plain vanilla bakery, tiong bahru

not-bad baked goods from this beautiful whitewashed bakery in tiong bahru. from a yuppie enclave (i.e. katong), to this hipster one (the bicycles say it all) – this popular cupcake place actually also serves up a range of other items (that provide more compelling reason for a visit).

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baker & cook, chip bee gardens

baker and cook is this chain of bakery-cafe that’s been around for ages – my first time finally at one, and I think it’s an easy choice for breakfast or brunch on the weekends, if you’re not into trying too hard. this particular outlet – as would suit the demographic in this locale – is packed with expatriates and their kids, and gets a little manic (service is both harried and difficult to get). but the food is decent, and good for a meal if you can score a seat.

it’s a simple menu of morning goods like scrambled eggs and breakfast meats – bulked up with an array of baked goodies like croissants and bagels (they also bake cakes and breads, if you’re so inclined). it all looks pretty much as-you’d-expect, which is to say it’s appealing in a homey, familiar way – and I expect most of it to be good eating.

my granola was a generous portion served up with a berry compote and greek-ish yogurt, with milk on the side. mashed up and left to sit, it softens into a nice, not-too-sweet bowl of wholesomeness.

the price points are reasonable (though really, this expensive climate means even reasonable is probably too much), and the cafe is casual, comfortable seating. if only it weren’t quite so packed – but then again, that’s the price you pay for good food.

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the missing pan, bukit timah

one of the better brunch places in the new morass of food establishments – how do they keep popping up?! – with generous portions, good cooking, and a beautiful space (and bad ventilation, though that depends on where you’re sitting). I’m very pleased with this place – I haven’t left so full and satisfied after brunch for a long time, service is mostly prompt and food comes quickly, and prices aren’t crazy.

very good, and well worth a visit.

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pies & coffee, buona vista

quiet stop for coffee and cake at the rochester mall – unassuming, but they make a mean chocolate cake. there’s not really much to say about this place: it’s not quite a hipster joint, and more akin to starbucks in feel, prices average, space average.

we had an array of desserts from their rather appealing cold counter – lots of options available (savory food too, if you’re in mind for some):

  • a slice of chocolate cake, which was dark and chocolatey and rich like ganache – this went down quickly, so watch that you don’t lift your fork away from the plate too much (especially if dining with fellow chocolate people);
  • a bit of a lemon meringue pie, which I was less enamoured with – the white fluff was slightly too-stiff and piled way-higher than it needed to be, and the filling didn’t have enough tartness to cut through the rather one-dimensional sweetness;
  • and a chocolate tart, for which our expectations were raised after the girl behind the counter described it as “oozey like a lava cake”. it’s a fantastic idea, and would have been absolutely phenomenal if executed properly – but we had to return it twice so it could be adequately warmed (it came back cold to the finger-test, which I think ridiculous), and the filling was definitely not oozey. it tasted like an average double-crusted (pretty thick pastry too, though at least pleasantly buttery) chocolate tart.

    I like the iced cappuccino – but I’m in no way an expert or a fanatic so I suspect relevant javaholics will need to chim in here. it’s a decent sort of place – good for holding those tea-break meetings or meeting some friends, but it certainly hasn’t the soul (or the supposed elitism) one expects with coffee joints these days.

    p.s. I hear something curious from friends about how drury lane was set up from renegades of this very place – and I have to say I prefer that establishment for its quality. but again, it’s also a bit of a kitschy hipster versus truly-commercial sort of comparison, which likely doesn’t make it fair for the latter.

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  • batterworks + nylon coffee roasters, outram park

    back with a singapore post, and this time we’re in the hipster neighborhood of everton park. it’s a quaint, quiet, old neighborhood that’s recently seen the entrance of young hipster establishments full of their concrete naturalness, too-cool-for-school carelessness, and questionable gastronomy.

    most people come here for the coffee – but I came lured by the offer of cake.

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    la tarte tropezienne

    I’m here to share a new treat, and a secret.

    please don’t tell anyone, but I’m no great fan of macaroons. I’ve seen countless shops popping up on this tiny island with those tiny pastel beauties, but I don’t like those tiny much-lauded sandwiches of chewy meringue with a smear of frosting.

    when you’ve finished judging me (hello there, silent agree-er in the corner), I can now tell you about a new find I’ve made that is set to take on those mare-ca-hoons in a duel of french treats: the tarte tropezienne.

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    loola’s by awfully chocolate, town

    disappointing desserts at this offshoot of the famed awfully chocolate brand at the esplanade theatres. looks good, tastes not-so-good is happening alarmingly frequent nowadays – and it’s even sadder when desserts are the object of discussion. when you have chocolate and sugar and butter floating about in a little baked good, it’s depressing when they don’t end up being good. how can that even happen!

    these were lackluster – very, very unimpressive. they weren’t too terrible to eat, but most certainly not worth the price nor the wait. it’s a pity, because the cafe itself is lovely – conducive for intimate conversation, spacious enough for comfortable seating.

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    marmalade pantry, town

    good, better-than-average bistro food at this branch of the yummy-mummy chain in the ion shopping mall. this is a long post, because I came here twice in barely a week – and I’ll tell you why: the food is pretty decent, the prices competitive for the area, and there aren’t much better options around for a place to sit down and have some cake and tea.

    it’s pretty flabbergasting to realize that though the orchard road precinct is hangout-de-rigueur for most people on the weekends, and so ought to (and does) have a slew of eateries, there really isn’t much to eat around there, just a whole lot of overly expensive sit-down places or trendy takeaway options. this place remains my fall-back option when I’m out with the girlfriends, and has been since I first visited their palais renaissance outlet nearly five years ago.

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