SINGAPORE - (THE NEW PAPER) The youths seem especially interested. It's difficult not to be dazzled by the franchise from Taiwan: The food is prettily plated and the menu is dessert-focused.
The pretty part is covered but the food needs work. The kitchen is new and is still finding its footing. It shows in the consistency of its food.
I was invited there for a tasting and the young woman running it in Singapore - Serene Tan, who's only 22 - joined us. The desserts turned out so delicious and the service was good but the savoury dishes needed plenty of reworking.
When I returned unannounced, it all fell apart. The service standard dropped a few notches and the desserts were dismal, although the savoury dishes improved.
That dazzling first impression dulled. With a name like Dazzling Cafe, it'll be an uphill task to live up to expectations.
But it's too soon to dismiss them though. Let's see if the service and food catch up in time for the official launch next month.
CRISPY OR SOGGY?
The first time I tasted the strawberry ice cream waffles ($14.90), I loved how crispy and light the waffles were.
I ordered the Valrhona chocolate version ($12.90) when I returned and that turned out soggy.
When I asked the server about it, she said the kitchen insists it was the right texture.
Maybe soggy is the new crispy. But, it was still a "fail" in my book.
The signature item here is the matcha with azuki beans honey toast ($19.90). The first time I tried it, the toast was nicely crisp, the flavours were a good blend and not too sweet.
I had the hazelnut chocolate version ($19.90) when I returned as that was the other popular flavour. I regretted it. It was a sticky mess.
SHARP AND SPICY
The spicy seafood tomyam tomato spaghetti ($22.90) is exclusive to Singapore.
I love that it's both sharp and spicy, which makes for a great prelude to the sweet desserts. It was equally tangy when I returned.
NO LONGER CLOYING
I was not impressed by the mentaiko spaghetti with cream sauce ($18.90) the first time I tried it. I found it too cloying.
When I came back, the sauce was lighter but it didn't lose any of the mentaiko's signature slight spiciness and saltiness.
The most improved dish has to be the pan seared duck breast spaghetti with orange mustard sauce ($24.90).
My original encounter was harrowing. The sauce tasted like third-rate marmalade and the duck was tough.
The second time round, the sauce was much lighter and brighter and the duck was pleasingly pink. It went from a dish I thought I'd never order again to one I'll order if I return.
WHAT: Dazzling Cafe
WHERE: #01-85 Capitol Piazza
OPENING HOURS: Noon to 8pm
This article was first published on May 6, 2015.
Get The New Paper for more stories.