coffee

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Kyushu Pancake Cafe

Published January 4, 2021 by piggie

This is the pancake cafe I have always wanted to try, long before I visited Belle-Ville Pancake Cafe, and even during my trip to Kyushu almost 1 year ago. I am sold by their idea of using genuine Kyushu ingredients, and I tend to have the belief that, going by such selling point, it seldom fails. Well, having written that, I need to elaborate a little more at the end of this post in order not to take the spotlight off the pancakes.

It was quite crowded on a Saturday mid noon, and even though we came in a party of two, we could only find seats at the far corner, which is less desirable, because even the waiters struggle to serve us without asking the next table diners to move. I guess that spells their popularity here, although if otherwise, it may spell trouble for any businesses during such peak hours if patrons are far and few.

Kyushu Pancake Cafe claims that they are using wheat from Oita, millet from Unzen (Nagasaki), pressed barley from Saga, purple rice and red glutinuous rice from Kumamoto and Fukuoka, non-glutinuous rice from Kagoshima, raw brown sugar from Kagoshima and Okinawa, last but not least, Aigoma-farmed (合鴨農法) sprouted rice from Aya (綾町)(Miyazaki), basically all Kyushu prefectures are involved, hence their name. Actually, Kyushu Pancake Cafe originates from Miyazaki, a Kyushu prefecture least known to Singaporeans, and also the most difficult to reach (unless you transfer a domestic flight there), it takes at least 4 hours from Hakata via a combination of Shinkansen and local express train. But in my opinion, it’s also the most attractive, and serves some of the best cuisines in Kyushu.

Let me touch on a little about Aigoma farming technique.

Most farmers these days use pesticide and chemical fertiliser in their farm, this is by far the most productive and economical method. Aigoma farming is about as organic as it can get, by raising wheats along with ducks. These ducks prey on insects for food, while their waste act as fertiliser for the wheats. Hence, you can imagine prices in Kyushu Pancake Cafe won’t come cheap, not with Japanese import ingredients anyway, but it remains reasonable if you consider all these factors.

Matcha Tiramisu, $16.00++

I ordered their Matcha Tiramisu pancakes, which was served with matcha powder, Mascarpone cheese, Hoji-cha sauce, and a scoop of ice cream. It’s worth noting that the pancake texture itself was a little sticky and savoury to my liking, but the Mascarpone cheese and matcha powder are excellent complement to the pancakes. In addition, the vanilla ice cream is top notch, as rich as the milk from Japan. Those who love Japanese milk will know what I meant, it fully justifies its price in supermarket, though I can find it a lot cheaper in Japan. That little cup of syrup is what I believe to be Hoji-cha sauce, I was instructed to pour it over the pancakes before consuming, but my suggestion is to try the pancakes on its own first before doing so, then you can compare the diversification in taste.

BLT Burger, $11.90++

BLT Burger is a savoury type pancakes, with crisp fried hash brown, thick slice honey baked ham, lettuce, and tomato. I actually find their pancake goes better with such savoury ingredients though and my dining partner even claims this is the best pancakes she had ever tried.

High Ball Coffee Bomber, $8++

Well, you certainly expect a cafe to serve nice coffee, and this is particularly interesting, High Ball Coffee Bomber. What it actually is, concentrated coffee is frozen into ice ball, then gradually melts under room temperature, while milk is pour over it to experience a different concentration level of coffee. Kyushu Pancake Cafe is using Costa Rica beans from an altitude of 1,200m for this, which have undergone a certain Tarrazu honey process, and resulted with a sweet fruity note, good acidity with velvety body, as well as a smooth finish.

Kyushu Pancake Cafe have recently launched 3 types of premium artisan coffee, at time of my visit, they are having a promotion. And although I have just mentioned Costa Rica coffee beans been used in their High Ball Coffee Bomber, it is also served as drip coffee here, along with two other types of coffee, with the left most being the most concentrated, and Costa Rica the least.

El Salvador Drip Coffee, $9++

Ignore the High Ball Coffee Bomb in the backdrop, my El Salvador coffee was served without sugar nor milk. It came with a tin pot of hot water, plus a glass of coffee powder, which the waiter helped pour them into the dripper sitting on top of a cup. I think in this region, we regularly heard about Costa Rica and Ethiopia coffee, not so much on El Salvador coffee though, and I wonder how many have heard about this tiny Central American country? Anyway, this coffee is said to be having a deep, intricate note, with hints of plum, chocolate, hazelnuts, and a smooth finish. I’ve got to confess I’m not a coffee person, more of a tea fan actually. I do find its acidity moderate, with a rich body, certainly can make a good grade of coffee. Even the waiter jokingly mentioned, this coffee thoroughly complement the sweet pancake that I ordered!

OK, so much for the food & beverages.

Perhaps due to shortage of manpower (or whatever the reason), order and payment is made in advance at the cashier counter, while food are later served to the table. Good thing the service of the waiters was pleasant, and I didn’t have to dispute the service charge I paid upfront.

In addition, I remember this isn’t their first venture here in Singapore. Their previous premise is at Novena Regency, that exact same unit now occupying by Menya Kanae, which I patronise 2 months earlier. I remember mentioning something like ‘unless you have something truly exceptional, else you won’t succeed there’ in that review. That statement, although mentioned in somewhat similar aura, ironically holds truth for Kyushu Pancake Cafe. And I must confess, before my visit today, I didn’t know Kyushu Pancake Cafe was its previous tenant. What I am trying to stress is, unless you are offering something genuinely exceptional, the location of your outlet is predominant to your success.

Oh, and for those who are thinking of visiting their franchise while traveling in Kyushu, they currently have 3 outlets in Miyazaki, and 1 inside Takeo Library, Saga. None of them is easily accessible, nor are they within popular tourist spots. They do have oversea franchise in Taiwan though.

Kyushu Pancake Cafe
25 Lorong Liput
(Behind Holland Road Shopping Centre)
Singapore 277735
Tel: +65 63526265
Website: http://www.kyushu-pancake.sg/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kyushupancake.sg/

Opening Hours:
Tue – Sun: 11:00 – 21:00
Close on Mon

Mellower Coffee

Published September 25, 2019 by piggie

Mellower Coffee @ Bugis

OK, I confess I’m not truly a coffee lover, and wasn’t actively following Singapore’s cafe scene. I didn’t even know Mellower Coffee’s existence until now, some two years after it set foot Singapore shore from Shanghai. It’s hard to associate the coffee chain with China initially, noting that its name did little to suggest that, but then again, coffee is not a China thing, it’s a western influence that’s fast gaining popularity all over the world, including China (I can rationale part of the reasons being Chinese are more receptive of anything foreign, on the other hand, with such name, it’s much easier to venture oversea). But end of the day, be it Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, or even Mellower Coffee, none of their own country produces coffee beans, at best they roasted the imported beans, and in principle, it’s this process they are selling.

I probably won’t have set foot into this cafe if it wasn’t firstly a free treat. They are still relatively new, and their locations, apart from the one at Somerset, are quite out of the way for me, with their Robinson branch almost exclusively serving CBD patrons, and their Bugis flagship store more associated with National Library, I mean, there are so many cafes inside Bugis Junction and Bugis +, why would I walk further up the road for Mellower Coffee especially if I have to expose myself under the sun? Well, I shall explain shortly.

This review is a compilation of several visit, but for convenience sake, I will just document it under one post.

Let’s compare my favourite Starbucks beverage and Mellower Coffee’s, sense the difference? Yes, the coffee art. And it wasn’t just limited to Latte, Mellower Coffee applies that to most all of their hot beverages that contain milk, not to mention their pricing is competitive. But of course, if the taste isn’t great, no matter how much gimmicks you input makes little significance. Well, if you are asking about the taste, I’ll have to say it’s a matter of hit and miss.

Oh, by the way, the Latte art is not fixed, it is not a mean to identify your order and is actually random.

Cafe Latte, $6.20

Generally, whenever I first try a new cafe, I started with their Latte. I have heard rave review on how great it is prior to visiting, but actually, what they did was merely adding cinnamon powder into it, giving off an additional aroma to the usual Latte. So, for those who don’t mind cinnamon, it’s just a little surprise, nothing spectacular really. In any case, cafe like Starbucks do provide optional cinnamon, vanilla powder etc, patrons can add to their desire amount to create a personalise flavour. Unfortunately, my cuppa partner isn’t a big fan of cinnamon, no prize guessing her dislike for this. In any case, I am more of a vanilla person, I would have prefer a richer vanilla flavour. So for this aspect, I think it’s wise to keep it basic, and let patrons determine the portion of spices they desire.

Cappuccino, $6.20

Their Cappuccino is decent, rich, but otherwise very disappointing, because mine was served lukewarm. That happened to my cuppa partner’s Latte too. It may be that the barista is new, but for this price, there is absolutely no reason why the hot beverage can get lukewarm almost as soon as I fetched it to the table. I’m not expecting it to be pipping hot, it can’t, but it certainly cannot be lukewarm at the other extreme as if it had been brew and left cool for more than 15 minutes.

Matcha Latte, $6.00

Those who’s gunning for a genuine Matcha treat may be slightly disappointed with this, though this one was served at an adequate temperature, the Matcha powder just ain’t rich enough. I understand Mellower Coffee attempts to be a little special, but being outstanding doesn’t mean having to (in fact it’s wrong) reduce the characteristic of a Matcha Latte. Only mild Matcha aroma was presence, which led me to wonder whether it’s because of their more competitive prices. I do believe the proprietor must have tried Starbucks’ version before, in addition, I can share even McDonald’s in China serves better Matcha Latte than this.

Matcha Frappe, $7.00

I actually like this perhaps for the whipped cream on top. I could be wrong (then again, there ain’t right or wrong answer on this aspect actually, just personal preference), but I found myself more acceptant to their cold beverages despite this also has less Matcha aroma than I anticipated. I like the sweetness it brings as well as the chilling factor in a hot afternoon. Who knows? Maybe if I visited in the evening, I may have generated different perspective, but I’m more likely going for their hot beverages if I did anyway. But yeah, I like its richness nonetheless.

Sweet Little Rain, $9.80

This is Mellower Coffee’s signature item, and as they put it, it’s actually hot American coffee coupled with sweet little sugar rain dripped from candy floss cloud. One thing for sure, it’s gimmicks, perhaps one for the Instagram. Nonetheless, kudos to Mellower Coffee’s creativity in bringing fun to a cuppa, and if you pay close attention, you can really see a drizzle of candy rain flying all over the table, melted by the heat from the coffee underneath, you gotta be careful don’t let the candy drizzle stick to your belongings! However, when it comes to the taste… erm, once again, let’s be very clear, if you are getting this, you are in fact paying for the gimmicks, not the coffee. The coffee itself is very acidic, great for those coffee addict perhaps, but a little too strong for my preference. Personally, I find myself needing some sugar even after the entire candy floss was dipped into the coffee, yes after a while, my patience runs thin, and I simply dip it in. LOL!

Ondeh X Latte, $9.80

Ondeh X Latte is Mellower Coffee’s exclusive creation for Singapore, although not as flamboyant as Sweet Little Rain, but cost just as much, but is actually more than just a shot of expresso plus a glass of coconut milk with gula melaka. You can probably notice coconut flakes intentionally sticking to the glass rim to create an Instagram-savvy impression, most importantly, it has a marvellous taste to match!

To be honest, when it was served, I had to ask the barista how am I suppose to appreciate this. She told me to adjust the quantity of the coconut milk into the coffee to create my favourite proportion. I ended up pouring them all in anyway! 😀 But really, come to think of it, it really should be the other way round, that the coffee to be poured into the coconut milk, cos that’s more of a drinking glass after all.

Alright, I think for the time being, that’s all I have to say about their beverages, let’s go on the the pastries.

Grilled Chicken Pesto, $7.90

At $7.90, I’m expecting their Grilled Chicken Pesto to be more flavourful. Unfortunately, it gave a stale bland taste which left me pondering whether we should have eaten our dinner at Delifrance or Subway earlier.

Salted Caramel Cheesecake, $7.00

We were frequent patrons of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and absolutely love their cakes, but this Salted Caramel Cheesecake was another disappointment. The taste is OK, but the texture, erm… slumpish. Once sliced, it crumbled like semi-molten lava, which I suspect was due to not been fridged long enough.

New York Cheesecake, $7.00

This is really how a decent cake should look and taste like, the cheesey taste is moderate, and in perfect firm cake shape, unlike our previous experience with their Salted Caramel Cheesecake. But in truth, it’s just average, nothing spectacular, and nothing to grumble about.

Matcha Mousse, $6.80

Their Matcha Mousse is at least refreshing, notably on its design. The macaron is interesting, along with the pyramid cube on the other end. Its appearance easily outsell the taste, which wasn’t bad really!

Earl Grey Lavender Cake, $7.00

I’m not sure whether Mellower Coffee’s cakes are seasonal, but when I wanna try their Matcha Mousse again, it was nowhere to be found, I saw their new Earl Grey Lavender Cake, and ordered this instead. As a big fan of Earl Grey Tea, I am having big expectation for this, and it certainly didn’t fail. I find the Lavender and Earl Grey aroma blending very coherently, and simply love the nutty texture of the cake.

I think I will visit again, I guess that tells I’m still satisfied with this cafe.