Sweetspot. The very name itself generates an idea of tenderness, delicacy and an all right burst of sugary goodness. And it was over the weekend that I visited the exquisite espresso bar, bakery and dessert store in the sprawling grandeur of Marina Bay Sands Singapore.
Helmed by Executive Pastry Chef Alejandro Luna, the resort’s master creator of the Chocolate Paradigm, Carrot Muscovado and even the simply fascinating macaroons, every pastry and dessert item in the shoppe is crafted by hand. There is a total of 62 different types of exquisite desserts and pastries, and even more to come. On the very day I visited, Alejandro was about to launch a collection of chocolate coated nuts featuring his very own blend of ingredients!
The locality of Sweetspot in Marina Bay Sands is typically that of any established hotel’s own line of cakes and pastries to serve its guests. But I feel that the unique aspect presented here is the meticulous effort displayed by Alejandro in his artworks, together with the entire team in creating a whole range of pralines and freshly baked breads.
I was fortunate to arrange an exclusive interview with Chef Alejandro and surprisingly, he is only 28 years old. Inspired by his grandmother since a young age, Chef Alejandro started his way up in the baker’s kitchen while mastering the art of dessert making. Before working for renowned pastry chefs such as Pierre Herme or even opening 13 new bakeries in Miami, he grew up in the cocoa plantations of Venezuela, where most of his creations is heavily influenced from,
At the food tasting session, the best cake for me was the Carrot Muscovado Cake ($8.80). A grainy, moist carrot cake with a complex muscovado creme top, a lasting aftertaste which carried airy scents and light flavours lingered on after each bite. The topping of yoghurt and cream cheese created with agar skin complemented the sweet flavours well with a fine tartness and a tinge of buttery smoothness.
The Chocolate Paradigm ($9.10) is reputedly one of the cafe’s specialties and also one of Chef Alejandro’s personal favourites. Heavily marketed as a cake with 7 different types of textures using 5 different types of chocolates, this is supposedly the cake for chocolate lovers. From my view, I found the various textures to be very rich and velvety, smooth, creamy, layered, moist, crumbly, and crispy.The chocolate itself also does not leave a too overpowering aftertaste nor was it too sweet to begin with. The balance between bitter sweet chocolate is precise enough for me, such that it was forkful after forkful after forkful.
Black Forest ($9.10) is one combination that features the goodness of both tart sugary sweet berries with the bitter sweet flavours of fine chocolate. Sweetspot’s version uses a strong frosting of sour berry which on its own complements the chocolate very well. The final touch of adding a brandy soaked glace cherry also turns this sinful dessert into a taste with a twist.
The Nougat Torte ($8.80) is Chef Alejandro’s adaptation of the Snickers bar.There was a creme top with a deep chocolate base. Crunchy toppings adorn the top and the final bite leaves a thick aroma that lingers. Still, it was a piece that could be improved with perhaps better use of caramel and crushed nuts within that could add more texture and an improved sweetness.
I also had the Coffee Eclair. The pastry on its own is firmer and thicker than most found in the bakeries with a very generous filling of vanilla mousse which simply bursts into the mouth upon each bite. The touch of coffee glaze leaves a slightly bitter yet sweet taste that contrast well with each other.
My visit also coincided with Chef Alejandro’s new creation of Chocolate covered nuts. A total of eight varieties are available in both small and large versions. There are the
- Milk Chocolate & Confit Ginger
- Orange-Dark Chocolate & Macadamias
- Coffee-Dark Chocolate & Hazelnuts
- Dark Chocolate & Almonds
- Milk Chocolate & Hazelnuts with Spice
- White Chocolate Pisatchios
- White Chocolate Macadamias
- White Chocolate Salted Pumpkin Seeds
I found the Milk Chocolate & Confit Ginger to appeal more to the Asian tastebud for its slightly spicy and musky aftertaste that quelled any overtly sweetness of the chocolate.
For the Macaroons, they are $2.50 a piece. But if you get them in a gift box of 12, they come at $24. The varieties at Sweetspot are aplentiful with a total of 16 varieties, with more creations coming up every now and then. I found the quaint desserts to be just right in the amount of sweetness with no overbearing aftertaste and the macaroon shells itself are crisp, firm and yet brittle to the bite. Chef Alejandro does not use any buttercream for the filling but instead insists strongly on the usage of his home made jams. These are really good.
Ok, I was still craving for more desserts and sweets that I simply had to order these attractive berry laced pastries. Looked at that raspberry goodness above and blueberry delight below!
By the way, these two pastries are takeaway and the plates are not included.
Sweetspot is by far one of the better dessert and bakery store that I have visited, and its creations are if more often than not, unique in its own creative way. Prices are a little steep, though one does have to consider the locality and purpose. Still, it would be great if more seats and tables could be provided so that one could enjoy a dessert and a good cup of steaming cafe latte while engaging in idle chatter over teatime. It would perhaps be even better if a portion of the landscaped gardens outside would be used to this advantage. A little more and this sweet spot will be perfect.
It was a pleasure meeting Chef Alejandro Luna. I would love to visit again to finish trying out all his macaroons and going once more for that Carrot Muscovado cake.
Many thanks to Val Chua, Manager Corporate Communications of Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd for hosting this interview and food tasting session.
Marina Bay Sands
10 Bayfront Avenue
Opens from : 7am-10pm Getting There : Take train to Promenade Station and walk or take a train to City Hall Station and grab a taxi.