Singapore

Tiong Bahru Bakery, Singapore

Nestled in the heartland-ish region of Tiong Bahru, a western(French?) style bakery is one of the least likely places you’d expect to find; while its location and choice of plates reflect a home-y local feel about it, the prices and menu options are anything but. Tiong Bahru bakery presents a recent boom in bakeries opening in Singapore, we are now spoilt for choice, which isn’t a bad thing at all. With features in magazines and the Sunday Times, TB bakery quickly became the ‘it’ bakery to go to, perhaps even overshadowing the opening of Paul in Singapore, and definitely Maison Kayser(Which is currently my favorite)
Guacamole Sandwich

This was a basically a rocket salad sandwiched between two guacamole buns. The flavor of the avocado was a little faint in the assertive peppery notes of the rocket, but fresh onion slices brightened up the dish nicely, and the addition of pumpkin seeds gave the sandwich a nice textural contrast. I can’t quite remember what the dressing for the salad was, but I noted down that the entire thing needed more dressing because it was borderlining on the dry side. Okay-Good


Squid Ink Bun with Smoked Salmon and Ham

This is supposed to be one of their specialities. I really don’t get it, it tasted terrible to me. Let me clarify that I love squid ink, I love the subtle brine-y taste  and additional umami that it adds to dishes. However, this bun tasted like seawater, the fishy aroma and taste was overpowering and the smoked salmon didn’t exactly smoothen things out either, the pesto sauce didn’t quite work with the strong fish flavor, and instead of cancelling each other out, you seemed to get hit by the strong fish flavor, followed by the strong pesto. It was like getting hit down by a car, and the moment you try to pick yourself up, you immediately get rolled over by a van. Very bad


Criossant

This is another of their specialities and was touted as the ‘best croissant in Singapore’, while it doesn’t suffer from the same faults as the previous ‘speciality’, this was nowhere close to being the best. Firstly, this isn’t a traditional French croissant, it is constituted of layers and can actually be pulled apart(as opposed to the traditional flaky variation), and it is slightly more chewy and elastic as well,  the interior of the croissant seems to hang close to the radius/sides and leaves a somewhat hollow center. The plus point about this is that it has a very crisp crust, but one of the major pitfalls of this is the lack of butter, it just didn’t have enough unctuousness and richness, and whats the point of eating a broiche of a croissant if you couldn’t taste the butter? Comparisons aside, I didn’t hate the TB variation, I welcome the crisp crust with open arms and it tasted pretty good, but it just didn’t deliver what I look for in a croissant. Okay


Pain au Chocolat

This used the same layered dough as the croissant, but I thought this was a little overbaked and tasted burnt . Very stingy with the chocolate as well. Bad-Okay



Apple Crumble

The pastry did have a nice buttery richness, the tartness of the apple cut through that nicely, the apples were a little too overcooked and soft for me, plus I would’ve liked a thin layer of fresh apples for texture(personal preference), and the crumble on top could have been more crisp. Okay


Chocolate Mendiant with Nuts and Dried Fruit

This was probably the most enjoyable dish I had, the dried fruit peel(candied orange I believe) was a little overpowering at times and could have been chopped finer, but the overall balance of the taste was good- bitterness coming the dark chocolate and sweetness coming from the dried fruit, the soft ganache was nicely set and melted down quickly on the tongue. Good


Just before I left, having not learnt my lesson, I bought a loaf of rye miso bread- it was truly terrible, so salty that almost inedible on its own. I left Tiong Bahru bakery feeling confused, not upset, or disappointed, just confused. I just don’t get the hype surrounding the place. This is strange to me, because I love the concept behind some of the things they sell, squid ink bread, miso bread, guacamole bread, all of these make perfect sense, but why were they so poorly executed?

Lets just say I’ll be happily sticking to Maison Kayser from now on, I’d happily take some of that yuzu bread any day

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