are a fan of anything with coconut in it.


    02-62 Lucky Plaza, 304 Orchard Road, tel: 6262-5885

    open: 8am to 6pm daily

    Rating: 3.5/5 stars

These fluffy tarts are small and do not fill you up, so there is no stopping at one. However, I exercise some restraint and stop at two.

Both the toast and the tart are great tea-time snacks and go well with coffee.

Max Cafe opened about three weeks ago. Freelance photographer Max Chan, 47, took over Hurricane Cafe, which used to be there, and renamed it. He retained the Indonesian baker.

Besides these snacks, the eclectic menu includes main dishes such as fish soup and beef stew.

As it is still early days for the cafe, the baked goods are not displayed on the menu yet. Order them at the cashier.

Finding Max Cafe might take a while if you are not familiar with the messy layout of the shopping centre. It is on the second level, away from the centre of Lucky Plaza, with massage parlours and travel agencies as its neighbours.

But the cafe is a quiet spot for a quick break if you are in the Orchard Road area post-lunch.

On Sundays, the menu changes to offer Filipino food, catering to the foreign workers and domestic helpers who flock to Lucky Plaza on their day off.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 26, 2017, with the headline 'Can't stop at one tart'. Print Edition | Subscribe