To get straight to the point, I do not think that this place is fabulous.
I’ve heard about how the cakes are good and all so I decided to try, since I was going to Liang Court which was just opposite. It’s my negligence to not find out more about this place in advance but here’s why it disappointed:
1. No air con
I am fine with certain places not having air con if it is for a purpose or the natural atmosphere can do without air con, but for this place it comes across to me that the purpose is for cutting costs. This is because I don’t see how the lack of air con adds points to the ambiance and in our climate, we cannot do without air con. If this was located in a beautiful park surrounded with greenery, or the beachside where there’s scenery to look at and a steady flow of breeze, I would agree that going alfresco and air con free is a good idea. However, for FBB, there’s no scenery at all. It is located in Fort Canning Park, but at the foot of the hill only. It is facing River Valley Road and opposite you’ll see Liang Court. That doesn’t count as scenery, methinks, and there was hardly any breeze.
Secondly, it is more like a brunch and afternoon tea place, even though they do open till 9pm on certain days. This means that it is not really a night spot. In Singapore, it is normally sweltering during the day and only comfortable to go alfresco at night. There are certain no-air con restaurants, like Timbre, that only operate at night. That makes more sense than operating in the day.
Therefore, I do not understand why they only have probably 6 seats indoors (very small table), and have most of the seats are outdoors (sheltered) with no air con. I can’t help but that think they are trying to cut some cost here.
2. The cakes are priced higher than normal
Before you think “maybe their food is inexpensive, hence no aircon”, I have to add that their cakes starts from $7 a slice and the one I had cost $8.50. They serve sliced cake, not individually made cakes (like kki, Antoinette, Canele), so their cakes generally do not have any exquisite factor and do not score points in the aesthetic department, to deserve a higher price tag. Don’t get me wrong, I am willing to fork out $8.50 for cakes, but it has to come with good presentation at very least, and preferably better ambiance.
3. Very disorganised
I did not make reservations as most cafes are walk in, during tea time. The place was quite open, with no specific entrance guarded by staff to bring you in and all. Basically, the place was very open and you can enter from any corner you like. My dining partner and I saw a cleaned empty table and we sat there. 5 mins later, some staff came up to me and asked if I had reservations, because supposedly they take reservations and their list was full and he informed that we can’t have the table. There was no reservation sign on the table (there was, on some other table, after I glanced around). However, eventually after ‘checking’ he said we could table the table. They could have prevented that awkward moment if they simply put barriers around the open area, having a specific entrance and staff to check on incoming diners, or even more simply put the “reserved” sign on every reserved table.
4. Their food can get really ugly
I mean it literally. My dining partner ordered apple cider pancakes, and when it arrived, I thought I saw Cajun chicken. The pancakes were quite charred on the surface, and the shape of the pancakes were the ugliest I ever saw – not only was it nowhere near round, it was really odd shaped, like Singapore. However, the taste was still quite alright. If their point is that aesthetics is worthless and that only inner beauty counts, they got the message strongly across, though I disagree to that idea.
5. Very slow
My dining partner ordered pancakes as well as an Iced Latte. I am not sure what they were trying to do, but they took forever to serve her items. The wait was longer than 20 minutes. The worst part was that it was apparent her Iced Latte had been left sitting somewhere for a period and the ice was all melted when she got it.
So after this introduction to the place, here are my thoughts about the food:
Carrot Cake – $8.50
For carrot cake, $8.50 is quite a premium price to pay. As you can see, the presentation is quite bad. The tip of the slice isn’t even straight. I do not like coconuts on my carrot cake so I removed most of it. The cake itself was moist but it felt more like wet crumbs than cake – the cake was not cohesive at all, and it was as if they simply compressed the bits together to form this ‘cake’. Flavour wise, the cake part was good, but not so for the frosting. Somehow it tasted kind of unpleasant. It tastes as if it contains shortening or something, rather than just cream cheese and sugar. For such a premium price, I actually expect something better than this.
Spiced Apple Cider Pancakes – $8.50
Refer to first picture. I know, these are the ugliest pancakes on earth. I wonder why they even dare to serve something looking like this. Is it that hard to keep the batter in a circular shape? Perhaps get some pancake shapers if the chef really can’t do it? Maybe they meant for their pancakes to look like the shape of Singapore. However, the taste of the apples was quite satisfactory, something like apple pie.
Overall, I think this place is quite overrated. There’s nothing to rave about and I don’t know why there is even hype. I do not hate this place, but simply, very unimpressed by it. If you still want to try it out, do choose to come at night or on a rainy afternoon, make your reservations and expect only taste and no presentation.
Overall: The overall package is lacking at this place. There are better cafes and cake places in Singapore.
70 River Valley Road
#01-15, The Foothills
Tue – Sat:
Lunch: 12pm – 3pm
Dinner: 6pm – 11pm
Brunch: 10am – 5pm