When I travel, I'm always impressed and awed by how old buildings are repurposed. Be it as institutions, malls, or F&B establishments, it is always interesting to see places with history and background being made relevant in more modern contexts. So imagine my excitement after hearing about Tian Kee & Co.
Housed within the old residential district Dakota, in an ancient provision shop opened way back in 1958, is modern dessert café & bar Tian Kee & Co. (天记). Calling itself artisanal, Tian Kee prides itself on bringing local interpretations to innovative desserts. Savoury items are offered; but Tian Kee's most popular for unique sweet creations like rainbow and yuan yang cheesecakes.
The small space stays true to the theme of an old provision shop, and is decorated with bits of antique furniture and pieces. I love how these little bits and pieces create a retro space great for gatherings, catching up, and reminiscing about the past.
Iced Nuts About U (S$7++) - Nutella and espresso ice cubes with fresh milk
We popped by after lunch one day to try out some of their more novel creations. We tried the Hot Chocolate (S$5++) and Hot Nuts About U (S$5.50++). The former was nothing special; and the latter, essentially nutella with steamed milk, tasted watered-down and bland. What most interest us was the iced Nuts About U. While the coffee was mediocre and not much to scream about, the different components made it a fun drink to enjoy.
Ugly Nutella Cake (S$6.50++)
A crisp shell, cracking into a moist, gooey, chocolatey center - this is the epitome of ugly-beautiful. It's not the prettiest nor the most elegant of desserts; but it is in-your-face, messy, and absolutely hearty.
Yuan Yang Cheesecake (S$6.50++)
Creamy yet light filling, crunchy and tasty base, Tian Kee's cheesecake ticked all the right boxes. The textures were spot on and amazing; so it was a pity the flavours could not match up. The faint hint of coffee is no tribute to the wonderfully fragrant local kopi, and there was no trace of the promised teh. This would've been perfect if Tian Kee nailed the flavours.
Gula Melaka Cheesecake (S$6.50++)
Similarly Tian Kee nailed the texture on this. Think creamy, soft, enveloping your tongue kind of cheesecake - utter decadence. A shame yet again that the gula melaka did not pull through, turning up instead as a light sugar syrup lingering at the back. I can't say this is the best gula melaka dessert, but it's definitely one of the best cheesecakes I've had.
In a bustling cosmopolitan city that's all modern, minimalistic and grey, Tian Kee exudes an old world charm that is oddly attractive. The coffee may be lacking, the desserts imperfect; yet for that moment of being immersed in older worry-free days - and awesome cheesecakes of course - it is definitely worth a visit.
Tian Kee & Co.
12 Dakota Crescent
Tuesdays to Sundays: 9am-11pm
Closed on Mondays