Orient Express Road Café by Yannick Alléno
The Orient Express Road Café by Yannick Alléno is part of the Once Upon a Time on the Orient Express pop-up attraction at Gardens by the Bay West Lawn from 12 December 2020 to 13 June 2021. The café operates separately from the exhibition, and the public doesn’t need tickets to enter the Orient Express Road Café.
Having seen the café menu on my previous visit to the Once Upon a Time on the Orient Express pop-up attraction, I went back to try the food at Orient Express Road Café by Yannick Alléno, and in short, I wasn’t impressed at all.
With the hype for the Once Upon a Time on the Orient Express pop-up attraction dying down, the Orient Express Road Café was quite empty too.
Orders are placed at the cashier, while food is served to your table.
The full menu at Orient Express Road Café by Yannick Alléno.
Orient Express Road Café Afternoon Tea Set
I decided to order the S$28++ Afternoon Tea Set thinking that it might be a sampler of the regular sandwiches and pastries available in the main menu, which would then give me a comprehensive taste of what the Orient Express Road Café can bring out of France.
For a price of S$32.96 nett for the Afternoon Tea Set, which is more expensive than the Lunch Set, I was looking forward to maybe something presentable like this set I had in The Palace Restaurant on board World Dream.
Instead, I got this.
Orient Express Road Café Finger Sandwiches
The 4 finger sandwiches turned out to be 2 cucumber sandwiches and 2 cheese sandwiches, quartered from normal white bread slices. Effectively, this is 2 full white bread slices without the skin.
Nothing French or special about this. Not impressed at all. Buy a better sandwich from Four Leaves instead.
Orient Express Road Café Parisian Pastries
The 4 Parisian pastries were a Madeleine, a Chocolate Macaroon, a Mango Tart, and a Coffee Éclair.
The sweets were obviously more impressive than the sandwiches because the sandwiches were nothing. However, considering that this is the main part of the Afternoon Tea Set, S$32.96 is too much to pay for 4 one-bite sweets.
Orient Express Road Café Coffee
The coffee offerings were hilarious at Orient Express Road Café by Yannick Alléno.
In many online articles like over here, here, here, here, here, and here, just to name a few, Orient Express Road Café is touted by everyone along the lines of “a journey through coffee blends” along the Orient Express route such as Paris, Venice, Vienna and Istanbul. A few media outlets even pushed it by saying the menu will include the Singapore local coffee, Kopi O.
However, the only coffee offerings at Orient Express Road Café were Nespresso in paper cups. For those who don’t know what Nespresso is, it’s (overly-summarised) a premium instant coffee which uses a machine to process before serving. You have a choice of Latte, Cappucino, Flat White, and Black Coffee, which are just pretty much variants of a coffee shot, milk, and water.
I wonder if Georges Nagelmackers only found Nespresso capsules along the Orient Express route through Paris, Venice, Vienna and Istanbul.
Makes you wonder why all the articles are writing about the same thing before the Orient Express event even started eh?
S$32.96 for the Afternoon Tea Set at Orient Express Road Café by Yannick Alléno was too much to pay for. The sandwiches were overly basic, the coffee selection was hilarious, and the pastries barely saved the meal – they were nice but came in really small portions. For comparison, good TWG Macarons over the other side at Marina Bay Sands only cost S$2 per piece.
Orient Express Road Café by Yannick Alléno is also often elevated by the media, some even posting the mock-up Orient Express restaurant carriage beside it which is a completely different area and serves up the next level of expensive food, but in reality, there’s no ambience in Orient Express Road Café to speak off. Let’s face it, the entire Orient Express exhibition is in a temporary air-conditioned tent to resemble Paris Gare du Nord (which got me triggered separately in the previous article), and Orient Express Road Café is in that tent, with the tent legs right beside my seat.
Overall, Orient Express Road Café is nowhere near a representative of France, and certainly not a place for afternoon tea. Take your money somewhere else, like Merci Marcel, or perhaps even Délifrance where at least you may not really get French delis but you won’t feel like you’ve been ripped off.
The only positive thing that came out of my afternoon tea was that my curiosity has been satisfied.