Baker & Cook, Opera Estate

This is only the second time I have visited Baker & Cook. I don’t recall how I came to know about this bakery, but then I had wanted to check them out and back then I only knew about the one at Hillcrest Road. I was meeting a friend for brunch and since we had a ride, I mooted this place for coffee and some breads! Obviously, I was the only one who was keen to indulge in the breads but anyway they serve up a pretty good brew too!

So that was sometime back, maybe a couple of years or even longer. My memory has grown hazy, along with the haze that is shrouding our little city state currently. Bad analogy. But well, I was visiting my friends at their new crib in the Eastern part of Singapore, and after lunch at Bedok Mall, or whatever it is, the mall connected to Bedok MRT station, I wanted to grab my caffeine fix and they suggested this bakery where they thought I’d love, rather than our original plan of Starbucks.

It was only when they drove me there that I knew it’s Baker & Cook and I was delighted! Well even though I already had lunch and was not likely to be ordering any breads, which is what I so love, it was tea-time and so I prodded my friends to order some sweets to share! I probably had the lion’s share of it but oh well, at least I didn’t clean off everything solely. Haha.

So, we ordered a something-tart and a slice of Lemon Drizzle cake. The tart was quite nicely done as I remembered it, while the cake was a little of a disappointment because I found it to be a tad too sweet and moist. It wasn’t that I like dry cakes, definitely not, but this was a bit too dense and wet, like it hadn’t been baked enough? Or maybe that was how it was meant to be but I just have differing preferences.

When I posted it on Instagram with my rant though, someone commented that at least it looked pretty enough to be Instagrammable. Heh.

A closer look at the tart, which should be either peach or apricot with almonds? That’s what it looks to me. It was just a few weeks ago but it has totally eluded my memory.

Anyway the coffee (that came with a small cube of awesome brownie) did make up for that, and the company that afternoon was also great, catching up for a few hours after what felt like forever since we actually met!  
As I tried to name the 2 sweets that we ordered, I was checking out their website and menu and I just feel like trying so many things on it! Obviously, the breads would be the main item drawing me to them, seeing as to how I am such a big lover and fan of breads, but their locations tend to be a bit forbidding for me, except for perhaps the outlet at Intercontinental Hotel. Then again, I don’t think that would be as nice as their other locations at Hillcrest and Swan Lake.

Baker & Cook, Singapore

This is definitely not a new place that I am checking out, but on a whim, and of course with the benefit of wheels, I thought it would be an excellent idea to go some place that on my own, I wouldn’t venture to. There have been many new cafes, bakeries and perhaps even restaurants that have sprouted in our sunny little island, and the trend these days is not to be located in your run-of-the-mill shopping malls. To me, that basically means far-flung locales that are beyond my reach because to have to take a cab, or swap that for several transits through the use of MRT and/or buses, I must be in an extreme exploratory mood, plus the weather element is vital.

I probably read about this place from my friend’s blog, or maybe some other blogs that I follow, but it being a bakery drew me in even more than the usual cafes. The only problem with checking out bakeries is always the difficult choice of what I should order. Breads are generally sold in loaves at such places, so I usually go for pastries because sandwiches for breakfast are a bit of an overkill for me.

My friend and I dropped in to this place one early weekend morning, and the bakery was already brimming with early risers. Besides patrons who were having their breakfast and morning coffee in and outside of the bakery, there were many people who drove/walked (those rich folks living in the estate) to buy breads/pastries in large quantities. Sigh, if I lived in the area I would too, since bread can be freezed to extend their shelf life but distance means a bigger deal to me.  

While queueing to place my orders, here is a shot of the display of the cakes as well as the pastries that lined the top of the case. Everything looked so wonderful to me I felt like I was in flour heaven, ok maybe I feel like that all the time whenever I enter a bakery, much like how I also felt in Sunflour in Shanghai recently, and this was the time when I wished I had an appetite and stomach capacity that could contain more of the delectable treats (without the accompanying calories of course!).  20130402-091538.jpg

The inside did not contain much seating; there was a large rectangular table where you could share with others, or sit on the high chairs and counter top that lined one side of the bakery. Outside, there are more tables and chairs, where we picked a small table in front since at that time, the sun wasn’t shining on that part yet. The side took in more sunshine in the morning. I took this picture just to show how a tin can is being recycled as a serviette-holder. I know these days, many of these cafes do that, probably as a way to re-use materials and at the same time cutting costs on furnishings, which also adds some flavour to the overall decoration of the place, giving it a more personal and less commercialised touch?20130402-091555.jpgAfter you’ve placed your order inside, you get a small numbered card with which your beverages will be served, and probably hot food that requires preparation time. The coffees come with a small square of brownie that is not too sweet or bitter, so I guess this would be a good way to ‘sweeten’ your coffee if you choose not to add any sugar. Coffee served in Baker & Cook is New Zealand’s Allpress Espresso, and as much as I am no expert where coffees are concerned, I liked that there is no sour after-taste or overwhelming bitterness in my long black.20130402-091623.jpg

And here is the food! If you were expecting some big, hearty brunch with the full works of scrambled eggs, sausages and bacon, sorry to disappoint you. It turned out that I was the only one here for food because my friend felt that the latte sufficed as breakfast (duh). To make my trip here worthwhile, I decided to indulge and ordered a sweet scone and cross bun. Apparently their cross buns are really popular, because many people who came here, besides the bread loaves, also bought such buns in large quantities! We were guessing that they most likely served these at meal times as appetizers, much like the bread baskets we see in restaurants. 20130402-091638.jpg

I don’t know if you would be able to request for butter or jam or the likes to spread on the scone, or if they even have such options in the first place, but it tasted good on its own. It has this sweetness to it (that’s why the name) so there wasn’t a need for any spread. As for the cross bun, it contained raisins and had a slight cinnamon taste to it, but I didn’t think too much of it. Somehow with the raisins and cinnamon, it still felt a little bland.

So that kind of concluded my adventure to Baker & Cook, and I really wished I could try more things, the breads, pastries, quiches (I read somewhere they are supposed to be really good), cakes, and of course the other hot breakfast served! Anyone wants to volunteer to bring me there more often? Or perhaps I should check out their second outlet at Martin Road, more accessible as compared to Hillcrest Road but I think the true beauty and appeal lies in its original location, nestled within a residential estate (a very expensive one at that) where residents can just pop by for a morning cuppa.