I don’t usually spend a lot of money on cafes, but when I do, I want it to be well-spent, food wise.
It bothers me when pretty new cafes in Singapore are popping up at a rate this alarming, and the only thing the owners care about is how pretty the cafes look. Ok, the decor might not be the “only things’ the owners care about, but the food sure isn’t the focus in many cases.. maybe a 70:30 ratio for decor vs food. And it is a pity.
A pretty looking place might attract customers once, but great food makes them return. How many photos do you think customers will want to take of that quote on the wall? Or of your photogenic teapots?
Being “budgetpantry”, I tend to count my pennies especially when eating out. “How much they want to charge for 2 pancakes with some embarassing Hershey’s chocolate FLAVOURED syrup and strawberries? What? $15? Come my house I make a stack for you with real chocolate sauce!”
Don’t get me wrong. Running a budget cooking blog hasn’t destroyed my joy of eating out. I still willingly pay for good food, even if I know the price of flour and eggs, and know that your cost price is probably $1 while I pay $8 for that delicious slice of cake which I don’t know how to make myself. But you have to use real ingredients. Sincere ingredients. Real chocolate instead of Hershey’s. Freshly grated coconut instead of the $1.55 a-packet-can-use-forever Bake King’s dried desiccated coconut ON YOUR SIGNATURE DISH. You have to respect the food and take pride in what you sell.
I’m happy to see many new cafes coming up because I like taking pretty photos too. And it is a real bonus when you come across a cafe whose food tastes as good as it looks.
I’m lucky that there is one cafe just a few stops from my home: Carpenter and Cook, a pretty little cafe filled with an eclectic mix of vintage furniture at Lorong Kilat, near Beauty World, Bukit Timah. I’ve never thought of writing about them because they’re just.. there, a cafe close to home which I’ve been visiting since they opened in 2012, and I’ve always taken them for granted. I guess a recent experience of eating really lousy food at a very pretty cafe in North Bridge Road (with many people raving about it, at that!) has made me appreciate Carpenter and Cook a whole lot more.
They sell the most delicious quiches, cakes and pastries, and today I want to tell you about my favourite meringue tart!
I love meringue tarts, and they are must-orders for me at any cafe that sells them. I look out for 3 things: 1) THE EGG WHITE CANNOT TASTE RAW (immediate fail!) 2) The lemon curd cannot be too watery and 3) The crust must have a nice bite and cannot be wet or soggy.
I have tasted too many raw egg whites. A very popular cafe in Serangoon failed everything.
Carpenter and Cook’s Passionfruit Meringue Tart, $6.50, fulfils all three criteria and then some. I must have eaten at least 20 of them so far in these 3 years. It is such perfection that today, I decided to take it apart. How to make til so nice? I don’t understand.
While you’re there, please also order their Chocolate Sea-Salt Caramel Frappe, $7.50. It is like magic potion. So good!
I can’t wait to discover more amazing things on their menu. For pictures of their decor, google them, or visit their Facebook page via the link below!
Carpenter and Cook
19 Lorong Kilat
#01-06 Singapore 598120
(opposite Beauty World, near Bukit Timah Market)