Instead of queuing up for Japan’s Bake cheese tarts, I’m gonna go for these alternatives

Wah lao, another trend? And it’s even more fattening than salted egg yolk!? My heart almost voluntarily stopped in the wake of what was to come. Cheese tarts. Palm-sized pastries filled to the bring with gooey cheese, a heady mixture of sweet and savoury and all guaranteed to cause a queue wherever they may be from.

In the wake of Japan’s Bake Cheese Tarts arrive at Ion Orchard 29 April, two local stores decided to jump ahead of the game and throw in their tarts into the ring. Prima Deli and Antoinette.

You’re probably gonna get lots of bloggers compare both, but I’m not gonna do that. My stomach can take both. And to be honest, you can’t really compare them head on can you? It’s like going to your local kopitiam and asking for a matcha green tea latte. Cannot lah.

But the great thing about more cheese tarts is… more cheese tarts! No need to queue:

Antoinette’s Cheese Tarts

Look at that oooozzzee!

After Chef Pang’s trip to Japan, he came back inspired and ready to whip these adorable munchies. Each one is slightly smaller than your palm with a generous flaky pastry. Think croissant but more buttery. See he used a reverse lamination method to make the pastry. That’s layering butter over pastry before folding… okay I’m not gonna bore you with the details. I’m just gonna describe the tart:

Eat this warm, but never piping hot. Because if you do, you’ll be setting your mouth on fire. One bite through the flaky, buttery pastry, past the thin, golden cheese skin at the top and you hit the jackpot. A glorious mess of oozing cheese that spurts in your mouth (yes I went there). The initial salty tinge gives way to a creamy sweetness that can only come from cream cheese and mascarpone cheese. The cheesy aroma fills the atmosphere and you’ll be aware of the delicate globules of cream that you didn’t manage to catch in the first bite. Scrap it off the plate, cause I’m pretty certain it’s not gonna be easy to get a second tart. Chef’s only selling these at the Penhas outlet for now.

There are others flavours:

Like the croissants that preceded them, there is a medley of favourite flavours: – original vanilla cheese tart ($2.50), salted egg yolk ($2.50), chocolate ($3), salted caramel ($2.50) and matcha ($3).

My favourites: original, matcha and chocolate:

The bitterness of the matcha is just right. Just enough to balance the sweetness of the cheese. The only thing I didn’t like about this was the unappetising sprinkle of matcha powder at the top. Made it look like they sprinkled it with spring onions or wasabi powder or something.

Salted egg yolk
Meh. Sadly, this was a strong meh. Maybe it was because I was tired of salted egg yolk or I felt that there just wasn’t enough grainy yolk to capture my attention. But these didn’t pique my interest at all. It was like the sweet potato fries at McDonalds, so much potential but so disappointing.

Holy hell! What does Chef put in these chocolate sauces? (Okay, I checked: French chocolate.) Like the original cheese tarts, these burst with flavour. Filled with a luxuriously thick chocolate sauce that is neither too sweet nor too bitter, it leaves you craving for more. To be honest, I left Antoinette my mind devoid of this. But now as I recall the taste of it… I want more. It’s one of those flavours that messes with your mind, whispering to you: “nah Amanda… I’m too rich for you, too strong… You won’t enjoy the second tart..But I DO! I do want the second tart filled with this gold mine of hot melted treasure! Damniittt…

Pardon the brain fart.

Priced from $2.50 each, available at Antoinette’s Penhas outlet, 30 Penhas Road, tel: 6293-3121.
Opening hours:
Monday to Thursday, 11am to 10pm,
Friday 11am to 11pm,
Saturday 10am to 11pm
Sunday 10am to 10pm

Prima Deli’s cheese tarts

More cheesecake than cheese tart – no ooze!
With all the buzz surrounding these I HAD to try them out. So I went straight to Prima Deli at City Square mall. It was dark. The mall was quiet. Not even McDonalds had opened up yet. But there it was, a shining beacon of hope. 
Prima Deli.
One lone auntie doled out the tarts. Placing them dutifully onto a stainless steel tray that glistened with the oil from yesterday’s tarts. “Auntie, are these the cheese tarts?” I asked in Chinese.
“Yep. Want to buy better buy now cause someone ordered 50 already.”
WHAT?! I quickly snapped up four. Two original and two salted egg yolk flavours.
“Bring home and heat up okay? A bit cold from leaving it in the fridge.” 
What a nice auntie.
But because I had nowhere else to go but the Coffee Bean next door, I sat down, order a cup of coffee and asked for a plate and knife. Blogging the kiasu way. 
Unlike the tart from Antoinette, this was shortcrust pastry, thicker, sweeter and not so buttery. It was also larger. About the size of my palm. The filling was also more cheesecake than cheese ooze. It wasn’t melty and goopy, but more of a mousse. it was nice, but nothing spectacular.
The salted egg lava cheese tart on the other hand…

Generous liu!

A darker, more golden brown as compared to its plainer brother, it’s pretty unassuming till you cut into it and BAM. The rich, grainy, salty filling slowly flows onto the plate. And this is with the tart COLD. Imagine it hot and steaming with a soft but firm mousse to balance the salted egg filling. Prima Deli also managed to get the balance of flavour just right (don’t know if they did it by accident) but because the cheese is rather light, it complements the richness of the salted egg yolk filling.
Best part of it all, just $2 (UP $2.30) now. Too delicious!

Priced from $2 each, avaiable at all Prima Deli outlets.

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