I honestly, don’t get it.
Lady M, that is. After having tried the signature Vanilla Mille Crepes and the Checker confections, I left the New York based store feeling a little “bleh”, cheated and angry mostly. Apparently, there’s a hype behind all this excitement. It’s the first store outside of the States, and only the fifth outlet after branches in the oh-so-cool metros of LA and New York. Its claim to fame are its cakes which are baked with a combination of French and Japanese pastry techniques, which gives them a comparatively lighter, almost Asian-sized composition as opposed to the rich butter cream of typical American cakes. In Asia however, it’s the norm. In fact, it’s so pedestrian, you’ll find it in every major and minor subway stations and food basements in Tokyo, as well as across modern Asian cities. But hey, if it hails from New York City, it must be good, right?
Despite a fair variety on the menu, the actual selection day-to-day appears to be subject to the whims and fancies of the store. So, you’re more likely to have the Mille Crepe and Checkers than anything else. Don’t be too eager to check out the website for available cakes, either. Darren did, and appeared frustrated that the local website failed to build an accurate picture of the selections available. But if you’re more style over substance, Lady M’s Confections will amaze. It’s meticulously dressed, stunningly camera-ready, and looks expensive. Just walking by the open-top table where they display their cakes feels like you’ve arrived at New York Fashion Week.
The Vanilla Mille Crepe for example, pays attention to form, architecture and layering. Comprising of 20 painstaking homogeneous layers of paper-thin crepes sandwiched with an equally meticulous portion of vanilla cream filling, it’s the work of true craftspeople. In terms of flavoring, it’s almost like an Indonesian kueh lapis – sweeter than the Singapore variant, with layers so fine, so consistent and so well made, you’d feel like a fool for ordering the Vanilla Mille Crepe. I’d know, my mom was in Sekupang, Batam, Indonesia two weeks ago for a retreat and bought boxes of Indonesian made kueh lapis. If you haven’t had Indonesian kueh lapis, then I’d describe it as a less refined version of those sweet cream sandwiches you find in Tokyo’s supermarkets.
The Checkers on the other hand, pays tribute to color blocking, with chocolate and vanilla sponge cakes cubed and alternated to create the pattern. It’s sealed in a rich but thin layer of chocolate ganache. Yet, despite all that hard work, what results is another cake that is also form over function. The patterned vanilla and chocolate sponge does nothing to reignite or mesh the flavors. The cake’s main binding agent, the cream – prominent and overpowering in the Mille Crepe – continues to overpower the chocolate sponge, vanilla sponge. Even the chocolate ganache is swallowed whole. Overall, the sensation is somewhat diminished, reducing it into a light chocolate cream cake.
In conclusion, nothing to get excited about, and certainly not worth the SGD 8 and SGD 8.50 tag (yes, they’ve raised prices).