Where do I even begin.
I kind of wish to keep this place a secret. Is that ok? Ever since I first heard about it and saw some rather moreish pictures on Instagram, I was ready to make a short visit, a hasty pop-by, and now I find myself there at least once or twice a week after school. Yeah. Just because it’s become an absurd necessity to be part of that coffee situation when my head’s reduced to mud after the constant clashing of school happenings, and this place is like my quantum of solace, a place where I can simply sit down, enjoy great coffee and some bloody good pastry, collect my thoughts, and study. And a special address to Sarah, the lovely, bubbly, and if I say so myself, supremely talented barista who works here!
But you know, evidently, I love this place, and it does deserve some publicity. I always give out an inner squeal whenever I approach its humble sign, like a little elf beckoning me to come in, pay for something, anything.
These were the first things I ever got from this baby hole-in-the-wall. Before I ramble, I should just like to say that this is a completely honest review, and in all honesty, I should like for this to be less of a typical review, because it’s so much more than a flurry of descriptive words and images. It’s utterly won me over and I daresay a ‘review’ just won’t cut it.
The piccolo was a little more on the milky side, though the beans shone through beautifully nonetheless. I took home that gorgeous salted caramel danish, and hurriedly toasted it. Unsurprisingly, and I should’ve seen it coming, the ooey belly of the danish, that rich, dripping salty, caramelly goodness started seeping out like blood from someone’s side. Oops. But messy was good, and good it was. No, spectacular. It was a little limp, with the flakes and layers not yielding a good enough crust, but only because it was not as fresh as it probably was when first baked (they get their goods from local French bakery B.A.O.). The fluffy and genuine salty character of that caramel is laudable. That is exactly what salted caramel should taste like; not the half-assed salt you usually get.
The pear crumble danish is a beauty, and was magnificent after being toasted for a minute. The pastry in both danishes is lovely and buttery, complementing the filling of either salt or sweet. The pear was soft, almost like the chunks you might find in a fruit compote.Pale, tender, with a little give. A slightly more robust texture would be more befitting, but it did my soul good. The crumble topping crisped up nicely when toasted, and went nicely with that dusting of icing sugar (which, surprisingly, held together even after my half-hour rocky trudge home).
The glug of rich chocolate syrup. It hit my throat before the cool milk, and then everything else fell into place. Did I mention it’s worth the price. Pretty tall glass, if you ask me. I planned on getting it when I saw it at someone else’s table the first time I went and was struggling to contain the green-eyed monster. The syrup is drizzled all round the sides of the glass, and slowly starts to integrate with the frigid milk to form a refreshing chocolate drink. So it’s chocolate+milky caffeine, then an enhancement of those two separate flavours as they meld into one another. After this, I came to the ecstatic, enlightening conclusion that this is my new favourite café.
You ALL know. How much my love for french toast consumes all darned sense and sensibility on my part. I admit, I wrote a whole journal entry on how much I loved this. Guys, I’ve tried a LOT of french toast. And this is probably one of, if not the, best. I say it myself, right here, right now. All hail the glory of this one, thick slice of sweet brioche french toast. Dripping in sweet whipped cream, apple compote, sugar on sugar, and then you get the lightly burnt aroma of candied walnuts on top- toasted, petite, delightful little things. Ashy rainfall on this snowy bed of cream. My hands were shaking because every bite was just so exciting and mesmerising. It was hard to contain myself in public, ok. I wanted to shout the wonders of this small piece of toast, saturated, jaw-aching in the best possible way. The outside glistened with the gentle sear of a hot pan, the inside beckoned with its bouncy, foamy, eggy intensity, whilst being perfectly aerated at the same time. The butter caressed every crevice of the light-as-air brioche, enhancing the gorgeous craters locked on its surface.
The sweet cream and jam does get a tad overwhelming at times, so a few bites later the brioche goes from a light snowflake to a dense-bellied, cream-stuffed ball. I’m not complaining, though. I quite like it that way, though a slightly staler loaf or lesser cream would’ve sufficed. Those without my sweet tooth better take it easy. The amount of jam was perfect, thick and interspersed with large chunks of sweet apple. I could go on and on. Love of my life.
The scone is on the slightly denser side, but bore a good and heavy butter flavour, almost lightly salted, which made the additional butter (yeah, I can be a bit excessive) and the glorious apple jam perfect to spread on top. I think choosing the cream would have made it even better. Warm, English comfort. It almost brought me back to the time I first tried a scone when I was living in London and my mother gave me a chunk, which I reluctantly accepted. I think everyone can agree that carbs are quite beautiful..?
Their espresso is acidic, which is to my taste, but not so to quite a many other. Down a shot for a morning or late afternoon perk.
So um, secret’s out.
One Man Coffee
215R Upper Thomson Road
Open daily 9am-5pm (closed Tuesdays)