We tried “The Nutcracker” – Spicy Chocolate and Nutty Nougatine. There were 3 distinct layers – the top layer was chocolate mousse. The middle white layer was soft, chewy nougatine which made the cake sticky. The bottom was a layer of dense chocolate sponge containing traces of peanuts and berries. The entire cake was encased in a chocolate coating. It was quite sweet, but the sweetness did not come from the chocolate. Rather it came from the nougatine, which resulted in us getting a little sick after we polished off the cake. This is the so-called “one is enough, another is too much” kind of cake.
We have tried 4 different cakes at Privé. The first was the Hazelnut Praline Royale. It looked rather ordinary, not extremely appealing, and did not entice cake lovers like us to try. Looks wise, it did not stand out as a “to-die-for” chocolate cake. But taste wise, it was a vastly different story. The Hazelnut Praline Royale consisted of layers of chocolate truffle, chocolate sponge and hazelnut ganache. It was a cake with varying textures. The chocolate truffle was smooth, mousse-like and not overly sweet. The amount of sponge was kept to a minimal, it was light and not too dry. The hazelnut crust was thick and added crunchiness to every bite. On a whole, the cake wasn’t too overwhelming and is highly recommended for moderate chocolate lovers.
The Rich Chocolate Cake consisted of alternating layers of rich and moist chocolate sponge and fudge, topped with chocolate pearls. It wasn’t too sweet, the portion was just right and one would not get too sick or overwhelmed after finishing 1 slice. Texture wise, it wasn’t as complicated as that of the Hazelnut Praline Royale. It was a simple marriage between fudge and sponge. The Rich Chocolate Cake would be more suitable for serious chocolate lovers.
The 3rd cake which we have tried was the Luscious Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake. It was a unique combination of saltiness and sweetness, with a rich peanut butter taste. We have come across and tried various peanut butter tarts and ice cream, but this is our first time trying a peanut butter cake. Peanut butter cookies, peanut butter cakes, peanut butter ice cream, peanut butter milkshake, peanut butter tarts – peanut butter sure doesn’t lose out to chocolates in terms of versatility.
The only non-chocolate cake which we tried was the Yuzu Citron Light Cheesecake. Despite it looking quite dense, it sure was a light cake, with barely any taste of cheese and yuzu. The texture was also not of the typical smooth creamy American cheesecake. It tended more towards that of the light Japanese cheesecakes. An important feature of cheesecakes is the base. We enjoy cheesecakes with a buttery digestive base or one which is made up of oreo crumbs. For the Yuzu Citron Light Cheesecake, the base was a tasteless crust, which we didn’t enjoy.
After service charge and GST, each slice of cake was around $8. The first 3 cakes are definitely worth coming back for (on days when we have a car).
Our first trip to Seventh Heaven was on 25 March 2010. And after this first time, Seventh Heaven became one of our favorite haunts whenever we craved for ice cream. On the first occasion, we tried the Warm and Soft Chocolate Cake and the Homemade Waffles.
Warm and soft chocolate cake (it is now known as Baked Lava Cake, but the description is similar) – A decadently rich and moist chocolate cake that is accompanied by French Vanilla ice cream. Well, although the menu did not explicitly state that it would be a chocolate cake with a molten center, we expected it to be along those lines. Hence, you could imagine our disappointment when we broke open the chocolate cake only to see … more cake. We were not impressed at all.
We chose the Homemade Waffles as our 2nd dessert, and had the Chocolate and Cabernet as the ice cream. We had tried the waffles at Udders and totally fell in love with them. Hence, we were kind of hoping that the same standard could be found at seventh heaven. But sadly, though the ice cream impressed us, the waffles was another disappointment. Texture, smell and taste wise – Udders won hands down. Our first visit to Seventh Heaven wasn’t all that fulfilling, but nevertheless, something did catch our eye and we told ourselves, we would definitely make a 2nd trip. And it would be for … … THE MATRIX!
Well, The Holy Grail did capture our attention, but it was not because of the challenge to have it for free (we were never into rushing through our meals, good food should always be enjoyed at a comfortable pace, not under the pressure of time). In any case, we believed that there are less than 30 flavours available at Seventh Heaven, and furthermore, having 30 scoops served at a go, would mean that we would also have to rush a little to finish the ice cream before they started melting. Either way, we did not think it was wise to order that. Hence, the next better choice would be The Matrix.
And with the first try of The Matrix, came the 2nd… and the 3rd… so and so forth…
The Matrix – The sampler of samples. 12 of Seventh Heaven’s best sellers. Well, I highly doubt that they actually serve us all their best sellers, it was more like a mix between the alcoholic, non-alcoholic or the conventional flavours. Given a choice, we would have just chosen 12 different alcoholic flavours. The Matrix is essentially 12 different scoops of ice cream, served in a palette. We have tried most of the flavours, but periodically, there will be new flavours introduced.
In general, Seventh Heaven has a greater variety of alcoholic ice creams, compared to most of the ice cream outlets we have been to. Well, considering that around 5 out of the 12 scoops of ice cream were alcoholic ones, and that we paid less than $30 for The Matrix, it was certainly value for money. In addition, Seventh Heaven serves wonderful Chocolate ice cream – thick, creamy, smooth, with a strong chocolate taste. It is one of the better chocolate ice creams around. In summary, the flavours that we recommend are:
Apple and Chardonnay (alc)
Black Russian (alc)
Chocolate and Cabernet (alc)
Chocolate and Whiskey (alc)
Dark Cherries and Merlot (alc)
Lychee Martini (alc)
Rum and Raisins (alc)
The biggest bain of the Matrix was the fact that we were not allowed to choose the flavours. But on every occasion that we were there, we managed to convince the staff to leave out certain flavours for us. However, we definitely did not enjoy the kiddish flavours of Purple Cow and Bubble Gum. They tasted too artificial and overly sweet. The colour was a major turn-off as well. On our last visit on 28 Dec 2010, we realized, to our disappointment, that each scoop was significantly smaller, no longer overflowing from the individual holes of the palette.
To celebrate Chinese New Year, we had a mini reunion gathering with our friends from China at 谭鱼头Tanyoto.
Ala carte steamboat was offered at Tanyoto, but we decided to order the ala carte cooked dishes instead. Appetizers wise, we started off with the 蒜泥白肉. This dish was mediocre, something that one can get at most Chinese restaurants like Putien and Lao Beijing. The 野菜煎饼 did not contain much fillings. It lacked in authenticity and tasted more like Indian prata. The 核桃木耳 was slightly spicy, with a refreshing taste, but similarly, it wasn’t all that impressive.
We ordered the highly recommended 潭氏剁椒鱼头. The Song fish head was rather small, not exactly worth the price that we paid ($28). It was also not cooked uniformly; there were certain areas where the fish meat was slightly undercooked. The main highlight of this dish turned out to be the gravy. Despite the huge chunks of chili making the whole dish intimidating, the gravy was not that spicy. We were given a plate of noodles to pour into the gravy after we had finished eating the fish head. The noodles soaked up the gravy and tasted absolutely fabulous. The gravy-soaked noodles definitely stole the limelight from the fish head. Yummy!
Other main dishes we ordered include the 麻婆豆腐 which had a distinct 川椒 taste, giving this dish a very strong kick. The 泡椒珊瑚蚌 was chewy, fresh and cooked just right. The 鳝段粉丝 received mixed reviews. While our friends from China loved the dish, we felt that it was too oily. We preferred the Japanese Unagi to the 鳝鱼 as the latter was more dry. But one commendable thing was that they were very generous with the amount of 鳝鱼 in this dish.
Service wise, it was still a bit lacking. The restaurant spanned over 2 levels and perhaps there was a big crowd on the upper level, the staff seemed less attentive towards us. We had to request three times before plain rice was served to us. They also failed to lay the table with the proper utensils before serving the food. We were given chopsticks with no spoons, plates with no bowls. The service did improve towards the end of the meal where they would readily take the initiative to refill our pot of tea, without much prompting from us.
We were at Etna Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria on a Saturday afternoon. There wasn’t much of a crowd, probably only around 5 tables were occupied. It was a pretty cosy place, not too big, and you could easily see the chef preparing to oven bake his pizzas. After we got seated, the waitress was quick to make some recommendations for the food.
We ordered the Quattro formaggi, which was a four cheese pizza consisting of mozzarella, gorgonzola, parmesan, pecorino (from Sicily) and the Linguine al Granchio e Crema di Aragosta. It was a flat pasta with crab meat in a pink lobster sauce, one of the highly recommended pastas in Etna. The pizza was baked in a traditional Italian wood fired oven. The Quattro formaggi was a Pizza Bianche, a white pizza with a mozzarella cheese base. The pizza was served piping hot, but before we could dig in, the pasta arrived as well. The waiter suggested that we ate the pasta first as it wouldn’t taste that nice when it was cold. Well, he didn’t say that about the pizza though. So we started on the pasta first.
The chef was very generous with the serving of crab meat. Every single mouth we took was just packed with crab meat. The linguine was al dente, just the kind we liked. The pink lobster sauce was thick and savoury. Perhaps cause the taste of the crab meat was just overpowering, the lobster taste didn’t quite stand out. But still, the freshness, juiciness and sweetness of the crab was the highlight of the dish. It was essentially linguine and crab meat – as simple as that, yet the taste was really good.
And when we finally started on the pizza, it had turned slightly cold, which might have caused it to pale in comparison. It wasn’t bad, but neither was it fantastic. In fact, after a couple of slices, I got rather sick of it. Somehow, I had to add quite a bit of chili flakes to accentuate the taste of the pizza. The pasta was definitely a better choice.
We didn’t plan on having desserts, but I kept tempting C with the Etna Lava Cake – Molten chocolate cake served with vanilla ice cream. Well, though we were pretty full, there’s always our spare tummy for desserts! So C finally gave in and we ordered the lava cake. The serving was pretty small, but the cake was pretty good. The molten center was very thick and dense. It didn’t really flow out like liquid or lava. But you could still tell that it was molten. We kind of liked it.