Monthly Archives: June 2012
Barely 2 months into opening, Tiong Bahru Bakery by Gontran Cherrier has already generated much hype and waves in the media and blogging world. Touted as one of the best bakeries in Singapore at the moment, the man behind this very successful artisan bakery is none other than one of Paris’s most celebrated bakers- Gontran Cherrier. Situated right next door to The Orange Thimble, this bakery stands humbly and inconspicuously, as it fits right into the neighbourhood with its white-washed walls, light brown wooden frame borders and single swinging entrance door.
Tiong Bahru Bakery is a collaboration with Spa Esprit Group, who currently already have Forty Hands and Open Door Policy under their belt, which are also conveniently just located a few blocks away.
It is said that all the loaves, bakes and especially their signature croissants that have had everyone talking about, are baked on site using traditional French techniques which have been very meticulously adjusted and adapted for the humidity in our country so that Singaporeans are still able to enjoy the freshness and full flavours of all his bakes and pastries despite the weather!
The three of us made our way here for brunch one weekday and were lucky to find seats in the dining area which had a relatively fast turnover rate. The queues were also not as daunting as many people had described and moved along pretty quickly. We were soon back at our table with this white tray of two croissants, two sandwiches and one dessert tart.
Starting with the Plain Croissant at $2.50, the first thing that I was drawn to, was how beautiful and intricate the layers were. Clearly, only true skill and experienced hands in the laminating process could have produced this end result. One bite into this crescent-shaped baked dough and I was sold. It was fluffy and delicious even without a spread of butter. Additional points for the absence of the heavy after-feeling of eating a croissant because this was not oily at all and crisp on the outside without being too flaky. Definitely felt less guilty eating this one!
Located at the void deck of a HDB flat, Grin Affair is one to be elusive. You would almost never spot it or even pass by this place if you did not come here deliberately. We had heard many good things about Grin Affair for a while now and made a special trip down about a month back just to try out the cakes in jars. Unfortunately, the place was closed for the day and it was sort of a wasted trip. We were however not disheartened and this time, we made sure we called up a day prior and even made reservations for the specific cakes we wanted so as to avoid all forms of disappointment. We came very prepared.
Opened by environment enthusiast and self taught baker Jody Ang, the novel concept behind Grin Affair is in serving up cakes in glass jars unlike the conventional methods of serving a slice on a plate! Think of a parfait without the ice-cream, and instead, fresh ingredients of fruits, cake, nuts and even ganache used in the layers. Definitely a less messy affair when eating cake since it’s all compact and contained in a jar!
All 12 flavours offered at Grin Affair are displayed on homemade decorated boards in the shop, giving a very homey and rustic feel to the customer. Most of them are own creations by Jody and many get sold out pretty quickly so you might want to get in early if you have specific preferences of flavours you would like to try!
After much difficulty, we finally decided on 5 out of the 12 selections and the gang was getting very impatient holding their spoons in anticipation as I took my shots. Gotta give it to them for their self control and patience with me!
Choupinette is this little French Bakery/Cafe/Restaurant located along Bukit Timah Road, right next to Coronation Plaza. This place has been here for like almost a decade now and we were all reminiscing about how our bus used to drive past the iconic multi-coloured striped banner on the way to school but we had all somehow never stepped in before.
Known for their Eggs Ben and authentic French pastries, Choupinette has been in the spotlight lately as the it-place for brunch. And this place has been on our list for like 2 months now but with all our different schedules, the five of us only managed to finally pick a common date recently to try this place out!
We called up and made a reservation because though it was a weekday, we were definitely not taking any chances. However, when we arrived, not only did the lady say that she had not received our reservation, the cosy 40-seater restaurant was also full house! It was a bit of a spoiler but luckily the server was quick to point out that a table of patrons was finishing their food and if we were to wait for 15min, they could clear it for us.
About 20min later, we were all finally seated with menus open and ready to order. Everyone zoomed straight for the Eggs Ben and called first dibs on it. Clearly, this was going to be a hot favourite at the table. So we all compromised and decided for variety sake, we were going to order five different sets to share.
Each set comes with a juice and hot drink. The juice choices were grapefruit, apple, orange, cranberry, lime and pineapple. Three of us chose grapefruit the first round but the lady soon came back to tell us that they were out. She then took my second choice order of pineapple before returning another time to say that it was also out. I would have gotten a little annoyed but our server was really nice and apologetic, it seemed almost impossible to get upset with her. So apple juice it was because that was all that was left.
The reputable Eggs Benedict soon arrived at our tables. $20++ is a steep price to pay for an Eggs Ben and we were about to find out if the price tag was justified. Unfortunately, the eggs were a little overcooked and did not flow quite as easily as beautifully poached eggs would have, but the Hollandaise sauce was excellent. Perfectly rich and buttery, it was so smooth and creamy, I almost forgot I was not having beautifully poached eggs. The ham slices too were shaved right and not too salty. And the baguette that the eggs were sitting on? Oh so good. Well buttered, crisp and delicious.
Next up, the Eggs Florentine $20++ was a healthier version of the Eggs Ben. Wilted spinach done right that was not too soggy but tossed for just the right amount of time, it was also great with the Hollandaise sauce.
K ki Cafe & The Little Drom Store on Ann Siang Hill is probably one of the most known and popular ‘hidden find’ in Singapore! Opened by self-taught baker Kenneth Seah and his wife Delphine Liau, K ki (which literally means cake in Japanese) Cafe has also achieved for itself quite a reputation abroad as well having been featured in a couple of international publications.
This cafe sells an array of artisan cakes with a wide range of different flavours but staying true to their specialty of light and airy Japanese inspired mousse cakes. We came here on a Saturday afternoon for tea and was honestly quite spoilt for choice, faced with many displays of beautifully crafted and designed cakes in front of us. Delphine who was the lovely lady at the counter was quick to suggest a few of their popular items and even suggested the order in which we were to eat our cakes so as to not let the varying tastes and flavours overpower each other.
So the first creation we tried was the Kinabaru. Alternating layers of coconut mousse with passion fruit puree and a crunchy chocolate base, this is definitely not a usual combination of fruits in a dessert. However, the lightness of the coconut mousse that simply melts in your mouth with the sour twang of the passion fruit and the slight crunch of the base will indeed change your impression of this unlikely match that turned out more than compatible.
Next up was the Antoinette and Emily. The latter was only chosen because my friend insisted the bold red hues of the cake reminded him of Angry Birds and because of that, this cake was a must order!
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Tokyo’s 85-year-old specialty Tonkatsu restaurant- Ginza Bairin, has recently opened its second outlet at JCube! (Their flagship store opened in 2009 at B4 of Ion Orchard)
Established in 1927 by founder Nobukatsu Shibuya, Ginza Bairin is the very first Tonkatsu restaurant ever launched in Ginza Japan. Today, the fast food restaurant chain is led by Masaya Shibuya, the great grandson and third generation owner of Ginza Bairin.
Together with a few other food bloggers, I had the opportunity of taking a trip down memory lane as we tried various new additions to the Ginza Bairin menu that had been created over the years.
We kicked started the evening with the Tonkatsu Sandwich (1932/Aug) – $9.10. Touted as the “Original Katsu Sandwich”, the Tonkatsu sandwich at Ginza Bairin is one of Nobukatsu-san’s most famous creations. It was created when there was a severe shortage of rice after World War II and he had an idea to serve Tonkatsu with bread in place of rice. And so because the Tonkatsu Sandwich was such a huge hit with the locals, it became a signature item on the menu.
Packaged in its custom made purple coloured box, you get four sandwiches with each serve. The crispiness of the Tonkatsu (Japanese breaded pork cutlets) which was juicy and not oily at all was a great contrast to the cut slices of soft fresh white bread. Of course, not forgetting a spread of their home-made Tonkatsu sauce (a special blend of spices, vegetables and apple) to help bring out the natural sweetness and robust flavor of the pork. This is definitely a good portion to buy as takeaway or for sharing!
Next, we were each served a bowl of their Special Katsudon (1958/Apr) – $16.50. This yummy bowl of goodness had been awarded the No.1 Donburi in Japan. Featuring their signature pork katsu imbedded in omelet, this donburi comes with a runny side up egg yolk on the top for added oomph as you burst it and eat it all together with the fluffy rice underneath! Absolutely warm comfort food with every bite!