The Place We were thrilled to learn that famous French-Japanese patisserie Henri Charpentier is opening its first overseas outpost in Singapore recently. Officially opened just last week, we spotted a snaking queue at its Dempsey outlet and could not help but conclude that Singaporeans are so well-informed of new restaurants these days. It was interesting to note that there were many Japanese in the queue alongside the curious Singaporeans, whom like us, could not resist checking this latest talk of the town patisserie outlet in the already very hyped up Dempsey Hill.
The first moment of stepping into Henri Charpentier store for me was to be amazed by how pretty the place is. The display counter was reminsicent of a typical patisserie store I would spot in Omotesando, with the neat and colorful displays of the pastry and cakes available for takeaways. Needless to say, there is strong emphasis on the packaging as well.
The Henri Charpentier store at Dempsey felt very spacious, and my first thought was that it felt so out of the world from the rest of Singapore. The lush greenery surrounds the whole restaurant, with ample space between diners and tables, such that it felt like a rather surreal retreat. This is definitely a pretty place for a nice afternoon gathering.
Isn’t it poetic to have desserts and coffee on a lazy weekend afternoon with such greenery and view?
The Food Desserts are definitely the main draw here at Henri Charpentier, though it offers some mains such as Beef Bourguignon ($29) as well. There are a couple of signature desserts only available in Singapore, such as the famous Dome ($28), a chocolate sphere which is flambéed, and the Flower Temptation ($28), a caramel-flavored chocolate mousse flambéed with orange liqueur. There are also various cakes such as Strawberry Shortcake (9.50), Chocolatine ($9.50) and Mille-Feuille ($8.50).
We were really keen to try the Dome ($28) but was told that it was sold out. Eventually, we settled for the Crêpe Suzette ($22), which the service staff had prepared in front of us. There were a few mobile trolleys going around to each table where some of the flambé dramatic desserts would be prepared.
The thin crepes was prepared by pouring Grand Marnier liquor in orange juice to give the rich orange flavour for the crepes. Unfortunately, we did not witness the expected flambé performance as the staff told us apologetically that she didn’t manage to capture it. That was quite disappointing for us as we were anticipating the flambé given that it was part of the dish description. At $22, I would say that it is quite a hefty price tag for two thin slices of crepe and huge part of this price is no doubt the visual treat that we were expecting. Owells.
Fortunately, the Mille-Feuille ($8.50) crispy crust and the rich vanilla cream was the best ingredients. We wiped it out in just few minutes.
The Strawberry Shortcake (9.50) was another of our favourites of the day, with its fluffy texture, rich cream and fresh berries.
The Cafe Smoothie ($12.50) we tried was refreshing and rich, especially the taste of the premium milk used.
Rants The above average prices aside, we were disappointed with the inattentive service we would have expected from such an experienced Japanese brand. We had to request repeatedly for refills of our water from different staff, our order was conveniently forgotten, not to mention our repeated disappointments of finding out that certain dishes were sold out for the day at various intervals due to their poor communication. We hope that this is merely an initial teething issue the restaurant is facing.
Will I return again? It was not the best first time experience at Henri Charpentier for us despite all the hype, given that we are big fans of Japanese food and desserts. The concept is definitely fresh and different from other patisserie stores in Singapore, but we do not find it worthwhile for the more than 30 minutes wait and the lack of availability of dishes.
Taste bud: 3/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 2.5/5
9A Dempsey Road, Singapore 247698
Tel: +65 6479 5518
Daily: 11am – 10pm