Sunday, July 5, 2015

Tiong Bahru Bakery : NEW Savoury Croissants

After the successful launch of 8 classic French desserts, Chef Gontran Cherrier channeled his creative juices into another new wave of experimental creations—Savoury Croissants with an Asian twist. Available in four different variations, these aren't the typical crescent-shaped croissants, but those shaped like inflatable water rafts that adventure lovers would ride across rapid rivers. 
It might be difficult to guess what they are from their quirky yet energetic names; "Rolling Dumpling", "Running Egg", "Jumping Fish" and "Flying Pig". Perhaps Chef Gontran intended to produce an action movie starring these four characters *just kidding*
Speaking of the "Rolling Dumpling", I would not have guess that it was inspired from Xiao Long Bao if not for the menu description as it lacked the distinctive traits of this classic chinese dumpling such as the slurpy pork broth. Yes, there were pickled ginger and succulent minced meat but the black vinegar dressing could not lift up the dish.

Nonetheless, the sparkling chemistry between the subtly spiced chorizos and the sweet caramelized onion jam in the "Flying Pig" left me clamouring for more. Its miso dressing did not overpower the dish and I wouldn't even mind if the sausage was spammed with even more of the tasty onion relish on top. 

As a person with a soft spot for fish, I thought I would love the "Jumping Fish" the most but it turned out otherwise. A bite into this voluptuous croissant revealed an oasis of minced spinach and salmon filling. The cod roe was not too salty but the filling, which reminded me of the classic Greek Pie Spanakopita, needed a shake of herbs to bring it to life. 


Another calorie-worthy croissant is the "Running Egg" that was garnished with non-heady Japanese spicy flakes. While ramen egg gurus might insist that the "molten" egg yolk could be more gooey, I thought the current consistency worked well with the bonito flakes and mayonnaise sauce, which contributed to the tasty umami flavours.

Prepared fresh from the kitchen upon order, these croissants are baked till their exterior shell turned crunchy before assembling the fillings. This was a wise strategy to minimize the probability of sogginess, though there were still inconspicuous signs of under-baking at the centre and the side walls. This is not a major issue as "grilling" these croissants longer in the oven (before piling up the fillings) would create the perfect golden brown versions that are less vulnerable to moisture. 

Each croissant is retailing at $4.50 each or you can select any two flavours to go with the tangy salad with yuzu dressing, dried cranberry and mixed seeds for $12. My suggestion is to enjoy these savoury croissants at the outlets where they are served piping hot and fresh from the oven. 

It's alright if your stomach acknowledged the aroma of caramelized butter by making some embarrassing growls in public.

Mine did but so did everyone. 

Available 11.30am-3pm daily at all outlets

Tiong Bahru Bakery 

56 Eng Hoon Street
#01-70 Singapore 160056
Tel: +65 6220 3430
Daily: 8am – 8pm (closed on Tue)

252 North Bridge Road
#B1-11/12 Raffles City Shopping Centre
Singapore 179103
Tel: +65 6333 4160
Daily: 9am – 10pm

310 Tangs Orchard
#L1-16B Singapore 238864
Mon-Sat 8am-10pm
Sun 8am-9pm
https://www.facebook.com/tiongbahrubakery

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Okada Coffee Singapore: Good Coffee and Japanese Cakes

It has been a while since I last visited Okada Coffee and I finally got to try its signature Mont Blanc ($9), made with the premium chestnuts from its hometown Kumamoto. The patterned layers of Mont Blanc set it apart from the usual "noodle strand" chestnut cakes, with a meringue heart that gave a good measure of crunch. 

The Creme de marron was full of chestnut goodness but the Creme Chantily was in short supply and I wished it could be significantly less sweet. 
Fortunately, it's another chestnut sweet, the Okada Roll ($8), was rational on sugar. The core was pumped up with light chestnut cream and one could inhale whiffs of eggy aroma in the pillowy sponge. 
The Matcha Cake is a simple construction of green tea mousse, azuki beans and sponge. Nothing much fanciful but sends a calming effect as you plunge your fork through the soft layers and deliver a bite into your mouth. 
While Okada Coffee is renowned for its chestnut sweets, there is also a few old-school dine-in only desserts like the "Hot Apple Pie" ($12). Like all the other pastries, this is also hand-made in Japan before being air flown and baked fresh in local kitchen. 
This apple pie boasts a golden rich puff pastry crust that locks the moist apple filling without turning soggy. At its most ethereal state right out from the oven, it is topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzles of blueberry sauce that gives it a pleasant tartness. 

Sweets aside, notice that cup of coffee at the side of the hot apple pie? It's Brazil Santos Chocolate ($8.50++), a special blend of the signature Okada coffee containing a subtle acidity which I truly appreciated. It isn't any of those hot chocolate but a good solid brew with a nice bittersweet taste. 

No wonder it is called Okada Coffee.    

Okada Coffee 岡田珈琲
100am, 100 Tras St., #03-23. S’pore 079027
Mon-Sun 10.30am-10pm
https://www.facebook.com/okada.coffee.singapore/

This is a collaboration with Wattention SG

Thursday, July 2, 2015

UNA One Rochester : Spanish Sunday Brunch!

The moment I stepped into UNA One Rochester, the romantic white alfresco seatings simply left me dumbstruck. It was the perfect setting for any weddings, private events and of course, a lazy Sunday brunch with good company. 

From now till Sept 6th, UNA @ 1 Rochester offers the flavors of Spain with all-you-can eat salads, tapas, eggs and grills that are prepared by the team led by Executive Chef Jean-Phillipe Patruno, who came to Singapore to open the now-defunct BOMBA Paella Bar in late 2012.
 
The brunch started with a little confusion as I thought the indoor buffet spread consists of only the cold, seafood platter and the salads selection, while the rest shown on the menu had to be ordered. Only later did I realize that some of the tapas such as Machego Cheese and Membrillo, Sourdough Bread and Alioli and Anchovies, Tomatoes and Jalepenos were already displayed as part of the buffet spread. 
Sangria, assorted tapas and cold cuts, crab croquettes
Nonetheless, all went well with the complimentary glass of Sangria, especially with the Machego Cheese, an aged sheep cheese whose sharp character was neutralized by the sweet quince paste jelly known as Membrillo. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Patisserie Cacahouete Tokyo : The Floating Macaron

You may have heard of the angel food cake (light eggless version of chiffon) but have you seen angel cake with wings before? This is one of the creation at another patisserie located in the serene neighborhood of Naka-Meguro. 
Opened in 2006, this shop is similar to Le Pommier in Kagurazaka as it is also run by a French Patissier Chef Jerome Quesnel. He has several accolades under his belt and trained under renowned brands such as Pierre Herme, Laduree etc. While there is an emphasis on classic French techniques in his works, I admire the way he pushed the boundaries by presenting them in an interesting way that grabs the attention of customers. But he is not alone. 

This shop is also a collaboration with Japanese Chef Kabasawa Takano. Both them have garnered a loyal group of fans and the signature item reported widely in media is the choux square cream bun. 
Returning back to the cakes, Angelo did not send my flying in delight with its vanilla-strawberry mousse and sponge base. The taste was meek and the strawberry chocolate nuts coating could be sturdier. 
Fortunately, the problem did not appear in Brasil, which had a similar chocolate coating structure like Angelo. In fact, this was one of my favourites despite the use of bananas. A rich dark layer of silky chocolate mousse sat below the sweet banana compote whose temperamental character was under controlled by the chef. This wasn't the most elaborate chocolate creation by Chef Jerome but everything fell in the right place.
 
During it's special appearance at the weekly sweets fair at Ginza Mitsubishi depato, Chef Jerome came up with a Pineapple Verrine. I must confessed I tried it because I was curious to know if there was anything hidden within the mousse tower. However, it was simply a milky panna cotta with some tart pineapple gelee; good but not outstanding compared to his other works like the Mac Tiramisu below.
THE MAC TIRAMISU:ザ マック ティラミス」
マカロンカフェにマスカルポーネクリームがたっぷりと入り、カフェ黒糖のムースがのったヴェリンヌです。
The apricot-filled coffee macaron was literally sitting in a vacuum space, or you can say the mascarpone mousse beneath the kokutou (black sugar黒糖) cafe dome was sitting in mid-air. This was the first sweet I tried from Cacahouete back in 2010 and of course, I thought I was eating magic. Moreover, it was actually a re-interpretation of Tiramisu; what's there not to love

I haven't had a chance to visit his main shop at Naka-Meguro. Yet I know I will, having browsed through pictures of much more sophisticated cakes online.

Patisserie Cacahouete 
1 Chome-9-6 Higashiyama, Meguro, Tokyo 153-0043, Japan
Daily 10am-8pm
http://www.cacahouete-paris.jp/
http://www.facebook.com/patisserie.cacahouete.paris
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