Japanese pancakes seem to be back in trend lately, with a few places serving up Japanese pancakes coming up in the pipeline recently.
Located at Bugis Junction, belle-village takes over the former spot of Chateraise, being situated just beside Hariann’s Nonya Table outside the mall. belle-ville pancake cafe originates from Osaka, Japan; the local outpost is the brand’s first outlet located out of Japan. The shop space it occupies is rather small, with seats generally able to sit either groups of twos or fours. The interior is pretty cosy, featuring wooden accents and splashes of red and blue for its furniture and some fittings. It is no doubt that belle-ville pancake cafe’s Signature would be their Millefeuille Soufflé Pancakes; the pancakes come with options of pre-defined combinations of fruit and fresh cream, as well as plain with patrons opting for their choice of toppings. Other food options include parfaits and sandwiches, while coffee, tea and other beverages are also available; coffee is being brewed from beans using the Throwback blend roasted by Papa Pahelta, which are the same folks behind Chye Seng Huat Hardware.
(Millefeuille Soufflé Pancakes)
A visit to belle-villa pancake cafe would not be complete without an order of their signature Millefeuille Soufflé Pancakes. We went for the Grilled Apple with Homemade Caramel Pancake; the pancake comes default with fresh cream and a small scoop of ice-cream over the top. Our order was the 4 pieces option; patrons who wish to have a larger portion can go for an 8 pieces option as well. Having a go at the soufflé pancakes, one could definitely notice the fluffiness of the pancakes; whilst looking thick and somehow dense, the pancakes were undeniably light and fluffy — almost cloud-like even. Flavour-wise, the pancakes do come with a slight egginess, but it was slightly marred with a slight hint of alkaline aftertaste that seemed to stem from baking soda. Nonetheless, it was able to be masked once the pancakes are lathered with the homemade caramel sauce — thick and sweet; somewhat similar to salted caramel. The vanilla ice-cream and fresh cream were decent additions, but we did enjoy how the caramelised apples were soft to the bite whilst being reasonably sweet; the pancakes were also finished with a layer of crackling sugar over the top; something similar to a Creme Brûlée. While pancakes are arguably more of a breakfast dish, the Grilled Apple with Homemade Caramel Pancake certainly fits well as a dessert for any occasion, even for one especially given its light and airy texture.
We also opted for the Katsu Sandwich since we would have liked to have something savoury for dinner as well. While this was certainly not something as aesthetically exciting nor as appealing as the soufflé pancakes, the Katsu sandwich works as a decent option for those who need something savoury before having their sweets. The portion is pretty small, though one can possibly argue that it allows for space to try the soufflé pancakes. Bread was nicely toasted; crisp on the exterior, though we felt that the Tonkotsu cutler lacked crispness from the fried batter. That being said, the Tonkotsu sauce was able to bind the meat, bread and greens together with its richness and a savoury-sweet and zingy flavours; a sauce that brings flavour to the otherwise usual-tasting sandwich that would have felt lacking in the flavour department.
Only two types of Parfaits are being served at belle-ville pancake cafe; the Strawberry Parfait and the Chocolate Parfait. We went for the former, which found to be a safe option to go for. The Strawberry Parfait comes with ice-cream, cut strawberries, grapes and other fruits, strawberry sauce, cream, cornflakes and a waffle on the side, amongst other components. While the Strawberry Parfait does not attempt to reinvent the wheel, it does certainly fit as a decent dessert that would satisfy the sweet-tooths considering its classic combination of components that usually make up a Parfait.
Yes, we might not have tried belle-ville pancake cafe in its homeland, but we did feel that belle-ville pancake cafe’s offerings in Singapore are actually pretty decent; no doubt the other items such as the sandwich and the parfait that we have had were nothing out-of-the-world, but belle-ville pancake cafe ultimately still is a place with an emphasis on their pancakes, which was an item that left a good impression. That being said, there is certainly some room for improvement when it comes to the pancakes, such as the slight hint of an alkaline aftertaste as mentioned; we did feel that such issues are relatively minor, considering it was not particularly off-putting and should be fixed with just a slight tweak in the recipe. Apart from that, the staff at belle-ville pancake cafe are pretty attentive; we were sitting around a blind spot from the main area but the staff did make special trips to the corner where were at to check if we need our glasses filled or tables to be cleared, whilst also checking if we were waiting to place an order. All in all, a place that is worth checking out if in the area for desserts, and a place that pancake lovers should make a visit to at least once.
belle-ville pancake cafe
230 Victoria Street