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