Sunday, May 22, 2005

Review: Cafe Rosso

Pictures very kindly provided by Natalie, because my camera is still being repaired

I have been on a quest to look for an eatery, any eatery, that serves the best scones in Singapore. I have also been on a lookout for the best chocolate milkshake, but that's a separate story.

One would imagine that freshly baked scones are not that hard to find. Unfortunately, one would imagine wrong. Every time I have tea with someone, I order the scones, hoping against hope that that will be the magical place which serves wonderful scones. It reminds me of Charlie, fervently wishing that the next chocolate bar he unwraps will have a golden ticket hidden underneath, except that unlike Charlie, I am always disappointed.

My latest foray was to Cafe Rosso, this Japanese cafe in Holland Village that was featured in a Today article that recommended places to go for tea. The article had also recommended Fosters in Holland Village, which has most definitely seen better days, so if it's scones you're looking for, Fosters is not the place to go.

Still, I had relatively high hopes for Cafe Rosso, mainly because the cakes looked very yummy in a post I had seen.

Cafe Rosso doesn't look much like a cafe; in fact, it looks a bit like an operating theatre. The walls, ceiling, floor, chairs and tables are all white. Everything looks very clean, and some chairs are even transparent, which may cause you to fall if you look at it while trying to sit in it. It's not too Japanese - with the exception of a few kitsch, plasticky waving cats sitting above the counter.

Cafe or ER?

The problem though, is that Cafe Rosso's service is bad. Real bad. They brought us water and all, but made no attempte to approach our table. We'd been there a good fifteen minutes and it was as if we had the plague or something - all the waiters and waitresses were hiding in the kitchen. Natalie finally caught the eye of one of the waitresses, and we managed to place our orders.

Fruit Bowl

She had a fruit bowl with yoghurt, and even though I was still very full from lunch, I made a valiant effort to order the scone set.


The scone set is actually pretty cheap, for $6.00 they give you two scones and a big pot of tea. The scones come with whipped cream, butter and some confiture. Unfortunately, in addition to being pretty cheap, they were also pretty bad. I hadn't noticed that all the scones come from this basket at the counter, which means that they've all been pre-baked and left out to harden. Which they did; both my scones were like rocks, and dry to the point of flakiness.

Admittedly, the teapot and teacup were quite cool, totally transparent, but I wanted good scones, not a glass factory.

I should have known though, that to expect a Japanese cafe to make good scones is like asking a tortoise to climb a tree. I should have gone for the cakes instead - they looked pretty tantalising, and more importantly, I did not mistake them for rocks.

I was disappointed, of course, at having my latest attempt to find good scones end in ignominy. I was also rather embarassed that Natalie was subjected to such questionable fare, since it had been my suggestion to begin with. I'm confident, though, that the company more than made up for the tea. I'll make it up to you next time, cross my heart.

Cafe Rosso serves breakfast, lunch and tea, and is tucked away in the quiet corner of Holland Village, away from the hustle and bustle. However, this also makes it rather inaccessible without a car.

Cafe Rosso (cafe, casual)
17D Lorong Liput
Holland Village
Tel: 6466 8637
Location: 3/5
Ambience: 3/5
Service: 2/5
Food: 2/5
Overall: Avoid the scones, try the cakes

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