Food Tales


One of the words of wisdom from Word Porn (@wordsporn) is do something that makes you happy. Heeding its words, these days I try and remember what makes me happy as a way to move on after a break up which wasn’t mutual. One such activity is having a slice of cake from Amici, a renowned pasta place with an outlet in Tomas Morato. Their pasta menu undoubtedly is amazing too, but a slice of cake or gelato cake is instant happiness (I’d worry about the calories later.) it is a partnership that only spells sweetness. The pasta is solely Amici but the cakes and gelato cakes are from Caramia bakery that introduced gelato cakes to Filipinos. I find a quaintness to the name, which is Italian for “my dear”, because you can look at the cake and consider it a dear or your precious. Conversely, it is a way of saying you are important to me when a Caramia cake is presented as a gift. 

The one cake that got my attention was Smores, a whole cake of chocolate butter cake smothered with torched marshmallow and topped with meringue-shaped torched marshmallows. A slice with one meringue-shaped marshmallow makes for a delicious tea break; half a slice – half of the “meringue” marshmallow – is a great meal ender. Looks are deceiving – Smores might look cloying but it is the furthest from the truth. The sweetness is just enough to tickle your palate pleasantly.

Prior to digging into a slice is the thrill of opening the box. I think of unwrapping a present during Christmas or a birthday. There is always that thrill that surges through me throwing me back to my childhood when the world seemed a better place and people were less prone to duplicity. Combined with the pleasure of eating a slice of Smores, a broken heart aches less and all is good in the world.

Food Tales


I was never one for running for two reasons – it’s just too tiring and flat footed. The only one person that had me running was my soccer coach Mike Villadolid who made us run before and after practice as warm up and winding down activities. In between we had drills and a scrimmage. But these days I’m fine with running particularly since it’s after a delectable rainbow. The first chase was done by my student and I just followed suit so the run was pretty easy. She bought a whole Rainbow Cake from The Cheesecake Factory as part of her show and tell on “My Favourite Dessert.” We were happily taking bites of seventh heaven as she rattled on about who popularised the cake in the world. Cake lovers will have to thank 21-year-old Kaitlin Flannery, an American student who, in her blog, wrote that she made it for a good friend of her who was moving to Ohio. She got noticed when she was a guest on The Martha Stewart Show and baked her caloric success. Part of the show and tell was a video on how to make the cake. I noted how laborious the process is. A lot of patience is also needed as one bakes layer and layer and later spreads the icing layer after layer.

This humongous, calorie-laden Rainbow Cake is now prominently part of the display counters of most bakeries and patisseries in Indonesia. Case in point is The Cheesecake Factory, which newly opened on Kalimalang. Its version is light on the tummy and on the fork that slides through easily. The cream icing is sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar and topped with half a strawberry and a piece of orange. Layers are less stacked than the original but they are just enough for a filling late-afternoon snack.

Rainbow cake a la The Cheesecake Factory

Another version I stumbled onto is the one at The Ritz-Carlton, Mega Kuningan, Jakarta. The server suggested their Rainbow Cake after I had ordered the cinnamon doughnut. I agreed with her suggestion without hesitation. Pairing the Rainbow Cake with jasmine green tea was a good move. The cake was chilled, making the consistency chewy compared to The Cheesecake Factory slice, which might not be a big hit with those who like it light. But the chilled factor didn’t interfere with the divine taste of the cake, which was more layered than Cheesecake Factory’s, as the sweet vanilla-cream cheese-ish flavour danced on the tongue with gusto.

Squares of white chocolate on dollops of icing crown Ritz-Carlton, Jakarta’s Rainbow cake

I’m back running again and plotting the next rainbow run. The chase for the rainbow is far from over.

Peripatetic Mood


Singapore: You can say that am a walking, breathing sweet tooth. I was born with one so any new bakeshop that opens near or far is always a place I’d drop by – you can bet on that. The first time Bread Talk opened in Singapore I was popping into the stores regularly and picking up my whilom favourite milk bread that was replaced by chicken sausage which was, in time, replaced by the chicken floss bun. I can’t find it in the shelves of Singapore but, back in Bekasi, Indonesia, Bread Talk sold loaves of blueberry wheat bread that became an instant favourite. Breakfast was heavenly with “toasted” blueberry bread smothered in butter and downed with a mug of Milo. [Aside: Toasted isn’t the exact word for it. It’s more of pan-seared because, for lack of a toaster, I’d place a slice on the heated skillet and wait for it to turn golden brown.]

Four Leaves is another bakery I frequented specifically for their custard and chocolate buns, which I nicknamed as snails (they remind me of snails for some unexplainable reason). They’re soft and great on their own or partnered with a cup of Japanese green tea. I still go to Four Leaves particularly their branch at the basement of Tiong Bahru Plaza, but there’s now a new bakery that has my attention. This part bakery, part café has a steady flow of loyal Singaporean and expatriate customers who crave for freshly baked bread and pastries that are very copacetic to the palate.

Located at the beginning of Killiney Road, opposite the towering SingTel building, the ovens of Freshly Baked by Le Bijoux are operated by owner-chef-baker Audrey Tan whose culinary skills were honed to perfection at the Culinary Institute of America several years back after which she put them to the test as pastry chef at The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles. Upon returning to Singapore, she donned the toque for various restaurants, keeping their dessert menus something to die for. The dream of becoming literally the head baker remained at the back of her head and beckoned incessantly. Soon enough, Audrey’s very own Freshly Baked by Le Bijoux was running tight shifts for the throng of locals and expatriates armed with a sweet tooth.

The bakery-café has a quaint simple set-up. Loaves of cake – carrot, banana, pandan and butter – wave at the passers-by, which are stationed across the cashier and the glass display counter stocked with pineapple upside down cake, macaroons, Black Forest cake, apple crumble and mixed berries crumble tarts, crunchy salted caramel chocolate mousse and coconut cake with lemon curd. The area is commandeered by a chirpy staff whose ebullient disposition never fails to attract bystanders and curious onlookers to find purchase at the entrance and venture further in. Walking past the display counter on the left and the long table of cake loaves, raisin bread, chocolate custard buns, chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies on the right, one comes to tables for two or four diners and the open-kitchen at the end where, if you’re fortunate, you can espy Crocs-wearing Audrey and crew slowly get shrouded in flour dust.

Its menu is highlighted by gourmet sandwiches of which finds me always stuck deciding whether to order the Cajun Chicken with lettuce and fresh tomato flanked by ciabatta or the Smoked Salmon with cream cheese, onion, tomato confit and lettuce sandwiched between paprika tomato bread. A friend swears by the Veggie Supreme, a lip-smacking healthy serving of cheese avocado spread with lettuce, fresh tomato and cucumber in multi-cereal bread. Other delectable choices are Spicy Tuna in olive foccacia, Deli Pork Mushroom Sausage in baguette and Deli Corned beef & Egg in ciabatta.

An interesting page in the menu is the Brunch Sets for those lazy weekday-weekend mornings when waking up early is sacrilegious while waking up later than usual is handsomely rewarded by a delicious meal. Fans of brunches have two options: Set A is a smorgasbord of scrambled eggs,  two pieces of toast and a choice of bacon, ham or pork mushroom sausage while Set B is a burger bag topped with fried eggs and deli corned beef, and served by a side of baked beans. Cappuccino or tea or organic fruit juice? It’s your choice.

Resisting dessert is futile soon after the main course is done specially with the wide array of sweet stuff shimmying right under one’s nose. One can go, say, for a slice of sugee or brown cake with chocolate icing or pandan keh lapis.  I went for, this time, a slice of marble cake and something I’ve never tried before – the creamy Boston custard cup cake. My sweet tooth just needed a little bit more to completely satisfy it so I decided to bag a pack of chocolate custard buns to round up a filling repast with a truly sweet ending.

Freshly Baked by Le Bijoux

57 Killiney Road #01-01 Singapore 239520

Tel: +65 6735 3298



Hours: Monday – Friday 8am to 8pm

             Saturday            8am to 6pm

             Sunday               8am to 2:30pm

Price:  Sandwiches start from S$6.90 and up

            Brunch Sets start from S$8.90

            Sweet stuff start from S$2.50