Pacific Center, 223 Calam Road, Sunnybank Hills
In the time before I FINALLY managed to move on from my learner’s license into the world of independent driving, I relied heavily on lifts from friends, parents and classmates. One time, after clinic, I was riding with 2 guys in my group who live at Sunnybank and they decided to stop for a quick afternoon treat. Hey, I have no complaints about spontaneous dessert-eating at all.
Just Soy Cafe is located in Sunnybank Hills in a little plaza complex. I’d been to the complex for a few of their restaurants in the past but had never noticed the little café in the corner. They call it a café but it doesn’t deal with coffee. Rather, as the rest of the name suggests, they specialise in a soy product: namely, ‘soy custard’.
The best way to describe soy custard is as a very fine, silken, light tofu that is most frequently used in sweet Asian desserts. I think in mainland China, there are also savoury versions that incorporate the soy custard into a broth and garnish with seaweed, dried shrimp and fried breadstick. The version that is popularised by the Taiwanese and Cantonese population is most definitely sweet.
Apparently, soy custard is very healthy. I believe that but also recognise that the ‘good’ is easily outweighed by the ‘bad’ of whatever you top it with. Anyway, not going to be a party pooper here. Dessert is dessert and I like it all the more if it can at least pretend to be good for you in some way.
My friends told me that Just Soy is VERY popular and that on some nights, the soy custard is actually sold out. The other thing I was told was to avoid going after dinner time because that’s when all the people at Sunnybank finish their dinners and head to Just Soy for dessert. It’s supposed to be very hard to get a table.
The first time I went, with my classmates, was after clinic around 3pm and it was fairly quiet. I’m a firm believer in trying what any food establishment is renowned for so I went for a soy custard.
Soy custard with sweet potato balls
You can get soy custard with a huge host of toppings but I chose the sweet potato ball simply because I couldn’t imagine what that’s like and really wanted to know. Aside from soy custard, Just Soy Cafe has a huge menu with tonnes of other Asian-style desserts, including ice-cream, frappes and the typical bubble tea selection.
The soy custard was a good serving size to be a snack or a slight burst of sweetness after a savoury meal. It’s comprised of the soy custard itself, which was every bit as light and silky as I imagined, a subtly sweet syrup and the topping I chose. I couldn’t detect any sign of sweet potato in the balls so I’d probably go with a different topping next time. The soy custard chunks are very flavourless (but in a good way) and goes nicely with the syrup.
Last night, I went back to Just Soy Cafe with another couple of friends. This time, I had ice-cream on my mind. What I really wanted was waffles and ice-cream but because I couldn’t brainstorm any places that offered that, we settled for Just Soy instead.
I saw a picture of a sundae and the description involved sponge cake and ice-cream. Cake and ice-cream together in a glass! I didn’t even bother thinking about any of the other options. This was a no-brainer for me.
Sundae with sponge cake, pumpkin seed, pinenuts and a trio of ice-cream
The sundae looked smaller than I thought but that’s a good thing because it ended up being really filling. There are 3 flavours of ice-cream: green tea, sesame and vanilla. There were also bits of pumpkin seed, pinenuts (odd?) and a syrup (they call it blueberry syrup but it didn’t have a strong berry flavour). All over, it was a nice dessert and very much what I wanted.
Fresh fruit and green tea ice-cream
Hao wanted something with mango but apparently we’re not in mango season (it does say specifically on the menu that mango was only available in season). Instead, he chose a fresh fruit dessert with green tea ice-cream. It was a decent serve with 3 scoops of ice-cream.
Soy custard with herbal jelly
Phil wanted ‘number 11 on the menu’ (whatever that was) but it was unavailable so put on the spot, he said ‘I’ll just go for 12’. This happened to be a soy custard with herb jelly. It looked plain in the bowl but I imagine the jelly and custard would have gone nicely together without being too sweet.
I like Just Soy because it’s a dessert cafe but not at all pretentious or expensive. It feels like a cafeteria and though some might criticise the lack of ambience, I like these casual set ups for chatting.