By: Rebecca Bisset
9A Dempsey Road
A funky Japanese restaurant that doesn’t sell Japanese cuisine and that faces directly onto gorgeous tropical rainforest, Henri Charpentier is truly an unusual marketing mix.
Inspired by famous 19th-century chef, Henri Charpentier, and his signature crêpe Suzette, the restaurant only opened its doors in October (near House at Dempsey), yet the first humble café of its kind actually launched in Japan back in 1969. It has since made its name as the best French patisserie brand in that country. This is its first international venture.
I wasn’t sure what to expect; until I arrived, I thought it might just be another patisserie. Instead, it’s a mix of very cool décor with tented-style seating areas and funky pink carpets, as well as outdoor seating near the jungle.
Aside from the sweet things, main meals are available too, including beef bourguignon, Caesar salads and a ratatouille and parmesan tartine – all at reasonable prices, so it’s a good lunchtime choice. Having said that, I’m told that the place comes alive in the evening thanks to all the flambé options like the crepes and the signature chocolate dome – and the chandeliers.
My absolute favourite was the lemon tart – I could have eaten a couple of them! The strawberry shortcake is the most popular item in Japan; I found it a bit bland and creamy. The Mont Blanc was also very creamy, but with a nice chestnut-flavoured icing and soft biscuit base – quite unusual.
Then there’s the crêpe Suzette, which is flambéed with Grand Marnier at your table. The crepe itself was delicious, though I couldn’t finish the strong alcohol and orange sauce.
Next time I will have to try one of the mains. This is a very different cuisine option, but one that I would return to, to discover more.