[SG] Saint Marc Cafe - 'Chococro' to die for?

Thursday, July 04, 2013

After an impressionable tasting of what we regarded as the best croissants tasted found at Urban Bakery and Le Salon in Hong Kong, we had been on the hunt for a comparable find in homeland Singapore. It was by coincidence that we noticed Saint Marc Cafe, where a like-minded food enthusiast shared a photo of their appetizing signature  'Chococro' on Instagram.

Having learnt that Saint Marc originated from Japan and the raving reviews online, we admittedly visited with a certain level of expectations. Spoilt for choice with the spread of colourful desserts each looking equally tantalizing, we settled for the signature few.

'Little Fuji' (S$6.30/-)

An interesting name certainly since many would be familiar with the famous Mount Fuji in Japan. Served on a beautiful golden brown delicious looking butter danish, the vanilla soft serve had viscous caramel sauce drizzled across. Digressing a little, soft serve is actually a type of ice cream which is generally lower in fat (<6%) as compared to traditional ice cream which could contain up to 16% fat. Air is also introduced into the mixture at the time of freezing with air content (typically termed 'overrun') up to 60% of the finished product. What makes it different from normal ice cream then? With a higher air content, it should ideally taste creamier, smoother, light and whiter in colour and that was exactly what we got with this 'Little Fuji'.

Personally, I do not have a good tolerance for excessively sweet desserts and this unfortunately fell into that category. I would imagine that the caramel sauce had undergone a thorough caramelization process where water is removed from the sugar mixture. It resulted in a sauce that was too sweet for my liking and I stopped pretty much after the first mouthful. The after taste of the caramel seemed a little artificial for our picky palate which we unanimously found reprehensible.

It would be unfair to fault the dessert without giving credit to the beautifully baked pastry. The butter danish pastry was everything we could ask for, a relatively generous serving with a nice crisp around the edges and a buttery fluffy inside to complement. I actually fell in love with the pastry and the soft serve but the caramel sauce left the dessert slightly distasteful.

Verdict: 6.0/10

Signature 'Chococro' (S$2.40/-)

'Chococro' quite simply refers to chocolate croissant in short. This signature pastry had rich layers of fermented butter and margarine which gave a sharp crisp texture to the surface of the croissant and a strong buttery flavour. While precariously taking out the croissant from the orange pocket sleeve for the all important ceremony of photo-taking, thin layers of the pastry and the almond crunch bits got scrapped off. Most of the bits seemed to have spent a minute or two longer in the oven, leaving it slightly burnt. Oh well, either it was too fragile or I was too hasty. And before I forget, I certainly did not expect the croissant to be 30-40% smaller than the usual croissants!

So, the photo-taking ceremony was over. I apologized for the mess created which somewhat did not make it look very appealing to my dining companions. The volume of the molten chocolate inside the croissant was certainly alot less than what I had in mind, (do note that I visited envisioning a similar croissant experience to Le Salon) so appearance wise I was already mildly disappointed. While the croissant was well baked, encased with a crisp firm crust and fluffy on the inside, the chocolate was artificial in taste and honestly if I tried it with my eyes closed, I would have thought that the chocolate popped from your classic 'Hello Panda' biscuit. It tasted exactly like that classic chocolate filling. Admittedly, I struggled to find myself being 'wow-ed' by this signature pastry regardless the raving reviews splashed all over.

Verdict: 6.0/10

Strawberry Croissant (S$2.60/-)

Right, when I mentioned 'Hello Panda' earlier, the taste of the strawberry cream for this croissant tasted like its counterpart too - the 'Strawberry Hello Panda'. I did not know whether a cringe was an appropriate response upon the first bite. There was a lovely 'QQ' texture in the stuffed mochi, complemented with a smooth yet not overly sweet red bean paste was indeed something to salivate over. We loved the clever touch of introducing Japanese ingredients to a classic croissant but the 'Hello Panda' or if you like, 'Pocky' type of strawberry cream, served at this level was beyond redemption in my humble opinion. The spread of red bean paste was too thin to fully enjoy its taste, not to mention it being overwhelmed by the strawberry cream. We also found the crust of the strawberry croissant to be slightly different from the chocolate rendition with this texture on the limp side.

I do not know if my expectations were set too high but I was left largely disappointed having tried their signature offerings.

Verdict: 6.5/10

The prices of the other desserts seemed reasonable, ranging from S$6-S$9 per serving. I would consider the serving to be on the generous side seeing what our neighbouring diners had to fix their sweet-tooth. The supposedly famous croissants paled in comparison to what we had tried in HK. Everything was pretty much self-service where you would be issued with a 'Beeping UFO' that basically beeps and alerts you when your order is ready for collection at the counter.

Special shout-out to those smartphone users (pretty much everyone out there...): there is a QR code near the counter where you could scan and register immediately with your name and email address. You will then be provided with a coupon that will entitle you to a 10% discount when you flash it while making payment!

It would be a nice chill-out place to chat with friends and enjoy some desserts to fix one's sweet-tooth craving. What we also liked was that they had an iced water dispenser which had free-flow access to dine-in customers. Umm, I might take my cue elsewhere if I needed some desserts around Vivocity.

St Marc Cafe
1 Harbourfront Walk
#01-108-110, Vivocity
Singapore 098585
Tel: 6222 2309
Opening Hours: 10am - 10pm
(The staffs did not chase us nor the customers away past 10pm though)

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