BAKED GOODS A HIT
After lessons at New York’s International Culinary Center, Naadhira Ismail would stroll previous the college’s bakery, inhaling the scent of sourdough loaves that college students turned out. They may assist themselves to the products too, and the pastry scholar grew to become enchanted with bread.
After finishing her course on the centre, previously often known as the French Culinary Institute, she labored for French bakery chain Maison Kayser and, later, Runner & Stone, a bakery in Brooklyn, earlier than coming home.
Two months in the past, she opened Mother Dough Bakery in North Bridge Road, naming it after the sourdough starter used to make good bread.
Her loaves, together with a Baby Baguette ($2), are crusty and craggy, and have the tang of excellent sourdough. Toasted and unfold lavishly with salted butter and drizzled with honey, the baguettes make for compulsive consuming.
But the 32-year-old began as a pastry scholar in spite of everything and her almond croissant ($four) is smashing. Many bakeries make them with unsold croissants, however at Mother Dough, they disappear so rapidly that she makes croissants only for this deal with.
Bite into one among these beauties, studded with sliced almonds, and there’s crisp lightness after which not-too-sweet cream flecked with brown from almond pores and skin. Cue waves of delight.
The croissants are extra compelling than the plain ones ($three) or these full of chocolate and almonds ($four.40); turkey ham and cheese ($four); cheese ($three.40); and beef pepperoni and cheese ($three.80).
Her wares promote out quick, but when Lemon Cake ($four a slice) is obtainable, pounce. The pound cake has a velvety crumb and isn’t too dense. It has a vivid lemon flavour and I do not even thoughts the drizzle of icing on high. It seems lethally candy, however just isn’t.
The Banana Walnut and Chocolate Espresso muffins ($four a slice) have excellent texture, however the bananas must be extra ripe and I would love a stronger espresso flavour.
Mostly, I’m proud of my almond croissant or lemon cake and a chilly brew tea ($6) and I at all times go away with a Baby Baguette (or three) for after I want a bread repair.
And to assume, earlier than culinary faculty, Ms Naadhira “baked for fun”. After a decade organising style occasions in Singapore, she took the plunge and went to New York.
“I had a good feeling about it,” she says.
WHERE: Mother Dough Bakery, 01-01, 749 North Bridge Road MRT: Bugis OPEN: Noon to 7pm (Tuesdays to Saturdays), 11am to 5pm (Sundays), closed on Mondays TEL: 6909-6604 INFO: www.motherdough.com.sg
PRODIGAL GETS NEW HOME
For a number of blissful weeks, I haunted Prodigal Roasters in Ang Mo Kio, glad to have glorious espresso close to work and home.
One Sunday, I popped in for a cappuccino and found that it was the final day of operations.
Fortunately, I can nonetheless get my repair – I simply have to go to MacPherson. There, in a maze of Housing Board blocks, Prodigal has a bigger, brighter cafe which opened in February. On the menu are its glorious cookies, muffins and different bakes, and extra substantial meals choices.
Coffee, nonetheless, is a should. If beans from Thailand and Myanmar can be found, even higher.
The Thai beans, from Chiang Rai, are stuffed with energy, waking me up instantly. The brew jogs my memory of native kopi, which powers so a lot of our mornings.
The Myanmar beans make a clean, barely herby and candy cappuccino ($5). Both are satisfying in their very own method.
The cafe additionally sells chilly espresso in bottles. I like the Magic ($6.50 for 250ml), two ristretto pictures with milk. I am working up the braveness to go for the three-shot Tragic ($7 for 330ml) and hope I’ll by no means want the four-shot Logic ($7.50 for 340ml).
Owner Glen Ho, 31, acquired into espresso after a pal pulled him a shot at home. He began making his personal utilizing a 10-year-old espresso machine after which purchased a popcorn popper to roast his personal inexperienced espresso beans. It broke down and that led to his getting a correct roaster, and ultimately opening a restaurant.
As a lot as I want espresso, I additionally want meals. If it’s accessible, the Bak Kwa & Cranberry Scone ($three.50) is a should. Warm, buttery and tender, want I say extra?
The Miso Cheese Tart ($6), drizzled with miso caramel, has an outstanding crust and I would love extra of that caramel. Mr Ho ought to bottle it. Ground espresso goes into the Brownie ($5), deepening its chocolate flavour.
For one thing extra substantial, order Mushroom Egg Toast ($15, above). Thick-cut sandwich bread, flippantly toasted, comes from a heritage bakery in Whampoa. The softly scrambled eggs and grilled portobello topped with cheddar go down simply, however what I like most on that plate is the smear of crimson bell pepper hummus.
I do not even thoughts going out of my method for it.
WHERE: Prodigal Cafe, 01-55, Block 81 MacPherson Lane MRT: Tai Seng OPEN: 10am to 6pm (Thursdays to Tuesdays), closed on Wednesdays TEL: 9450-0484 INFO: www.prodigalroasters.com
It takes braveness to serve unpretty meals lately, when model so typically trumps substance and appears trump style.
The Salted Plum in Circular Road has that braveness. The restaurant, which grew out of a pop-up in South Bridge Road referred to as Five Ten, serves Taiwanese-inspired small plates, which value $5 or $10 for probably the most half.
At lunch, the restaurant serves $10 lunch bowls for the workplace crowd, however the dinner menu is way extra fascinating.
Bamboo Shoots ($5) braised in pork broth tastes clear and I can not get sufficient of the juicy shoots. Also good are the crackly-skinned Smashed Baby Potatoes ($5) sprinkled with plum powder, a decidedly bizarre mixture which works.
From the $10 a part of the menu, I order two pork dishes, which don’t stand as much as scrutiny. Pork Chop is described on the menu as “juicy af”. It just isn’t. The pork is sliced too skinny so the meat dries out. Haus Bacon is equally lacklustre. It comes with out the promised uncooked garlic, however I doubt even that might have made it higher.
There are, nonetheless, dishes to love. Oyster Steamed Egg ($10) is delicate and wobbly, the flavour of the homespun dish amped up with dashi and fats little oysters. Braised Pig Intestines ($10), smooth from lengthy cooking in a wealthy soy braising sauce, has no hint of funk. Spoon the gravy over Shiny Rice (50 cents), slicked with lard and garlic oil. The kicky chilli sauce is ideal with the offal too.
Brussels Sprouts ($10), candy from extreme charring and piled unceremoniously on a plate with shiitake mushroom slices and salted pork, is supremely ugly, however infinitely scrumptious.
WHERE: The Salted Plum, 10 Circular Road MRT: Raffles Place OPEN: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6 to 9.30pm (Mondays to Fridays), 11pm to 2.30am (Fridays), 6 to 9.30pm, 11pm to 2.30am (Saturdays), closed on Sundays TEL: 6260-0155 INFO: www.fb.com/TheSaltedPlumSG
ROBUST BAK KUT TEH
Back when The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao ran the annual Hawker Masters programme, we had been shocked one 12 months once we couldn’t discover a worthy grasp for bak kut teh.
The finalists for that class had been underwhelming; turning out skinny broth with no meat flavour, broth that tasted overwhelmingly of pepper and pork ribs that had been too dry.
If Tuan Yuan Pork Ribs Soup had been open then, it will have received. It serves bak kut teh Singapore will be happy with.
The broth is simmered 3 times in several vats, every time turning into heartier but remaining clear. You can get it with out pepper, with pepper or with additional pepper. The common quantity of pepper is good – it will not blow your head off, however the broth continues to be a lot fragrant and sturdy.
An everyday bowl prices $eight, however I pay $1 extra for Spare Ribs Soup as a result of I like these juicy, fatty pork ribs. Customers can go for lean ribs too.
Youtiao ($2), or deep-fried crullers, are completely crisp and never oil-logged and so they take in the broth very effectively. I discover the Salted Vegetable ($three), Braised Peanuts ($three) and Pork Stomach Soup ($eight) fairly forgettable, and the Pork Cartilage Soup ($eight) was too salty after I final had it.
But I might make room for Pork Ball Soup ($6), stuffed with umami from dried sole fish labored into the meat.
The greatest a part of the meal, nonetheless, is lifting the lid on a bowl of bak kut teh and inhaling the aroma of the broth. Then I flip the lid over, to make use of as a plate for bones, and demolish the bowl.
WHERE: Tuan Yuan Pork Ribs Soup, 01-01, Block 127 Kim Tian Road MRT: Tiong Bahru OPEN: 11am to 1am (Tuesdays to Sundays), closed on Mondays TEL: 6684-0123 INFO: www.tuanyuan.sg