[SG] Henri Charpentier | flame of glory?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bearing the tradition and spirit since the founding in 1969, renowned French-inspired Japanese patisserie Henri Charpentier recently opened its first overseas outlet at Dempsey Hill in Singapore. Named after a famous 19th century French chef, it was then founded by Naokuni Arita and started as a small cafe in the Hyogo prefecture in Japan.

Ashiya is the birthplace of the Henri Charpentier brand. Located in a suburb of the city of Kobe, it is the gateway to different cultures and the point of initiation for Modernism in Japan. The brand was born and raised in a place where quality and elegant products are valued and polished with a modern touch.

With more than 100 shops in department stores throughout Japan, Henri Charpentier Singapore makes a dedicated effort to incorporate locally-inspired desserts to add a varied dimension to the signatures it brings from Japan.

Can this dessert saloon spark the flames? Let us find out!

Rouge | S$19/++

While we struggled to choose our desserts among the various fanciful ones on the menu, the lady who took our orders took a separate menu which had pictures of the special desserts for our ease of choice. Fascinated by the artisanal display of the Rouge, it looked too beautiful to reject its presence.

It brought wows to the table when the dessert was served as the spectacular curves distracted us from the passion fruit and financier that laid the foundation. The parfait of marinated strawberries with a generous pool of strawberry sauce brought much tang while the acidity of the passion fruit cuts through our palate beautifully to leave a lasting impression. What set the dessert apart was the signature financier bake which delivered a palatable sweet almond after-taste.

Two almonds, Marcona and Fritz which are both rich in aroma are blended with original cultured butter from Hokkaido which allowed the lovely flavours to stand out despite the rather strong tastes of the strawberry marinade, While we continue our hunt for the best financier yet, this has to be the leading star for now.

Crepe Suzette | S$22/++

Photo credit: Henri Charpentier

When founder Mr Arita was understudying at a restaurant, this was the special dessert he encountered which he felt encompassed happiness, joy and wonder.

The orange-soaked crepes, flambéed in Grand Marnier instilled warmth and wonder with the first spoonful as the theatrical display of blue flames would set everyone in awe. Unfortunately, from where we were seated, rays of sunlight were shining directly which made the blue flames hardly visible to the naked eye. The layered crepe not only embodied the flavours of the alcohol but soaked up the luscious orange flavours to make it a sweet but not overly empowering dessert. Texture of the crepe was close to perfection as the soft layers were clearly defined and it was with great pleasure that I scoped up every single bit of the sauce and leaving nothing to clear on the plate!

Dome | S$29/++

Photo credit: Henri Charpentier

Exclusively available only in Singapore, the chocolate sphere composed of a chocolate parfait of fraise d'amande and upon pouring down the alcohol which set ablaze a lightly visible blue flame (once again due to the bright sunlight shining through) that melted the chocolate casing. While the end result does not look the least bit palatable, it bore the richest flavours among the three desserts tried.

Blending the classic chocolate and strawberries combination, it packed a bag of flavours that would bring oomph to each spoonful of sinful calories!

The beautifully and lavishly decorated interior made the dining experience a lot more sophisticated than just a visit to any other dessert saloon. With a focus on 'creating a new appreciation for sweets', it could be seen that much efforts have been dedicated to enhancing diners' experience at Henri Charpentier.

You could also see the chefs in action behind the counter display as you step in to the restaurant.

A list of awards and accolades that Henri Charpentier won in Japan!

The restaurant also has some outdoor seating available though it is quite apparent that no one takes such seating under the scorching afternoon heat!

Distinctly differentiated by its flamboyant pink carpet leading to the entrance, we felt that the overall experience at Henri Charpentier makes it a worthy visit albeit the relatively steep prices for desserts which can easily be justified by the quality of ingredients used and of course the theatrical display that would almost certainly impress your dining companions.

With a gorgeous ambience, the service crew were also commendable. Most of the service personnel were Japanese and while they left us to enjoy our desserts mostly, the manager took a special effort to strike up a casual conversation, asking about our experience and feedback of the various desserts tried. We were rather disappointed that we were unable to catch the display of blue flames for the two flaming desserts ordered but we are already planning our next visit in the evening to make sure we catch it during our next visit!

Overall Verdict: 8.0/10

Henri Charpentier
9A Dempsey Road
Singapore 247698
Tel: (+65) 6479 5518

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