Tiong Bahru Bakery
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
Its menu offering is absolute rubbish. They all look so delectable and yummy on that wooden thing, but oh good lord, they taste like CRAP. I have to say their tarts or whatever crumbles does not crumble, they are impenetrable fortresses and you will develop some muscles trying to cut a piece. (mine flew off the table)
Everything in Tiong Bahru bakery is hard, like rock hard and maybe they made them during a really cold winter in paris and shipped them here and it became so damn hard when they finally got here. They don't even have anything to warm your bread or croissants and you are expected to eat them COLD, like on a cold lonely winter's night in Paris behind a dark dirty street. Maybe Singapore is too hot for warm bread but if I'm dinning in I expect to be given the option.
So why am I back? why do I keep coming back for crap? the guy who opened this shop is a genius and hit gold with the marketing. The name is so old school but its painfully cool and relevant today when you slapped it with a French blablabla name at the end. The neighbourhood is just amazing and the whole atmosphere of the cafe is also pretty awesome.
So today I went back after my zui kueh at Tiong Bahru market, brought a new friend to complain about the place, ordered coffee (40 hands is closed today and they use the same beans anyway), ordered the only edible lemon curd tart and had a piece fly of the table while using full force on the tart, and watch all that fools (including myself) flock in and be on the waiting list for a table at this cooler than school place.
What can I say. The coffee was superb. The cake was delicious. The must-try croissant is not exactly a normal croissant but an inventive patisserie masterpiece unlike any other I have ever tasted in the world, including previous trips to Paris. The charming service staff were not just polite and efficient, they were actually passionate. I would be too if I got to eat those divine confectionary marvels every day.
All is forgiven.
My favorite pastry from TBB would be their Kouign Amann. Shaped in a spiral of delightful dough, drizzled with a layer of sugar at the top; every bite of the flaky and buttery pastry is a sinful treat. With each mouthful, your ears are met with a satisfying crunch, and your taste buds are left in pure bliss. Stay far away from it if you are on a diet, because you are not going to be able to stop yourself from wolfing the whole thing down!
Originally from Tiong Bahru before it expanded to other areas such as Raffles City, one can now easily get some pastries for a quick pick-me-up during lunchtime! So hurry, before it all runs out!
However, other dishes such as their Lemon curd tart and their squid ink sandwich were rather underwhelming. The Lemon curd tart was rather bland and the lemon flavouring was not outstanding. Similarly, I could barely taste the squid ink on the sandwich bun while they were rather stingy with the poultry filling.
A major plus point would be the setting of the cafe as it gives a relaxing ambience - perfect for a get together with friends or dessert after work. The experience hence renders its high prices to the sidelines - customers would be willing to pay!
The pastries are pretty expensive, but the Kougin Amman is so damn delicious so just shut up and take my money. The burgers on the other hand are more comparatively more affordable. I've tried a few and my favourite is the one with the squid ink bun - it has smoked salmon and parma ham in it and is delicious, if a tad salty. The squid ink bun is black (duh), so maybe not the best thing to order on a first date, but otherwise, do try it!
I wouldn't spend my dollars on the mains - they'd be better spent on their pastries and some desserts like the lemon curd tart.
Order the kouign amann, a circle of crispy, chewy pastry, glazed with caramelised sugar. It's chewy and buttery under all that crunchy pastry crust, leaving the lingering taste of salted caramel. Highly recommended for those with a sweet tooth. Not too fond of sweets? Share it with a friend in case you feel "gelat" halfway through.
Prices are a little steep but if you know which items to spend your money on, it'll make a satisfying treat.
Here comes, the food that looked superb and supposedly it should taste good. No, you will either be getting cold hard bread or greasy oily croissant. We are Asians who are so accustomed to eating rice, I don’t see how are we suppose to know how to eat bread that are so tough and rough. Maybe they should alter their recipes such that they can better serve our taste bud justice. Major disappointment!
But having heard so much about Tiong Bahru Bakery, I had to give it a try. My friend tried the squid ink burger and gave it a huge thumbs up. I had a couple of pastries and I would say that the visit was a pleasant one. However, I feel like it is over rated. There are just too many bakeries popping up in the Singapore market and competition is too high.
Thinking about it, delicious bread of the same standard can be found at much cheaper prices I feel.
This lady tricked me into buying some lime cream puff (or shoe puff, whatever she calls it). She was raving about how special it was, and said she highly recommends it. And, being the citrus nut that I am, I took her recommendation and bought one puff at 8 dollars, which is way too expensive given the size of the puff (and of course its absolutely underwhelming taste). It definitely wasn't worth the money. It was quite a heavy puff for its size, which was testament to the generous amount of cream it contained, but alas, I bit into it and, to my utmost disappointment, my mouth was filled with a crap-load of bland custard-like cream that needed sugar (and that, more importantly, needed LIME). It was just mouthful after mouthful of cream that cloyed with every mouthful. I might as well have gone to to the supermarket and downed a packet of cooking cream.
The light green (supposedly lime) dusting did absolutely nothing to enhance the flavour (or lack of) of the puff. In fact, I did not so much as detect a hint of lime and would not have thought that it was meant to be a lime puff had I not been told that it actually was one. My friend even suggested that, for all I knew, the light green dusting might not even have been lime, but perhaps some pandan leave ground into dust. But whatever, the bottom line is: that was one bad, bad puff.
I was so dissatisfied and underwhelmed with that puff that I went somewhere else to have better puffs. And they were way better and three times cheaper.
It was very pricey but my partner wanted to try some of the pastries. So we bought the lemon tart, the blueberry crumble, the apple crumble, the chocolate tart, and a few others.
The lemon tart was a bit too sour for me and the others were not that great as well, except for the blueberry crumble. The blueberry crumble had a tart base, crunchy and crumbly crumbles sprinkled on top, and a nice blueberry filling in the center.
There are other places that are as pricey and better tasting, or not as pricey and still better tasting, than Tiong Bahru Bakery. Needless to say, I won't be back.
Their pastries are also delicious. Some of my recommendations are the lemon tart, (for those who dislike sour, may find the tart a tad too sour), the croissants and the apple crumble. The croissants are so delicious! with free flow butter at the counter, it complements the fresh and 'crispy' croissant perfectly. The apple crumble was also very appetizing and i could feel the real apple crumbs
It is overall a satisfying experience for me although with all the competition of cafes in Singapore, it make take some time before i go back to try the lovely pastries again!
According to the staff, what I tried was the Kouign Amann which is a round buttery cake-like bread made with butter and sugar folded in. As it was still warm, the pastry was crispy and flaky, yet soft in the inside. I decided to buy 2 more to bring back for my parents. Even after 2 hours, the pastry was still crispy and my parents enjoyed it very much. However, I felt that the pastries and cakes were slightly pricey at $3-4 for each pastry and $6-8 for a slice of cake. I would say, go for the pastries as their cakes do not look as good as their pasties. But I am not surprised if I am proven wrong again.
I now understand the hype over Tiong Bahru Bakery.