Last Updated: September 22, 2020
My reason for coming to The Wonderment Collective was to satisfy a curiosity. I have seen photos of TWC on Instagram and for a fleeting moment, am convinced that the decor would be the pivot all cafes need to embrace an aesthetic that stems from a fascination for filigree but with respect for restrain. Some would call it contemporary. I just think it’s poetically tasteful.
There’s a stilly placidity, sitting in this nook off Lorong 23 Geylang—a space painted a charming hue of teal and a wood floor set in a herringbone pattern, leading you both inward or out depending on your intention. When coming in, it points towards the counter, set in white, blue, and rattan and a mural of flowers and plants set in sepia. This rattan motif would repeat itself throughout the space—on the chairs and room divider. It’s all very classic romanticism, and I love it.
I arrive on a drizzly Monday afternoon, which means the weather is wet, cold, and perfect for a spot of latte and cakes. The Wonderment Collective used to be a purveyor of weddings as The Wedding Chateau, but in recent months, have pivoted to selling their bakes and cakes online—a timely coincidence given the state of weddings and solemnisation in the pandemic.
Here, the Muslim-owned seven-seater dining space is shared with the cavernous baking studio out back where bakers toil to fulfil retail orders and create the lean menu on offer at The Wonderment Collective. It’s a menu that changes weekly, further leaning into the concept of a space that’s living, breathing, and beautifully still.
On my visit, the menu was a curated selection of classic favourites that are unfussy, approachable, and, quite frankly some of the best things you can have with a simple cup of coffee. There’s a Tea Cakes set of 2 (S$6.50) that’s a masterclass in balance and textural sensitivity. The Raspberry Almond Financier first arrests the senses from the heady fragrance of almonds, before winning you over with the bright raspberry and beautifully moist sponge base.
The Lemon Rosemary, on the other hand, could have had the potential to be great if it had a more robust and more nuanced tart lemon in the batter. The lemon overtones of this are, instead, helped along by a dollop of white frosting that is more sweet than boldly acidic. I wondered about the rosemary too, before deciding to consume the leaves on top wholesale, though I’m quite sure that was not what those leaves were intended.
Elsewhere, the trendy Basque Cheesecake (S$6.50) makes an appearance in a very rustic form, held together by a translucent piece of baking paper and a string of twill tied off on the side. The palm-sized cake comes with some berries resting on the crackled surface and a side of raspberry compôte that is just sour enough to make my jaw tremble in trepidation—a sure sign of a superior and preservative-free fruit preserve.
I have long given up on Singaporean bakers realising and understanding that what makes a cheesecake Basque is its overflowing, almost liquid centre that has yet to hold its shape due to ingredient ratios and baking time. For that reason, too, it is usually served warm. But not in Singapore where every iteration I’ve had is always served cold, with a crustless bottom which is possibly the only Basque thing about the cheesecake.
Although the cheesecake at TWC fell prey to this very same error, I cannot help but fawn over the addition of salt in the batter that gives the cake such a delicate and exquisite balance, setting it apart from the hoi polloi of other Basque variations. Pouring over the compote and having it all together in one swift bite gives you a dessert that is alluringly sweet, delicately salted, and sufficiently acidic—a tripartite of flavour that deserves praise.
I also liked the Brownie (S$6.50) and its play on chocolate flavours, both dark and milky. It’s a generous slab of a thing with pockets of fudge that has solidified into a creamy mass. As far as brownies are concerned, the TWC iteration is perfect for a child on the precipice of dessert exploration, or the adult with a child-sized centre. I only wish there were more raspberries than the singular one on offer. I’m quite certain the sweet tart of raspberries would have made this brownie consumption a more joyful one.
I would have stayed longer if I could, but in a space that seats only seven, seating here comes at a premium. And while you might find it impossible to sit your party of five, you must realise by now, that this is a limitation that comes by design.
One does not patronise The Wonderment Collective for a boisterous, convivial time. Instead, TWC has set itself up as a space of quiet and peaceful reflection, where voices above a whisper would seem, perhaps a tad too intrusive. It’s a great place for a first date also, but it’s even better for thirty minutes of solace, solitude, and calm all on your own.
Expected Damage: S$6.50 – S$12 per pax
Our Rating: 4 / 5
The Wonderment Collective
90 Lorong 23 Geylang #01-01, Singapore 388393
90 Lorong 23 Geylang #01-01, Singapore 388393