“You manage to travel half the world but cannot navigate your own backyard?” is the usual incredulous question when I admit to having gotten lost in Singapore…yet again…
Yes. So while passing Fatcat Ice-Cream Bar (416 Bedok North Avenue 2), wondering where the Bedok hawker center might be hiding, I notice a strange phenomena through the glass panes: there were young people hovering over their tables, peering through phones held aloft. Super Happy Dev House? I thought at once, for no reason at all.
Nope, but there was hacking of a different sort going on.
Charcoal batter for the waffle was right on the aunty-health trend (something about detoxification, i think). The butter beer ice-cream, inspired by Harry Potter-verse, was made from Belgian beer and French butter. And salted caramel on the plate and the salted egg sauce conspired to keep things interesting. I usually get bored with a whole waffle after a quarter or two of same-same-ness, but this was fun. Not sure about the lavender flower bits though – a nice surprise to bite into a strong flower fragrance here and there, but didn’t think it played well with either the butterbeer creaminess or the salty pair.
And what do you know? Molecular gastronomy in the heartlands! Now that’s what we want – more innovation and differentiation! Doubtless many clone cafes will soon follow, but one of the joys of living in Singapore is being buoyed each successive food-trend wave. Above, basic spherification produced a lime mojito, erm, sphere that was then sprinkled with lime zest and microgreens.
Here, blow-torched banana split with nutella powder (the hazelnut spread possibly transformed with malodextrin – like so), and the two cross-section slices topped with cardamon. Interesting separately, but wondered how it was meant to work as a whole.
Glad that the molecular gastronomic food delivery system has been made available to the masses. Loads of potential for playing around! Perhaps more flavour cohesion on the plate might work better, but it’s early days yet and it’s far better to try stuff out and get it wrong than to stick with the tried-and-tested. This detour made me smile more than a carrot cake (black, with chilli) from Bedok hawker centre would’ve.
(A side note: what also piqued my interest was that, when asked for recommendations between plated desserts, the nice wait-staff said,”Oh, I think the strawberry cheesecake looks better.” And later he said assuringly,”We are very big on social media.” Once seated, I checked the usual sources and true enough, there were many posts/tweets/comments commending Fatcat for instagrammable desserts.
Having only just arrived from the technological backwater that is England, I’d only heard third-hand about the social media boom in Singapore. While I think the caution with which older generations approach new forms of communication is understandable, and might in fact be helpful in making us all aware of their impact, the content of their complaints isn’t new. Superficiality, selectivity, etc have all been dangers common to, for example, letter-writing, town-crying, small town-gossip, book-writing, mass media-coverage.
However, I wonder whether the criteria of instagrammability is quite another level – an express and quite shameless priority given to the appearance of the content to be shared on social media. Or perhaps not, Oscar Wilde. Something to think about…)