I came across Pine Garden’s Cake in my recent Ang Mo Kio food hunt and I recalled this was the same cake shop that the husband had mentioned to me before my birthday because he had read good reviews about its cakes and thought of buying a cake from there for me. (Thank goodness he didn’t!)
We were here on Saturday afternoon around 2pm and there were hardly any cakes of signature flavours left. I approached one counter staff who was busy flipping through some invoices to enquire about the availability of their lychee martini cakes. She had an unwelcoming look in her eyes like I shouldn’t be there to interrupt her. She said she will go in the kitchen to check but for the next couple of minutes, she stood there and continued what she was doing earlier. The next moment, she disappeared to nowhere. The husband suggested to come back another day but I didn’t want this to be a wasted trip so we grabbed a few slices of pastries/cakes just so we could know how good they really were. Just when we put our tray of selections at the cashier to make payment, another lady hastily packed our items into a box, however the eclair that we bought was too long to fit in. I expected her to put the eclair in another separate box or plastic bag but she threw away the foil wrapper that the eclair had on the base and shoved the eclair into the box. Flabbergasted. When I asked her if their lychee martini cakes would be restocked later, she replied me loudly that she forgot, wasn’t sure and left it as that. Only the senior lady who collected payment was pleasant, with a smile and word of thanks. What an eye-rolling experience indeed. Seriously, Pine Garden’s – what the heck was wrong with you?
The moment the husband and I stepped out of the shop, we decided that we would not be coming back here again. Bad service that was totally uncalled for. I don’t know what else to say.
As we walked towards the bus stop to make our way home, we saw their second outlet at the other end of the same block which had more flavours available. I was just dismayed that the service staff from the first outlet did not inform us of this second outlet which we could also go to.
A good old classic that the husband and I would normally go for but this was a disappointing one as the pastry was very dry and unpalatable.
The filling was made from butter cream instead of fresh cream, so were all their other cakes so if you’re looking for an intensely rich and chocolatey eclair, then this might not be it. The only saving grace was the thick chocolate coating on top that gave subtle flavour to the whole pastry.
The caramel frosting was sticky and gooey and had the right balance of sweetness in it that really worked with the plain tasting sponge. However I couldn’t taste much saltiness in the caramel though there was supposed to be sea salt in it. Again, butter cream was used in the filling which was something that I didn’t quite enjoy as I’d still prefer fresh cream to butter cream. Somehow I couldn’t taste much buttery fragrance in the cream. Even though it reminded me of cakes from the nostalgic past which I had eaten while growing up, the butter cream just didn’t wow. In fact, I felt Polar Puffs & Cakes made better butter cream cakes.
I applauded the modern, innovative cake designs though. I particularly liked these golden bits on top of the caramel that gave the cake a level of finesse so it wasn’t just another ordinary swiss roll.
I expected this to have a stronger nutty flavour with bits of hazelnut in the filling but no, the pair of hazelnuts on top were the only nuts found. But there were some cereal-like chocolate bits in the filling that gave a nice crunch.
The passionfruit was too tart for my liking. In fact, it was so intense that it overpowered everything else. I liked the mango bits in the butter cream that were ripe and sweet.
Though the cakes we had tried weren’t exactly their signature creations, a visit to their retail outlets might give you other surprises as you could see unique flavours that never existed before elsewhere. A few notable names – Nuttymisu, Bird Nest Cake, Apple Vera Martini, Moscato Soursop and Pulut Hitam – these were what I wanted to try initially but they were all not available when we were there. Pine Garden’s Cakes would probably appeal to those who enjoy traditional butter cream cakes and their innovative flavours are just icing on the cakes. Price wise, these cakes are within an affordable heartland range ($1.50 for rainbow cake to $2.60 for hazelnut chocolate crunch cake to $6.50 for nuttymisu). Service wise, you heard me. Will I be back? Likely no.