After the first visit to the outlet at Eng Hoon Street where I actually queued to get in, for more than 30 minutes no less I think, I was luckier when I visited their second outlet in the basement of Raffles City shopping centre, the space that previously housed Aerin’s. Gone was the quiet of what used to be there, because with this new bakery opened in that part of the basement, its crowd and queues can probably rival Ding Tai Fung nearby, although turnover would be much faster so the people don’t need to linger/wait too long outside. At least that was what I would expect since I didn’t have to wait for a seat. When I got there, I joined a queue where someone asked us if we needed a table and for how many, and we were given a table number as we moved along the queue that formed in front of the display counters/cases. It is the same queue, regardless of whether you are choosing to takeaway or dine-in, but it’s really a quick way to move the people along I suppose.
It was a weekday lunch, but we were significantly later than the usual lunch crowd since it was already past 1pm, and most people were either already eating or preparing to leave, or the rest were just there to pack. The cafe was still crowded, but the point was that we didn’t spend time waiting. This time, I couldn’t resist my love for bread once more, and ordered two pastry items instead of their sandwiches.
I don’t remember the name of this bread, but it’s just a simple bun with chocolate chips and it costs S$2.50, or was it S$2. I think I am really like what my friend once said, that I am really “cheap” when it comes to eating because I love eating all the cheap stuff and I do not know to appreciate fine cuisine. I wonder if that was meant to be a compliment or an insult, but I’ll admit as much that I am not that fond of certain foods, and those happen to be in the category of expensive food. As plain as this chocolate bun was, I really liked it; it’s like eating a plain piece of baked item is the best way to know how good the bakery’s bread is. Ya right, you’d think, like I’d know any better. Haha. And ok, I am no baker, but that’s how I would describe how much I enjoyed this.
Remember in my previous post I mentioned that we ordered a Pear Almond Tart that was so disappointing because we found it too sweet? Well, I wanted to give the tarts a second chance and I thought the bun wouldn’t be enough to count as lunch, so I opted for the Lemon Tart.
And I was disappointed once more. I think I should have known from how it looked already but I went against my gut instinct and ordered it anyway. The tart crust was really hard so that I had to saw through it with a knife and even then I had to use a lot of effort. The lemon strips that decorated the top of the tart were rather hard too and a little difficult to bite and chew, and the lemon curd on the inside was of a thick paste texture, which reminded me of moon cake, and it tasted somewhat sweet to me. I always imagined lemon tarts to have a sour tinge to it and I am more fond of sour stuff than things that are overtly sweet. I do have a sweet tooth on some occasions but after I thought about some of the things I enjoy eating, I think I like a fair bit of sour stuff too. I ate less than a quarter of the tart, and my friend with me tried some too and took just a bite, so I guess that sort of sums up how the tart must have been.
My friend ordered a ham sandwich, which unfortunately I do not have a picture of. He thought it was just ok, a sufficient portion for lunch especially coupled with a coffee, even though it looked initially to be too little. He commented though that it would have been better if the sandwich had been heated to melt the cheese inside. Perhaps the tart would have tasted better too if it was heated, I don’t know. And for S$6, I think I would have been happier to have 2 of the plain chocolate buns.
The floor area at the Raffles City outlet is pretty big, so it can seat quite a number of people. But I guess for commercial reasons, also similar to the Eng Hoon Street outlet, tables are arranged uncomfortably close to each other so it makes getting to your seat (on the inside against a wall) difficult because you have to kind of slide yourself in, where most of the times your posterior will be skimming dangerously close to someone else’s table top. And perhaps we were seated at a ‘bad’ table, because we were directly beneath a speaker that was airing some really annoying music that was also too loud, so above the chatter of the lunch crowd, we had to contend with the music that had a very repetitive beat to it. I know that eateries play a certain kind of music to influence the pace of eating of patrons, but then again, this was really annoying and whether or not it made me eat faster I don’t know, but it did annoy me so much that I just wanted to get out of there quickly, so maybe it served its purpose well.
Finally, one of the reasons for having lunch there was because of the famed 40 Hands coffee that we had tried at 40 Hands are really loved. I tried the coffee at Tiong Bahru Bakery in Tiong Bahru and thought it was very good too. But on this unfortunate occasion, both me and my friend agreed that it tasted diluted and didn’t have that quality that had us recommending 40 Hands to the rest of our colleagues.
My my… it does seem that I wasn’t too happy on this visit. I won’t write them off, but maybe I just caught them at a bad time. Tiong Bahru Bakery still churns out good bread and I believe in their coffee too. For convenience sake, I will still head to the Raffles City outlet, but if their coffee doesn’t improve, then maybe I will have to reconsider this decision.