It was impossible not to anticipate the pressure, being a greenhorn in slr-photography and a low-profile blogger, to dine with a group of renowned food bloggers (including some professional bakers). However, i was surprised by how my contending fears quickly dissipated after meeting them on Sunday morning.
Choupinette is a small French bistrot nestled amidst the gourmet convoy of Bukit Timah. The atmosphere's charming cosy, swathed with various fresh bakes that allures the morning senses.
For a compact cafe like this, the variety available for brunch is impressive. Choosing was tough, especially when you are keen on making an irreproachable decision. A constant customer flow also raised hopes.
(not fresh) Grapefruit Juice
A pity, our hopes weren't kept high for long.
The air-conditioning malfunctioned, kitchen efficiency flopped, service not up to mark, and the quality of food was simply inadequate to rectify the tarnished impressions.
Pain au Chocolat ($2.90)
Picking a classic french pastry off the basket seemed like a wise strategy to go light on the meal and heavy on desserts. Sadly, both the Almond Danish and Pain au Chocolat fell short of anticipated crustyness and even the basic gesture of being warmed up. More chocolate fillings needed too!
Le Croque Monsieur sounded like a rich toastie encasing a combination of ham and white bechamel sauce, grilled with an emmental cheese crust.
Le Noe's Sandwich
Brunch for me began with a glass of grapefruit juice (from concentrate) as i awaited the disjointed arrival of my Le Noe's Sandwich. I felt totally positive about those generous silvers of slender smoked salmon, piled between a homemade gravlax-sauce-dubbed bun.
The bread was doubtlessly fresh and fluffy to please, but portion control was overlooked. This long sub can easily feed two.
I reckoned the quiches were probably most decent of the lot. A second order of Spinach Quiche was placed after the bacon-studded Quiche Lorraine had been given an optimisstic approval.
LIC calls these the most-expensive-eggs-you-would-have-ever-eaten, for a measly serving sets you paying in the range of twenties. Featuring just two eggs over toasted bread and either ham or smoked salmon, any one would naturally be dubious of its officious value.
This is when the underlying skills come into picture. Noticing how Fen's yolk cracked into a cascade of runny liquid yellow, i began to see the efforts behind the masterfully poached eggs. Not forgetting those beautiful drizzles of unblemished hollandaise sauce.
Le Fromage Burger ($19)
On the other hand, the Le Fromage Burger (substantiated by a bulk of fries aside) displayed an opposing image- it resembled more like a charred portobello than beef patty. Corresponding comments agreed on its sufficient seasoning but unacceptable toughness.
Desserts, a medley of disappointment.
A bad start really shook my senses. Their Tarte au Citron released an inharmonious mix of tongue-biting sour and unrelenting sweetness, further worsening the stake of its atrocious meringue crown.
Mille-feuille Frambois ($7)
'Thousand sheets' in French, or more commmonly known as Napoleon, the Mille-feuille Frambois starred custard cream and raspberry fillings between several layers of puff pastry. Once again, the problem lied in their crisp-lacking pastry.
Dark chocolate and crunchy praline. Sweetness was toned down, but the praline was almost undetectable within the block of mishy-mushy cream.
I was instantly reminded of TCC's Cocoa Mosaic. Vendome's a thoughful combination of milk, white and dark chocolate mousse that soothes into a unified flavour. Not too extreme in cocoa, and definitely more sizeable than the TCC petites.
Tarte aux Pommes with Icecream ($5.90, additional $2 for icecream)
It is important to opt for additional vanilla icecream. The base of their Tarte aux Pommes may be a tad flat and soggyish, with paltry apple slices, but somehow the hot-and-cold, cinnamon-and-vanilla contrasts never fails to delight.
Dark Chocolate Eclair ($5)
Thick mediocre choux puff, skip this.
Assorted Macaroons ($1.80 each)
These eight came along with the Chouchou's Set orders, and there were only criticisms to hear of them. The Macaroons crumbled apart like fragile muffins, with flavourings either too faint or artificial. Evan also pointed out about the unvarying fillings. I only felt that the peach one had some novelty to it.
To put it nicely, macaroons without identity.
To put it harshly, a huge macaroon disaster.
Think twice if you are keen on visiting, i personally believe there are more competent places out there to spend on Brunch. Try Rider's Cafe, or even Jones The Grocer.
Company wise, this was one of my most memorable brunches ever! I enjoyed meeting and learning from the amicable bakers and bloggers.. thanks so much brad for the chance! (:
607 Bukit Timah Road #01-01
(Beside Coronation Plaza)