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Coffee & Tea

Boston Area

Awesome milk tea pudding (and other things) at Cafe Cakes, Belmont (long)

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Awesome milk tea pudding (and other things) at Cafe Cakes, Belmont (long)

Limster | Jul 28, 2003 01:10 AM

It is a storm in a teacup, but what a storm! A light, stiff, gelatiny pudding, with such resounding black tea flavour and fragrance! There might be an air of bergamot, followed by the rich woodsy tea and then a tiniest possible hint of an earthy bitter finish. As memorable as the wonderful blackcurrant tea creme brulee at Chez Panisse that was so full of subtle tea.

There's been repeated mentions to me from my sister about Cafe Cakes during the past year. I should never have waited that long. Cafe and cakes are pristine, constructed with elegant clean lines, graceful curves, painted with true and simple colours, and dotted with tasteful decorations and garnishes.

The cakes reflect a uniquely attractive sense of equilibrium, neither too spartan nor too much of a rich flood; this aesthetic is best exemplified by the beautifully restrained Gateau au Chocolate. It never falls into the trap of chocolate richness for the sake of chocolate richness. Instead, it is made with the premise of finessed balance between the dense chocolate and a backgroud of soft sweet raspberry, subtle yet palpable.

The Mocha Torte is an equally pleasing highwire act. The layers of coffee sponge cake will seem a tad to dry when eaten alone, but with the impeccably precise thin film of coffee butter cream, it hits exactly that delicious point of moisture and dryness, crumb and butter cream melding easily. On top, baubles made from caramelized almonds slices exhibit an astounding crunch.

A picture perfect shell on the cream puff, just that right texture for chou pastry. The cream filling is different from the usual custards, it is full of sunny egginess, so rich the yolky taste is impossible to miss.

The refreshing raspberry yogurt mousse has firm gelatiny pink raspberry on white yogurt, topped with a chewy macaroon-like layer. The overall effect is airy and light. It's like tasting flavoured and coloured air.

Very fine fibered coconut in the crisp coconut cookies that sandwich a perfect dab of chocolate.

Amazingly crunchy roasted almonds are covered with good chocolate, handmade and hard to resist.

Savory items fare just as well. Wispy half moon buns with moderately thick and very crisp surfaces are great with the curry chicken filling. Tender chicken, with a good amount of Japanese curry, a Hello Kitty version of its South East Asian counterpart, cute and sweet, with a fair bit of relish. Snappy sweet stripes of red onions make it even more lively.

Clear brothy soups are true to their potato and celery or tomato flavour. These concentrated flavours give richness even without cream.

Charming lustrous danishes too. Will try them next time.

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