Tan Hsueh Yun Food Editor recommends

Food Picks: A cake to hanker for

Flan De Yuzu ($8.50 a slice, $42.88 for 1kg)
Flan De Yuzu ($8.50 a slice, $42.88 for 1kg)ST PHOTOS: TAN HSUEH YUN
Malaysia Semai Whisky Barrel Fermentation ($7.50, above).
Malaysia Semai Whisky Barrel Fermentation ($7.50, above).ST PHOTOS: TAN HSUEH YUN
Somen In Collagen Bone Broth (above).
Somen In Collagen Bone Broth (above).ST PHOTOS: TAN HSUEH YUN

A CAKE TO HANKER FOR

Standing tall and proud, and sporting a fuzzy covering of shredded fresh coconut and a sprinkling of lime zest, is the best cake I have had so far this year.

It is called Flan De Yuzu ($8.50 a slice, $42.88 for 1kg) and comes from Fredo's in Sunset Way. The place used to be called Drips until about four months ago. Baker Alfred Chan, who was a partner at Drips, now runs the place alone, packing it with so many goodies I do not know where to look and what to get.

Ordering a slice of that cake is the best decision. Three layers of yuzu sponge are filled with yuzu cream, which is also used to frost the cake, before the snowy drifts of coconut descend. Yuzu and coconut do not sound like a natural pairing, but it works very well. What I love about the cake is that the sugar is held in check and there is a pleasing tartness from the Japanese citrus. It is also well-constructed and does not collapse when I go at it with a fork.

I used to love Mr Chan's fruit tarts and the Mixed Berries ($11.80), with raspberries and figs, is still just as good - the crackling crisp crust with ground almonds and French butter, and that cool, silky custard filling.

His pies have always been good too. Pumpkin Bacon Pie ($7) is studded with so much bacon that the sweet pumpkin is properly subdued. A good whack of black pepper has a taming effect too. Beef Rendang Pie ($7) has a punchy filling and a good amount of meat.

If I could, I would do all my eating there and chat forever with Mr Chan, but I buy stuff to take with me.

A crumbly blueberry scone ($3) is so delicious toasted and slathered with butter, no jam needed. Raspberry Vanilla Eggless Cookies ($18 a tub), essentially a thumbprint cookie, is perfect with tea. The baguette ($2.30), I like the petite size, is more than competent.

Other things do not impress as much.

Coffee Espresso Kahlua Pound Cake ($3.80 a slice) might as well be a plain butter cake. It is devoid of coffee flavour. The filling for the spinach quiche ($7.90) is a little watery, although the pastry is excellent. I shall stick to salmon and the Lorraine versions next time.

I am filled with horror when told the yuzu-coconut cake is the bakery's special for this month. Mr Chan will make it available longer and, of course, customers can order whole cakes any time.

Rarely do I ever want to finish a whole slice of anything. My fork hovers over the plate. I am filled with longing.

So I make myself a promise. When there is a cold day in hell, I will rush to Fredo's and demolish an entire slice.

WHERE: Fredo's, Block 109 Clementi Street 11, 01-05 MRT: Clementi TEL: 6776-0400 OPEN: 8am to 8pm (Wednesdays to Mondays), 8am to 6pm (Tuesdays and public holidays) INFO: www.facebook.com/fredosbaker


SERIOUSLY COFFEE

Everything about Apartment tells you that It. Is. A. Serious. Place. To. Drink. Coffee.

The white space in Lavender Street is spare. There is a long counter lined with seats. Serious people do serious things on laptops and personal devices. Or stare at their coffee. No clutter. Everything is arranged just so. Everyone is focused. There’s a kind of hush all over this world.

The menu is compact. A clutch of hand-brewed coffees. One espresso option. One espresso with milk option. On the next page, a list of teas. One kombucha. Two kinds of hot chocolate.

There are no cookies to be had. Not a rainbow cake crumb to be found. I hear sometimes, when the moon is full, a customer might be able to order a croissant.

If all this sounds unbearably pretentious, I’m sorry. I have been to Apartment twice and intend to keep on visiting. I appreciate the silence. This is a good place to get some thinking done while drinking serious drinks.

On my first visit, I have the Ethiopia Testi Adorsi in an espresso ($4) and the shot is so bright, I need sunglasses. Fully awake, I move on to the Colombia La Joyeria in a white coffee ($4.50), but find no joy in it. All I taste is the milk. What are these, slacker Colombian beans?

Then on my second visit, when the milk coffee option is Myanmar Pa-o Community ($4.50), I find plenty of joy. A wild sort of flavour. Of jackfruit.

I’m not mad, it turns out.

When paying, I remark on it and am told that anaerobic fermentation of the beans brings out tropical fruit flavours.

The Myanmar beans are on the menu for a few weeks, so you know what to do.

If I had room for another drink on my second visit, I would surely have ordered a hot chocolate.

The Malaysia Semai Whisky Barrel Fermentation ($7.50) I have on my first visit knocks my socks off. It is rich, complex, nuanced and so very heady.

I want to shout out with joy.

But shhhh. Mustn’t startle the natives.

WHERE: Apartment, 161 Lavender Street, 01-12 MRT: Lavender OPEN: 9am to 6pm daily INFO: www.facebook.com/apartmentcoffeeco/


MORE SOUP, PLEASE

Of course, the absolute moment you start jawing on and on about the hot, dry spell in Singapore, it pours.

Not that I am complaining. I am all about making things work for me and the wet spell just means I can drink vats of soup. One particular soup.

I become enchanted with the bone broth at Copper, a whisky bar at Lanson Place, after a friend takes me there for drinks one night. The bartenders offer us mini bowls of it and I fall in love after one sip. It is milky and thick, with a delicate sweetness that can come only from simmering bones a good, long time. In this case, pork and chicken, and for eight hours.

But the energy-sapping heat has made me soup-averse. Now, perhaps for the blink of an eye, I can give in to this craving.

From noon to 8pm, customers can order Somen In Collagen Bone Broth. The $15.90 set includes a salad and a drink and there is a choice of beef, chicken and seafood with the broth.

The soup is served on the side with the bar’s beef, minced chicken or unagi rice bowls.

I don’t need salad and water’s good so I get the beef somen a la carte for $11.90.

Come to think of it, I don’t need the beef or somen either, although the silky noodles slide down so beautifully. All I want is a lot of soup. Will they oblige if I ask nicely for just that? And a dram, maybe two, of whisky?

WHERE: Copper, 01-01 Lanson Place, 167 Penang Road MRT: Dhoby Ghaut TEL: 6677-7348 OPEN: Noon to midnight (weekdays) INFO: www.facebook.com/pg/CopperLansonPlace

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2019, with the headline 'Food Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe