Last Updated: June 10, 2018
I am a self-professed chocoholic. There was a phase in my life when I couldn’t go a day without something sweet, and I would always turn to chocolate to appease my cravings.
But those days need to be sadly quelled due to two wonderful things called age and health.
But I’m only human and on days that I seek a mood booster, I still turn to my old friend, chocolate. This brings me to the moment of elation when I found out that The Dark Gallery had opened a full-fledged cafe and chocolate boutique in the basement of Takashimaya Shopping Centre.
Most might already be familiar with the smaller setup at Millenia Walk, but this one features Singapore’s first Mod-Bar® pour-over and steam system, which is used to create their pour-over coffee and signature chocolate drinks.
One of these drinks is the Single Origin Pour Over ($6.50) made with Ethiopian origin coffee from Melbourne’s Padre.
With the colour looking more like overly-steeped tea, the taste itself leaned towards cocoa rather than coffee. It wasn’t very strong, but non-fans of bitter drinks might want to select something else.
They say chocolate milk is a good post-workout beverage, and here you can choose the type of chocolate for your Single Origin Chocolate (from $8.50). There are options like 62% Brazil, 64% Madagascar, 68% Ghana, 70% Costa Rica, 72% Venezuela and 75% Tanzania.
I picked the 70% Costa Rica and it was just the right amount of sweet and bitter; I always try to go for at least 65% cocoa content when eating a chocolate bar.
New to this full-fledged cafe is the Four Senses Of Chocolate, consisting of four choices of Sucre, Savoury, Sangria and Spice. Naturally, I was drawn to the two most unique concoctions.
At $10 each, my first choice was the Sangria, featuring cold pressed orange juice and iced chocolate, accompanied by a mini lemon tart. I had no idea what to expect, but considering I’m not a fan of acidic fruits with chocolate, this pairing required an acquired palate.
It was fruity sweet that rounded off with a heavy cocoa note, which made the finish a little sour.
The other mix I tried was the Savoury, with a head of cold cream cheese foam floating in their Signature Hot Chocolate. Initially, I thought it would get really sickening quickly, but ironically the cheese foam made the drink seem much lighter than it was.
I suppose the frothy nature of the foam helped to alleviate the richness of the chocolate, and all in all, the drink was very easy to finish.
Plated desserts are also new to this flagship store, and one of the must-tries is the Chocolate Souffle ($15). There aren’t many places in Singapore that do a souffle, let alone a great one, so my expectations were really heightened with anticipation.
The souffle uses 66% dark chocolate with a touch of espresso coffee powder, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The centre concaved instantly on the first scoop, and revealed a soft, piping hot middle. The cocoa flavour wasn’t as intense as I’d expected it to be (which was a tad disappointing), but the texture was right on the money.
Perhaps you’d prefer to pair your chocolate beverage with something a little lighter? They have a selection of tea cakes going at $6, and I went for the Salted Caramel Coconut and Chocolate Banana Pecan.
I preferred the former for its stronger flavours, while the latter didn’t impress me with its too-subtle banana taste. But what I did like was that both tea cakes were definitely moist.
They also serve White Chocolate and Dark Chocolate mini croissants at $3.50 each, and safe to say, my vote went to the Dark Chocolate. The White Chocolate was simply too sweet, with no complexity and when I discovered that the pink colouration was just food dye, it left me less than impressed.
Sure, you can get chocolate desserts elsewhere, but I feel the most varied spread can be found here at The Dark Gallery’s cafe. What’s even better is the central location and very affordable prices, in spite of the high quality of cocoa beans they use.
If you ask me, those are enough reasons to go loco for cocoa!
Expected damage: $4 – $18 per pax