Easily overlooked is an understatement. Tucked away under a HDB block at Everton Park with its pastel coloured deco, most would probably glance past the unassuming facade of Grin Affair without a backward glance. I only spotted it because I was looking for it. Being the last week of my long A Level break before the hectic uni life begins, my foodie friends and I decided to go on a long awaited food hunt. Dessert hunt actually. Having been recently seeing rave reviews, it made it to the top of our to-go list.
I like the novel eco-friendly concept that shapes Grin Affair. They sell mini cakes served in jars that are washed and reused. For takeaways, they offer incentives for you to return your jars through little tickets. Every takeaway jar comes with a ticket. For ever jar that’s returned you’d be given another ticket. A jar of cranberries is redeemable with 20 tickets collected. How’s that for an incentive?
Decorated with wooden furniture and vintage collectibles, Grin Affairs feels like Singapore’s very own Narnia. Perhaps it was location of being at a HDB estate, or the small shop space, Grin Affair managed Vintage without Cliche. It was a small, homely hideout; a getaway from reality.
I was a tad disappointed that at 2.30pm, they’d already sold out on Strawberry Custard, Dark Chocolate, Cookies and Cream and Maron. Especially when I really wanted to try the Dark Choc and Maron. In the end we grudgingly settled for the Kiwi Cheesecake, Matcha and Azuki Bean,Banoffee and the Honey Lavender and Blueberry Cream.
Kiwi Cheesecake ($5.50) – Cream cheese with fresh kiwi slices and moist vanilla cake, topped with a later of crunchy nut praline
This was good on every count. Every layer was discernible visually; every ingredient was detectable in each bite. The slices of kiwi was a perfect complement to the light and subtly sweet cream cheese filling. The pralines added a welcomed crunch to the cake and gave it an extra textural dimension. Oddly, though not unpleasant, there was a coconutty flavour in the praline. If anything, I’d wish for more kiwi slices.
The Honey Lavender and Blueberry Cream ($4.80) however – light honey lavender mousse with moist vanilla cake, topped with fresh blueberries – disappointed. While the honey and lavender flavours were delightfully prominent, the only present blueberry-anything was a mere morsel decorating the top of the jar. The light tartness of blueberries would've kicked the dessert up a notch.
Takeaway jars of Matcha and Azuki Beans and Banoffee
What for, you ask?
1. I get 2 tickets I’d miss out on if I’d eaten there. 2. The presentation of the jar looks much better that way. So its for photography purposes. 3. I want to keep the jars.
There. For $5.50, I get a cake, coupon, a prettier dessert, and a jar, while my friends get only the cake. 4 VS 1: just do a takeaway.
Matcha and Azuki Beans ($5.50) – green tea mousse with chunky red bean and moist vanilla cake, topped with walnuts
Oh hohoho matcha and azuki? Nuff said I was won over instantly. I was a tad worried still cause matcha desserts are usually wonderful creations or epic failures. Thankfully this cake did not disappoint. The mousse screamed matcha. It wasn’t overly sweet and had that slight smoky musky bitterness unique to matcha. Matcha lovers this is one helluva mousse to look out for. The slightly sweet azuki beans were soft without being mushy. I loved the addition of the vanilla cake and the walnuts especially. They elevated this cake with the additional variety of textures. This is definitely my fave out of the 4, nailing the composition of both textures and flavours.
Banoffee ($5.50) – vanilla mousse with baked crust and a layer of dulce de leche, finished with moist coffee cake, fresh banana slices and baked pecan chunks
I was expecting quite a bunch from its promising description and the reviews it got from other foodies. Sadly this – for me – turned out to be the biggest disappointment of the day. I dislike caramel, so I’m usually able to detect any trace of it in any dish. I didn’t taste any here. Naturally I’m be more than delighted for dulce de leche to be omitted from this cake. However its absence suggests a failure, especially since I believe it is supposed to be prominent feature of this cake. The coffee cake was equally played down. And I actually love coffee, so I was a super buffed that I couldn’t taste it here. If there was any saving factor at all, it’d be the bananas and the baked crust. They chose to be generous here and the copious amounts of bananas offered was wonderful. Slightly salty, the baked crust gave the dessert a slightly tarty spin that stayed true to its origin, the banoffee pie. A well thought out dessert that unfortunately did not translate.
I guess it’s hard to be all hits and no misses, and Grin Affair had more of the former. Free from the corruption of bustling cosmopolitan lifestyles, a visit to Grin Affairs is a must either for their mean mousses or just for their ambience. And I have to give it to them for the innovative combination of flavours and textures. So I’ll definitely be back, if not for their Lychee and Passionfruit/Dark Choc/Maron, their Matcha and Azuki Bean!
3 Everton Park
(+65) 8222 2678
Monday to Saturday: 12pm-8pm
Public Holidays: 1.30pm-6pm
We are closed on Sundays