Wednesday, 7 November 2012
Hoshino Coffee (星乃珈琲店) @ Plaza Singapura
You will not miss Hoshino Coffee, it's located on the third floor in Plaza Sing's swanky new extension. There is this really eye catching display of their food items at the entrance that draws potential customers in.
The decor is very similar to the Shibuya outlet I went to. Lots of wood, warm lighting and even the furniture- the red leather seats and wooden tables are similar. (Even the coffee cups are the same!) I guess it's their trademark image and it's all faithfully replicated here in Singapore's first outlet.
I believe this coffee joint is well known for their hand drip coffee and their fluffly pancake souffles. First off, I had a hot cup of Hoshino Blended Coffee ($5.80)
They claim that their coffee beans are specially selected and their coffee are specially "hand-dripped". First off, this coffee blend is tailored to Asian tastes, so it's less acidic/sour than western coffee but nonetheless, pretty potent in the caffeine department. It's a really aromatic blend and it provides some very intriguing lingering aftertaste. Some may compare this cup to their usual kopitiam coffee and wonder if it's overpriced. Well, many people actually pay a lot for their starbucks coffee. Also, I realised the coffee is actually much cheaper here compared to the cup I had in Shibuya (about SGD9 there!). It's of the exact same portion, same cup, I think it tastes similar but memory fails me here. And you can get a second refill for 50% off here! So whether you are willing to pay $5.80 for a cup of premium coffee, well it's really subjective. They also serve a variety of tea (their matcha teas look really good but be prepared to pay more!)
This is Hoshino Spaghetti ($14) and it actually looks very impressive and big at first sight. It is served al dente with a curious mix of ingredients: eggplant, bacon, shimeji mushroom, sausages, tomatoes and ONSEN EGG, sprinkled with copious amounts of sesame. Well yes, the portion is generous and there is a nice mix of fresh ingredients, but no offence I think this could be the pasta I will make with my dinner leftovers from last night, except perhaps I won't be able to make that perfect onsen egg. It still makes a wonderful and tasty dish, but I might want to try something else the next time.
For dessert, I decided not to go with their souffle pancakes; I decided it is more worth it to eat with friends, since a double serving costs $12, compared to $9.80 for a single piece. BTW, there pancakes souffle style and pot-baked souffle are freshly baked on the spot and will take about 20 minutes to be served. So I ordered their tantalizing looking Matcha Souffle ($9.80):
It was served fresh from the oven, and was still warm when I sunk my spoon into it. The top had a nicely burnt crispy brown layer. Venture further into the core of the souffle and you will find a rich, soft matcha custard oozing out. This dessert isn't overly sweet and there were hints of matcha flavour, which I would have preferred to be stronger. The insides were a bit like molten egg custard, and it really goes well with their coffee. For a moment, I was tempted to get a coffee refill.
Service wise, it is clear they are severely understaffed. I visited on a weekday evening just slightly before dinnertime. There were only 3 waiters to handle the entire dinnertime crowd, and the kitchen became noticeably slower. The food items took some time to churn out the mains and desserts and I noticed many diners had to wait. But it's their first week here in Singapore, and I guess they will iron out these problems in future. I will be coming back for pancakes the next time!
So I went down to Hoshino Coffee a second time with a friend to try their Souffle style pancakes. As mentioned earlier, one pancake costs $9.80 while two pancakes cost $12. Not sure why they priced it this way, but it's definitely more bang per buck to get two pancakes!
You will need to wait at least 15 mins for this dish to be served, because it's freshly made on the spot. The pancakes are really fat and thick! They are also immensely enjoyable, since the insides are really fluffy but the outside edges are baked to a nice crispy golden brown. You can choose to have your pancakes served with maple syrup, honey or brown sugar syrup. I had maple syrup and found the pancakes especially the fluffy, cake-like insides easily soak up the maple syrup and goes really well with it!
Hoshino Coffee, Plaza Singapura, #03-84, Singapore