With a gazillion new eateries offering artisanal bakes sprouting out all over tiny Singapore, it’s definitely hard to stand out and make a name for yourself. Well, apparently not for Tiong Bahru Bakery by Gontran Cherrier. Snuggled in the Tiong Bahru housing district, this new eatery has forged a name for itself and has been earning rave reviews online and on the papers.
I finally got a chance to visit it as part of my day-long food trip!! EXCITES.
I love the door of the shop, which is the turnabout kind even though it was a tad confusing. It was new, creative, and that’s what helps a shop stand out.
Stepping into the bakery was like stepping into a different world altogether. With its clean, white and minimalistic deco, it looked like a French cafe one would find in Japan. Oh and the smell of bread…decadence at its finest.
Huge assortment of artisan bread
Pretty baguettes: and vegan too
At 5pm, there were not many breads left. I wanted to try the squid ink baguette/specilty buns so badly, but I guess that’ll just have to wait till another visit. With not much tummy space left after our stint at Grin Affairs and Flor, we decided on sharing a Plain Brioche and a Chocolate Croissant.
I love how TBB places saucers of different jams and butter at the side for their customers, free of charge. It’s horrible how you’d go to some cafes (like our new D&D), order an artisan bread, and realise there’s no butter or jam to go with it. We had blueberry strawberry and raspberry jam that day:) on a side note, I realise I must have superior taste buds cause I identified the flavours of the jam correctly! My friends insisted the raspberry jam was actually strawberry, and were high five-ing and laughing at me till I checked. HAH.
I couldn’t resist ordering myself a Magic seeing their unique and extensive coffee menu.
TBB gets their coffee from Forty Hands which sells pretty darn good coffee. So I liked my cuppa. I’m especially impressed with their coffee menu because it offers much more choices in terms of proportions of milk to foam to coffee and all that. Magic falls somewhere between a latte and a macchiato. It is essentially expresso topped with some milk. I like my coffee strong, so I loved the Magic.
The thing about being called “Best” is that I’d look to the food with really high expectations, and when it doesn’t match up, the disappointment is magnified. Essentially a pain au chocolat, TBB’s chocolate croissants are one of their most highly rated items, next to their croissants, to the point of being called “Best Choc Croissant” by some. Crisp, buttery, flaky, fluffy are words describing a great croissant. Sadly none of these applied to TBB’s Chocolate Croissants.
Attempts to cut the croissant will expose the crisp outlook as the facade it is. My knife sank to the base of the croissant without so much as a crackle of resistance. Except the base. It was so soft (in the soggy way) a clean cut was not possible. As visible the layers of dough are, the croissant was neither flaky nor fluffy. The amount of chocolate used was so pathetically little my friends and I were fighting to have some in every bite. My friends stopped eating soon enough, saying it was too bready and buttery for their liking. The only saving grace is their sweet yeast-leavened dough, which nailed the “taste” factor of a croissant. A pity everything else were way off par. Antoinette’s pain au chocolats are a milion times better.
The Plain Brioche wasn't any better. Straits Times’ Sunday Life’s Taste highly recommended their plain-looking brioche a few weeks back, so I was pretty excited on trying it. Soft and lightly sweetened, TBB’s brioche was decent but as plain as it looked. It was nice as a fluffy sweet buttery bread, but if I’d much rather head over to Jones the Grocer or Wild Honey anytime for my brioche fix.
We were too full to stomach these interesting looking croissants that day. It’s been said though that they have a unique and wonderful texture, where the distinctly separate layers contribute to a whole new level of taste and texture. To be tried on my next visit: check.
While their croissant might’ve failed on all counts, and their brioche failing to stand out, there’re still too many items here begging to be tasted. I won’t return for their Chocolate Croissant nor their Plain Brioche; but their berry crumbles, artisan breads and unique croissant will surely see a visit from me sometime soon.
Tiong Bahru Bakery
51 Eng Hoon Street
Sundays to Thursdays: 8am-8pm
Fridays to Saturdays: 8am-10pm