Joining hip dining precinct The District's stable of eateries like hatted dim-summier Tim Ho Wan and quirky Asian diner Pepper Lunch is Passion Tree, the dessert bar equivalent of a Korean pudding queen and Swiss pastry chef's love child, where macarons sit alongside Korean-influenced desserts like shaved ice bing soo and toasted honey bread.
Like all good dessert bars, Passion Tree's menu is made for sharing, and its soaring entrance, studded with naked light globes and suspended wooden chairs, creates a playful atmosphere for couples and groups to feast within.
Inside the brightly lit diner, a glass display case, large enough to fit Snow White and possibly one of her seven dwarves, tempts you with row upon row of macaron and plate upon plate of pastry and cakes. There's red velvet, blueberry and cream-cheese mousse, and chocolate truffle cake to name a few, all freshly baked by Passion Tree's sister cake shop Passion Tree Velvet and available whole or by the slice ($7.50).
As for macarons, there are traditional flavours like vanilla, pistachio and chocolate, but it's the more exotic offerings that are worth a try, and the jasmine macaron ($3.50) — two soft pillows of delicate meringue giving way to a gentle jasmine-scented cream filling — is too sublime to miss.
The bing soo and brioche-like, caramelly honey bread take pride of place on the menu, so leave some space, as these desserts can easily feed two people (or eight off-duty runway models if you're counting). One slurp of the red bean bing soo ($12.90) and you could be in a hip Gangnam cafe. A giant bowl of milky shaved ice arrives topped with flaked almonds, honey cornflakes, plump rice dumplings, vanilla ice cream and sweet red beans. It's creamy, crunchy and utterly unique, a sweet, savoury hit that delivers texture and flavour in each bite. A surprise swirl of toasted rice powder amid the shaved ice, another traditional touch, adds a nutty dimension to the already texture-rrific combination.
For something fresher on the palate, try the Berry Berry bing soo's ($14.90) medley of tart blueberries and summer strawberries.
Not into your cold desserts? Make room for the the chocolate honey bread ($14.90), a thumb-high, palm-wide slab of toasted sweet bread smothered in butter and Passion Tree house caramel, and topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, melted milk-chocolate and fresh strawberries. It's a calorific cross between a waffle (and they have those on the menu too) and brioche, but more sweet and buttery and with a satisfying crunch from the toasted sides. Pair with a refreshing Arabian mint tea ($3.90) or continue the sweet splurge with a hot cinnamon latte ($4.50) or an ice-blended malt and choc Malteser Passioncino ($6.50).
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