Written with passion by Caleb Ho
So we’re back! And so am I! It’s nice to know that my first article for Dine Out since the last one brings me here. As someone who has a sweet tooth, this is gastronomic heaven. I’m so sweet, I’m probably diabetic.
Caroline Broutin, the graceful hostess of La Creperie de Caroline invited us to its Pre-Opening Celebration recently on a rain-washed Thursday evening. Expecting Brittany-inspired French countryside charm, I was surprised to find the bar in solid black that tilted more towards sophistication and chic. This theme extended through its black metal lamps accented by a warm glow of orange lights pairing nicely with the huge orange bar wall. I felt as much at home with a glass of wine in hand as I was with a caramel smothered crepe in the other.
Since this was different from our usual sit-down reviews, my partner-in-crime, CK and I spent the evening standing by square bar tables instead. Waiters in navy and white striped t-shirts buzzed about with trays of assorted crepes. CK commented how they looked like French sailors and I thought likewise but I would’ve preferred French maids; maybe next time.
A ‘sailor’ soon called at my port and I picked my first bite of the evening - a savoury buckwheat flour crepe or galette as the French call it. Bits of tender-seared chicken breast and Portobello mushrooms on top with a layer of Emmental cheese between the galette changed my opinion of what a crepe should be. I’m not a fan of cheese (gasps of horror!) Yeah, I know. Cut me some slack; it’s biological. But well, it was pleasantly good. The strong flavours of the Portobello mushroom was paired nicely with the chicken and the galette added a different texture to the dish. The next ones I tried included bits of leek fondue and Emmental cheese. The strong flavours of the leek accented this dish very well with a tang of salty sourness.
After munching on the galettes for the next hour or so, I was feeling a little restless. ‘Where are those sweet crepes?’ By then, CK had gone outside to do something with his mobile so it was getting a little lonely. But it didn’t me take long to find some social comfort as I introduced myself to two ladies who were standing beside me - Choy Lan, who works as a quantity surveyor and Hsien Huey, who works with corporate banking. Soon, CK returned and the four of us converged for a serious discussion on crepes. Interestingly, the ladies felt the galettes were not their thing and were waiting for the sweet variety to show up, which after a while, finally did.
Visually, they were distinctly different from their buckwheat cousins. Slightly thicker, buttery yellow with darker brown lines of charred goodness weaving through, this was what I had come for. There were so many varieties – caramel, Nutella, chocolate, banana, chocolate AND banana; my mouth was unstoppable! All four of us agreed that this was much better. We all liked the moist and soft texture and the fact that it was sweet made it all the better. This was in contrast to the galette which we found to be slightly harder. The caramel crepe had generous drizzles of caramel on top while the chocolate banana crepe is a fine tribute to all other chocolate banana creations elsewhere – smooth chocolate drizzles on top of soft moist crepe sandwiching a hearty chunk of sweet banana.
Since the crepes were presented in fine little squares, the ladies were still hungry and invited us to join them for a meal at KGB (No, not the Russian agency). As I am very much a ladies’ man, we said our gracious thanks to the lovely Caroline and headed off but not before I ran into my friend’s sister, Shih Jun and her colleagues from the French Embassy. After a warm chat, CK and I promptly joined our two ladies at KGB but that’s a story for another day…
(To further follow Caleb's gastronomic journey on Le Creperie du Caroline, click here)