Laurent Bernard Chocolatier

Mohamed Sultan Road.

A hallowed boulevard cluttered with the occasional quaint café and brunch-with-eggs-and-toast haunt- the kind of place you’d go to sip a petite cap while tapping away furiously on your laptop&iPad. Also, the place to go should you feel any desire to get lost.

Because get lost we certainly did.

With half an hour to go before meeting up with Sergeant, Alex and I took our time to have a leisurely stroll along the river- but quite typically we found ourselves wandering in circles and at an utter loss as to what to do about our dismal sense of direction. Google maps was of no help- after taking a few steps the blinking blue location button was at the wrong side of the river; heck, at one point it belligerently insisted that we were in the Singapore River.

Google maps, you disappoint. First world problems indeed.

Luckily enough we found the café just when sergeant arrived- phew, on time! Turns out it was the building right next to Robertson Walk- it even had the letters THE PIER emblazoned in striking blue on it. Funny we didn’t notice; we were too busy looking for 80 Mohamed Sultan, finding the building itself had completely escaped our minds.

Parched throats and a pair of ravenous and thirsty young ladies meant that the moment we were seated, we started gulping down our water and flipping through the menu.

Bad etiquette? Maybe, but that’s me.

Alex's dainty macchiato with a chocolate square I was admiring.
Alex’s dainty macchiato that came with a chocolate square I was hoping to steal (of course I didn’t).
Slice of lemon amidst a fruity blend.
Slice of lemon amidst a fruity blend.

Iced peach tea sounded like a refreshing quencher so I ordered one of those, Aik Seng an iced chocolate and Alex a perfect little macchiato. All ridiculously expensive of course, but this was Laurent Bernard so I suppose it was expected.

As I flipped through the menu I felt increasingly bad for letting sergeant treat us here. Having a simple tea here would cost copious amounts of money- perhaps we should’ve gone to the local kopitiam for some slurpy eggs and Milo dinosaur. But hey, when the piping hot soufflé was served- well, we simply radiated with childish wonder. 

Browned crisp sides hold their ground as the middle slowly sinks down, down, down down.
Browned crisp sides hold their ground as the middle slowly sinks down, down, down down.

Soufflés. Such wonderfully light and delicate things that seem to hold up the weight of the world.

I couldn’t help but hesitate though- the soufflé only protruded about an inch from the ramekin- and I clearly remember the one at the other Laurent Bernard being ridiculously fluffy out of proportion.

Off hungrygowhere: this is how it's supposed to be like.
Off hungrygowhere: this is how it’s supposed to be like.

Nevermind.

Tentatively tapping the exterior, I hesitantly dig my spoon into the center of the soufflé. I have a love-hate relationship with soufflés. I love its fluffy, cloud-like texture, but I absolutely hate it when they fall about an inch once you stick your spoon in. Your heart sinks along with it.

Swoop.

That sensation in your chest as if something is dragging you deeper, beneath the grayed tarmac and down, down, down towards the incinerating heat of the earth.

Luckily the soufflé didn’t sink that much (but that could mean that it already deflated), and we dug it apart to reveal a poofy center. However, as I lifted up the little jug of chocolate to drizzle hot chocolate sauce over the soufflé- well, let’s just say that I was severely disappointed and a little bit nonplussed at why there wasn’t any sauce coming out. I mean, I expected the consistency of you know, molten lava, and what we got was a pot of stiff chocolate cream in a jug. I tipped it at a larger angle and waited for it to flow.

Nope.

Giving up, I completely upturned the entire jug and hoped fervently that it would come out.

Plop.

That unsatisfying blob of cream was now just a lump in the middle of the soufflé. Quick to remedy the distasteful sight before my heart could sink any further, we lifted our spoons and started spreading it all over the soufflé. Such a heart rendering sight- the cream might just weigh the soufflé down! Quick, let’s savor it.

Mm. That intense, complex, and rich flavor of exceptional dark chocolate tickled our taste buds- a perfect combination with the tangy sour of the raspberry sorbet. My only complaint is the relatively dry texture of the soufflé- a little bit more moisture, please! At this point I had drank a glass of water and a glass of peach tea- I was pretty sure that the dry texture wasn’t due to a dehydrated and deprived tongue.

Oh well.

Perhaps it was just this particular chef- from the terrible nonchalant it’s-not-my-job-to-serve-you attitude of the waiter, I was pretty much ready to rule service as absolutely abysmal at this particular Laurent Bernard. Honestly, you could find a more cheery bunch at a funeral parlor!

Moist, grainy sweet chocolate cake dusted with icing sugar and paired with the most daintily vanilla treats.
Moist, grainy sweet chocolate cake dusted with icing sugar and paired with the most dainty vanilla treats.

Deciding that one soufflé wasn’t enough, we ordered another warm chocolate cake- I was on the lookout for a warm chocolate lava cake, but apparently that seems to have escaped this menu. Darn. I really needed a lava cake to make up for the lack of lava in the last one.

But this cake was delightful. Considerably sweeter than the last, and paired with vanilla ice cream and a dollop of cream. Much less extreme tastes and the more child friendly option.

It never ceases to amaze me how tastebuds can develop so distinctly over a person’s life- a child transitions from white chocolate to milk chocolate to dark chocolate just as she transitions from Ribena to Grapetizer to Bordeaux. About five years back, vanilla ice cream and milk chocolate cake would have been the perfect way to occupy me for awhile, but the soufflé had a distinctly complex taste- it was a choice between tingling sweet or tantalizingly sexy. I prefer sexy.

The one triumph the cake had over the soufflé was its moist interior- it made up for what the soufflé had failed to achieve. That, and the fact that there were little distinctive grains of black vanilla pod remains in the ice cream- perfect. 

To be honest, I have a fetish for all things chocolate- so there wouldn’t be much sense in me rating my desserts- chocolate will always reign as king. I wouldn’t be a good judge of this place, because I had a great time- and as I said, great company inevitably makes good food taste great. I wouldn’t be a good judge of value, either, since sergeant paid for tea- but 48 dollars is rather dear for tea for three.

I don’t think I’ll be back soon, whether for the $16.50 soufflé or the dismal service. If you do ever have a craving for chocolate desserts, make your way over to Max Brenner or the other Laurent Bernard at Portsdown Road.

Sorry.

Rating: 4/7 (Terrible service, soufflé not up to par, too expensive for the standard of the dishes).

I think that could be due to the waiter/chef working during this period though, it is Chinese New Year after all, and not many people want to spend their CNY afternoons serving three pretentious students.

80 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-11
The Pier @ Robertson Singapore

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