October has always been an exciting month for many of us as frantically try to prepare ourselves for halloween. Then came along Lean Bar from Spellbound Group, who took the term ‘Trick or Treat’ a little further than the rest with their Halloween collaboration with Ento, an artisanal Cricket Roaster to add a one-of-a-kind twist to their popular Cinnamon Rolls, from 10th October to 31st October.
Lean Bar is a cafe that speaks to those who are on a wellness or fitness journey with nutritious meals and healthy shakes. Crickets and larvae are known to have more protein per gram than the usual meat we eat so it’s no surprise that such food would come to a place that espouses fitness and green eating.
Insects are not something Singaporeans actively seek, except maybe travel-happy individuals who have a few trawls to Malaysia or Thailand, you will know that insects are a common delicacy among the locals, with some daring adventurers who will take on the challenge. Most of them will give you a positive review of their experience.
Lean Bar takes this adventure into the Halloween season. Their top-selling cinnamon roll comes with an appropriately autumnal Paprika Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting and a generous scattering of protein-rich creepy crawlies, which comes in cricket or larvae. Ewww, or yum?
Level 1: Cinnamon rolls with pumpkin spice frosting ($5/piece, $14/set of 3)
Level 2: Tricky Cinnamon rolls with cricket and larvae ($6/piece, $17/set of 3)
Level 3: Tricky Cinnamon rolls with cricket and larvae + Cricket Smoothie ($13/piece, $24/ set)
Trick and Treat Bundle: Cinnamon rolls with pumpkin spice frosting (set of 3), Cinnamon rolls with cricket and larvae (set of 3), Cricket Smoothie. ($35)
Lean bar was kind enough to send us Level 1 and Level 3 to try so we can compare tastes and “mouth-feel” experience. Let’s go!
Cinnamon Rolls with Pumpkin Spice Frosting
I can see why this is a top-seller for them. The cinnamon rolls were full of soft texture with a little bite, and the cream frosting was beautifully sweet with a hint of spice and pumpkin. Great way to end a meal with a tasty, sweet and satisfying dessert! The pumpkin flavour also enhances the festive vibes of Halloween with a constant jack-o-lantern image in my head.
Tricky Cinnamon Rolls with Cricket and Larvae
Moving on to the tricky version of their Cinnamon roll, the set of 3 rolls comes in three variants: 1 full of larvae, 1 full of cricket and 1 mixed with both.
Before I tried the roll as a whole, curious me plucked out an individual larvae and cricket to try it as a solo snack. And the results were…
…bland. The larvae didn’t have much taste or flavour, like an unseasoned crunchy chip that was slightly soggy. Cricket on the other hand, is much better. It’s a little on the savoury side and has a very nutty and earthy taste to it, with a slight aftertaste that lingers in your mouth. For comparison’s sake, the crickets that I’ve tried in Thailand are tastier and more generous with the seasoning. When you have them with the Cinnamon roll, it tastes the same as without the insects, with the only difference coming from the additional crunchy texture. The cream frosting takes the centre stage and kinda overwhelms everything else with pumpkin, which is actually a great gentle introduction to insect eating for newbies.
Lastly, we move on to the Cricket Smoothie! The drink looks like any other smoothie that you have out there, with appealing appearance, nice packaging, with promises of good nutrition yield and benefits. Upon first sip, the smoothie has a very peanut-like aroma, an “oat-y” taste and a grainy texture. Not bad, but not great either. A quick drink test with my colleagues and friends resulted in two distinct camps of either you love it or you hate it. It’s a very subjective taste.
For myself, I didn’t mind the flavour or texture at all – it’s good for me, the environment, and local bizznasses, RIGHT?!
Lean Bar 'Trick or Treat'
Overall, the ‘insect-eating’ aspect is kept at a minimum as the cream frosting is dominant taste and flavour. People who likes a good dessert should try out regardless of cricket or not. Those who have a bucket list of eating insect yet squeamish about it should try this as it gently exposes you to it. Seasoned cricket chewers should avoid.
If you are interested in getting your hands at once of these creepy sweets, check out Lean Bar @40 Hamilton Road, Singapore 209210. Available from 10th October to 31st October! They also do online deliveries.