COCONUTS HOT SPOT — When we heard that The Dark Gallery recently launched a cafe and boutique in Orchard, we were torn. There was skepticism. Elation. Confusion. How many more chocolate confections could one store create? How much more sugar could our bodies take in one sitting?
Look, when The Dark Gallery opened its first outpost at Millenia Walk — it was pretty much just childlike joy all around. One place, making specialty chocolate ice cream, chocolate cakes, chocolate macarons, chocolate tarts, and chocolate frozen s’mores… It was great.
Then this second one opened and we wondered if it wasn’t a bit of overkill. But, we saw the new menu here and, like bees to a honeycomb, went to see about it straightaway.
One of the outlets taking over the sprawling space left behind by Royal Sporting House in the basement of Takashimaya Shopping Centre, The Dark Gallery is set up to tempt window shoppers with a sweet tooth. There’s a resplendent showcase of ice cream, bon bons, cakes, and pastries. It’d take a lot of willpower just to keep walking by.
And, for those who get sucked in: there’s a 40-seater dine-in area, with a black and gold color scheme and those marble tabletops that really class up social media posts of your food. For a sip of coffee or chocolate drinks, the store features Singapore’s first Mod-Bar pour-over and steam system, which is said to extract and render top notch brew and milk foam.
To see if the machine truly does what it claims, try the Single Origin Pour Over ($6.50) with two coffee blends (one each from a local and international roaster) on constant rotation, including beans from brands like Common Man Coffee Roaster, Melbourne’s Padre Coffee, and Tokyo’s Fuglen. For an additional $5.50, you can add a bite-sized chocolate and mini pastry to your beverage.
But if your poison’s pure chocolate, you can choose from six types of single origin hot or iced dark chocolate ($8.50-$9.50): 62% Brazil, 64% Madagascar, 68% Ghana, 70% Costa Rica, 72% Venezuela, and 75% Tanzania.
For something a tad different, the Four Senses of Chocolate ($10 each), exclusive to this outlet, are concoctions of The Dark Gallery’s signature 66% dark chocolate in four drink varieties. There’s Savoury: hot chocolate served with a mini cheese stick and topped with cold cream cheese foam — our favorite of the lot for its rich, velvety texture. There’s Sangria, an icy blend of chocolate and cold-pressed orange juice — strange, but it works — with side of lemon tart.
There’s Sucré, a rather traditional hot chocolate sprinkled with white, milk, and dark chocolate shavings, which comes with a toasted marshmallow. Then there’s Spice, a chai version of hot chocolate, infused with turmeric, star anise, ginger, cloves, and black pepper.
To continue on with your journey into the saccharine, you can order a couple of pastries to share. Options include dark or white chocolate croissants ($3.50 each), maple chocolate brioche ($3.50), dark chocolate scone ($3.50), ice cream cookie ($8), and chocolate soufflé ($15). But let’s not forget that there are bon bons, pralines, and cakes at the display counter, too.
The cafe also offers a ham and cheese Croque Monsieur ($7) — but consider this: Are you sure you want to use up calories on a non-chocolate item here?
Ice cream pints ($16/450g), ice cream cakes ($49-$99), and chocolate bars ($12) are stocked at the retail corner, too, for those who like to take their sugar high home.
The Dark Gallery is at B2-29 Takashimaya Shopping Centre, 391 Orchard Rd. Daily 11am-10pm.