Sunday, 12 January 2014

Tiong Bahru Bakery

An artisan bakery by French baker Gontran Cherrier has been a hit since it first opened in the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood. By Spa Espirit Group which also owns Kiasu Espresso, it now has two more branches at Raffles City Shopping Centre and Tangs Orchard. Serving what some claim to be the best croissant in town, I left the bakery-café without buying anything as it did not look light and flaky. Then one day, someone who was in the area and heard how good the croissant was bought it for me. I was not impressed by its unevenly risen dough and lamented how the croissant (better ones can be found at Maison Kayser and Paris Baguette) could not make it. Was told its squid ink bun, chocolate croissant and kouign aman were good. The latter, also highly recommended by staff, is Breton's cake with salted butter and sugar. So I thought to myself that maybe I should try other items.

Raffles City Shopping Centre
My dining companions and I just had dinner and decided to go Tiong Bahru Bakery, located at the basement of Raffles City Shopping Centre, for coffee. Despite being a weekend, it was not packed. Upon choosing our seats, we proceeded to place orders at the counter. Having sampled its kouign aman, I ordered the chocolate one whereas they had lemon calamansi tart and pandan flan. While waiting, we helped ourselves to cutleries and serviettes as well as condiments and complimentary water. Metal table tops, some given a green coat of paint, with wooden legs reminiscent of old school desks were paired with bench seats and wooden chairs with backrest. I could smell a nice aroma of roasted beans in my order of magic, a smooth and strong but acidic cup of double espresso topped with milk foam. There was ample dose of dark chocolate in the chocolate kouign aman, with a top I believed was crisp from the caramelised sugar and insides lighter than the caramel-glazed original.

Eng Hoon Street @ Tiong Bahru
It was a weekday when I dropped by the surprisingly almost empty Tiong Bahru Bakery for dinner as it was mostly packed whenever I walked by, including on weekday afternoons. Located along Eng Hoon Street beside The Orange Thimble, it had a large wooden swing door. Inside were the same metal tables and wooden chairs with backrest. As it had run out of the squid ink bun I wanted to try and this branch does not sell curry, I had its curry bun with herb-baked chicken instead. This is one of its buns with toppings, essentially freshly-baked specialty buns sliced into halves with fillings in between like a burger. Requested for my order to be warmed up and was told only the top half of the bun could be toasted. Could neither rave about nor fault the tender chicken, olive oil cream, sun-dried tomato and raw greens but loved the fluffy bread. Some might find it a tad dry because the dressing would otherwise have soaked the bread since it was not assembled upon order.

Tangs Orchard
With two entrances that open to the inside and outside of Tangs Orchard, the latest addition is also the smallest. Located on the 1st floor, most seats are along wooden counter tops with shelving below for customers to put their belongings  a long one facing Lucky Plaza, a short one facing a wall and a high one around a big column. The latter had wooden bar stools while the rest of the seats are wooden stools including those at small round wooden tables. Ordered a mocha with a faint aroma of roasted beans from Common Man Coffee Roasters, tasted more coffee than chocolate and might be a tad bitter for some though am not complaining and was smooth but could be stronger and thicker. And had a chocolate croissant with almond, which had a nice aroma of butter and almond with a crisp outside sweetened by the icing sugar atop. Do not expect flaky croissant but miserable amount of chocolate between thick layers of dough.

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