[SG] Tiong Bahru Bakery (Raffles City)

Monday, August 20, 2012

A place that keeps popping up when I speak of crossiants and pastries, I've heard quite alot of great reviews from this new establishment hidden in the well-known Tiong Bahru district. I still haven't managed to visit its flagship store since its opening in May and well, what a surprise when we found it right in town! Visiting on the second day of its opening at Raffles City, there wasn't much crowd and we were perhaps the only customers at the counter that they were serving. Probably because there wasn't much crowd in the mall itself with the National Day public holiday. Apparently this was a far cry to its ulu branch at Eng Hoon Street where most items were sold out by 12, according to the manager. 

Chancing upon this in such a central location was a big plus for us and we decided to give it a shot, hoping that they maintained strict quality control since this was our first encounter. I must first applaud the service staff for being extremely attentive and patient, as I was a rather indecisive customer and had quite alot of questions for them.    

First panel, plenty of pastries to choose from. Second panel had the different types of sandwiches and third was the various cakes/tarts.  

Interesting representation of their drinks menu, though there should perhaps be a legend if the colours or patterns were to make some sense to a noob like me. 

We were all too full after our heavy dimsum brunch at Asia Grand (review coming up soon!) and so all of us had takeaways. According to the service staff, all the following were the recommended ones. 

Plain crossiant ($2.80)

I've heard that this is the best in Singapore, which made me rather critical. First bite left me a tad impressed as it was still crispy after leaving it out for at least 5 hours. It had a buttery aroma to it and I liked the complement of its soft interior and the crispy flakes outside. However, I thought it was abit too rich in flavour and too oily for my liking, perhaps an overdose of butter used. First few bites were good, until the strong taste became a little overwhelming for me. Perhaps this is better than most crossiants you can get off chain bakeries, but it's definitely not the best to me. 

Nom Factor: 7.0/10

Kouign Aman ($3.50)

Pronounced as kween-ahmon, this is a french pastry with layers of butter and sugar. (okay, I didn't know it was so fattening until I google-d it) It didn't occur to me when I was told that this was a caramel pastry.  I liked the outer layers where the golden crust was crispy and sweet, and you could taste the different layers of dough folded together. It was just the right amount of sweetness for us and we thought it was quite nicely done for a seemingly simple pastry. The insides, however, was a little disappointing as the whit-ish parts tasted like sweetened thin layers of roti prata folded together. Overpriced for a pastry of just dough and melted sugar, I feel. 

Nom Factor: 7.0/10

Almond Chocolate Crossiant ($3.50)

Perhaps it's just me, I don't usually fancy soft crossiants. I didn't like how the entire piece seems to be falling apart as I held it up and it didn't have the crispy flaky parts of a crossiant. Taste-wise, the almond fillings over-shadowed the chocolate and it was too sweet for my liking. It would have been better if there was a balance of chocolate and just moderately sweet almond cream.

Nom Factor: 6.0/10 

Lemon Tart ($6)

The crust was too thick and so hard that I found it difficult to eat without making a mess from several attempts of cutting it. It wasn't the crumbly type and its texture was quite like butter shortbread, less the buttery taste of it. Some recipes recommend that, but this wasn't quite to my liking. The lemon cream filling had a nice refreshing taste of lime in it and wasn't too sour that it made your nose cringe. It would have been perfect if the tart was made of crumbly biscuits, but that's just my preference.

Nom Factor: 7.5/10 

Pandan Flan ($6)

This was my very first taste of flan, not an expert in it so I shall just base it on what my taste buds think of it. There are various interpretations of flan, but mostly involving custard as its main ingredient. Honestly, before doing a google search, I thought it was supposed to taste like Kaya Kueh. (My mum actually compared it to the Malay Kueh stall at the market that sells it for just 40cents :P) It has a very slight chewy texture to it, not at all the soft custard that I've read about online. It didn't have the pandan aroma to it, probably substituted by the Kaya used in its mix. The crust was quite disappointing too, as it was all soft and lacked the crisp to complement the soft texture of the flan.

Nom Factor: 5.5/10 

Part of the seating area available. There was actually another area that was much brighter, beside the escalator, under the Marketplace sign. 

I thought this was quite an interesting way of doubling the use of the same packaging. Mine was just the paper bag that was placed into a bigger plastic bag with a few other boxed. The same paper bag though, can double up as its own packaging just by stapling the handle onto it!

I haven't been to the original store and I'm just basing my review on the Raffles City branch I've tried. According to them, the same dough has been prepared over at Eng Hoon Street and then brought over to be baked and sculpted by their chefs over here. I presume there should be a minimum level of standard maintained. 

I thought this was a rather overrated bakery. Some of their pastries might taste better than your normal bakery finds, but it definitely doesn't deserve the title of being the best. (I still swear by Maison Kayser for being the best I've tried so far) It was quite an average bakery store, over-hyped and overpriced. I thought it was quite disappointing actually. Some of the pastries at Raffles City also cost abit more than the same items at their original store. Not worth making a special trip down for their bakes, but quite a decent bakery if you're craving for some around Raffles City area.  

Overall Nom Factor: 7.0/10
252 North Bridge Road #B1-11/12
Raffles City Shopping Centre

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  1. Thanks for the really detailed and interesting post sweegeok!I especially agree about the part where you mentioned that the Kouign Aman was nicely done for a simple pastry! We really enjoyed it!

    We’re from Spawt, a company currently developing a mobile application that seeks to discover and recommend interesting places nearby you while being a social platform for users to post and share about their experiences.

    We recently went to visit Tiong Bahru Bakery at Raffles City on a Wednesday evening at around 5pm and were surprised to find that it was rather empty instead of the bustling crowd we were expecting! We tried some of the pastries that you didn't include in your post : Tuna Focaccia & Triple Chocolate Cake & a Latte. The other things we tried in common were the Lemon Tart and the Kouign Aman which we have different views on.

    We found the Tuna Focaccia to be rather on the ‘fishy’ side and not as enjoyable as we thought it to be. The latte, to us, tasted really good and didn’t need any condiments. The lemon cake was extremely sour and its crust was really tough (like how you explained earlier)! The chocolate cake was really smooth with a thin crisp waffle at the bottom which we felt should be thicker to have the effect intended. The cake lacked the wow factor and blends in with other chocolate cakes offered at other places. Probably the highlight of our visit was the Kouign Amann which is a round crusty pastry with butter and sugar folded into it. It was sweet and savoury and when you bite into it, you get a good crunch out of it which is really satisfying.

    If you would like to read more about our visit, it’s at http://blog.spawt.me/high-tea-spawts-tiong-bahru-bakery-raffles-ci and you can like us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/spawtme to stay updated about the app.

    We’ll be going into closed beta soon, as such, we’d be happy to have you be one of the first to interact with the app, please do not hesitate to drop us a private message via our facebook page! :)

  2. Hi! Glad that you've enjoyed the post! Well, I guess they've been making constant improvements as the Kouign Aman looked much better done in your photos (: Thanks for the invitation. Definitely, we'll be keen to explore that with you! (: