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For a few years now, the F&B scene in Singapore has been characterized by the “anti-establishment” – young start-ups eager to replicate or create new experiences which are more personable, intimate than the big bad franchise. Just look around: we’re finding ourselves more excited over cafes, ice-cream parlors and restaurants, even if their product isn’t always up to par.
Some might argue that this change in consumer patterns is representative of a more nationalist conscience, but I don’t want to get broiled in all that politics. Instead, I’d like to suggest that while not applicable to all, the big chains, once thought of as hallmarks of quality and consistency, has been lately failing the masses. Obviously, changing consumer tastes and preferences is also another factor. But, is it truly all gloom and doom for the big bad superstore in Singapore? Can anybody reignite our passion for mass production? Can fine dining come from commercialism?
Well, Fanny wants to present its case. This Vietnam-based Parisian ice-cream brand, whose name is the synonym for vagina, carefully balances mass production and artisanship by keeping it au naturel. Blessed by the techniques cultivated at the high-end pattiserie culinary institute of Le Notre, Paris (whose atelier in Paris is considered one of the best in the world for macarons), chef Jean-Marc Bruno has created a chain of parlors that sells really good ice-cream for the common man. Individual scoops in Singapore range between SGD 4 and SGD 4.50, but taste like a million bucks.
Where Fanny really excels is its speciality creations, especially in terms of dollar value if you’re sharing. It’s basically the common man’s Tippling Club, except it’s less pretentious, all ice-cream but equally mind-blowingly wonderful. The ice-creams are all very rich and a description which I could only describe as being “very European”. That intensity, I feel, may also be its Archilles’ heel for Singaporeans. It is very intense and rich in flavor, and totally not something you could eat every day, or every other day.
The Martiniquaise (SGD 12) that Darren and I shared was made of rum raisin, vanilla and coffee ice-cream, with coffee liqueur, almonds and whipped cream. We didn’t do much samplings, so this was totally a one-shot thing. However, when the ice-cream cocktail came, and we saw the vanilla ice-cream teeming with vanilla beans, we knew it was going to be good.