Note: The Dispensary has closed.
We visited The Dispensary during lunchtime on a Saturday and were surprised how quiet it was. We welcomed this scene; after a tiring work week, all we want for the weekend is peace and yummy food, without having to hustle for it.
Occupying the shop house of an abandoned Chinese Medical Hall, the bakery cafe preserves traditions by using antique-looking items as decorations. It stops there though. Food and beverage offerings are Western-styled.
The soup of the day, Clam Chowder ($6.50) did a good job of whetting our appetites. Served in an old-school red rooster bowl, the sweetness of calms will appeal to the most discerning palates. The accompanying toasts were presented in the same fashion, on an old-school metal plate.
The breakfast options were alright, not particularly outstanding but not unpleasant either. The eggs in the Mushroom Scramble ($14.50) were moist, but could be fluffier. I prefer the Sausage and Eggs ($14.50), featuring juicy, bouncy and flavorsome sausages.
Check out their pastas if you want to jump start your day with a carbo boost. Smoked Duck Aglio Olio is available in 3 sizes ($12.50/$16.50/$20.50) and is perfectly al dente and fragrant. It would have been better with more garlic, but nevertheless my taste buds and tummy were gratified. Alfredo Mushroom ($13.50) was creamy but not cloying, and thankfully firm, unlike the usual soggy suspects.
Presented in a dim sum basket and sprinkled with parsley, the Sweet Potato Fries ($7.90) were enticingly crispy on the outside and soft inside. We also like that it was not overly oily.
You cannot miss having desserts (served on nostalgic plastic red rooster plate), especially the Sea Salt Caramel Cheesecake ($6.50). While the portion is a little small for the price, this slice of heaven is divine and is something you’d want to eat over and over because it’s neither too sweet nor salty. The texture is light and melts in the mouth like dream. Its buttery short crust pastry is excellent too. Trust me, you won’t want to share it. And you shouldn’t.
This is the first time I’ve encountered Black Velvet Cake ($7) so had to try it despite my exploding belly. It’s essentially the same as Red Velvet, but black, rather than red. Nothing exceptional, just a decent slice of moist sponge, jazzed up with cream cheese and chocolate crunch.
Other cakes available are Chocolate Banana, Blueberry almond cheesecake, Chocolate marble cheesecake, New York cheesecake, Carrot cake and Chocolate Brownies. Cupcake options include Oreo, Nutella, Lychee, Red Velvet, Valrhona Chocolate and Sea Salt Caramel.
We washed down all the food with Iced Lemon Tea, Iced Honey Lemon ($4.50) and Iced Chocolate ($6.50). The lattermost was too diluted for my liking.
Overall, we felt that The Dispensary’s offerings average, nothing spectacular, save for the Sea Salt Caramel Cheesecake. The benches are metal chairs are not the most comfortable, hence we left immediately after finishing our food. On the plus side, The Dispensary does not have GST nor service charges.