With so many foreign dough-punchers setting up shop in our tiny island, bakery aficionados now have access to some of the best bakeries in the world. Having said that, being best from all over the country, some of the international bakeries in Singapore which I visited on repeated occasions, I found that their bakes actually fall short in taste, texture and quality consistency after a short period of time. Do you get the same experience like mine?
I appreciate being given the opportunity to sample some baked goods from this gleaming bakery in Crown Centre (557 Bukit Timah Road) that is going to be something special. Don’t be fooled by the atmosphere and the boutique name that Crown Bakery & Cafe is just another French patisserie. It is the concept of the bakery which draws its inspiration from the rustic The Queen’s Hamlet and the pre-eminent Petit Trianon in Chateau de Versailles in France.
Crown Bakery & Cafe is locally owned by Singapore’s horticulture giant, Far East Flora Holdings Pte Ltd and this is their first venture into the food & beverage business and collaboration with Japan’s top notch artisanal bakery, Significant Signifíe. Heading the team in the baking kitchen is Taiwanese head baker Mr Kevin Chang, a veteran in the baking industry with over 17 years of experience in Singapore, United States and Taiwan, including stints at Westin Taipei, Maison Kayser in Taipei and Iris Bakery in New York.
Kevin is well-versed in a wide variety of European bread, French pastries and viennoiseries and has inherited refined baking skills under the mentorship of renowned master baker Katsuei Shiga in Japan. Putting their hands on the pulse of operations is Mr Raymond Cheok, Managing Director of Crown Bakery and his warm and friendly team, where they are driven with dedication to serve the local community by providing consistently good loaves, wholesome bakes and hearty food using the best ingredients pursued all over the world, including the finest French mill wheat flour, Hokkaido Kitanokaori flour, German sourdough, French butter and direct-from-farm honey.
Crown Bakery & Cafe currently offers a wide selection of baked variables (about 45 types of bread, viennoiseries and snacks) to consider, while new dine-in additions such as all-day breakfast, light bites, salads, desserts and hot offerings will be introduced in the near future as the kitchen operations and menu offerings get its full swing.
During its opening day on the 29th April 2015, Crown Bakery & Cafe will also introduce and serve 3 new all-day breakfast items such as the royalty spread of Crown Breakfast ($29), The Queens Egg Ben ($18) and the unearthly fragrant Earl Pear Bread Pudding ($12). The 27-Layer Croissant will be offered at only a dollar (U.P. $2.80) if you spend above $5 during their promotional opening period.
Combining Japanese’s baking techniques and European’s bread heritage, Crown Bakery aims to establish itself as one of Singapore’s top bakeries crafting bread so good that they are fit for royalty, and fit for customers who rile what Crown Bakery puts onto the shelves.
The bakery-cafe is decked in Crown’s signature blue, black and vintage-style gold, including the perfect looking trays and tongs, you can get a few to put everything on in case you go a little overboard.
Crown Bakery & Cafe creates delicious wholesome bread from sourdough starter or natural leaven with no artificial food flavouring, colouring preservatives, harmful additives and chemical improvers. About 60 per cent of their bakes require at least 12-hours of fermentation as the longer the time is, the better the enzymes do their priceless work.
A list of the Crown’s baked goods include sourdoughs, baguettes, wholemeal bread, ciabattas, ekmeks, sandwich loaves, bagels, brioches, croissants, danishes and more.
What’s featured on the tray in the picture above are some of many delightful viennoiseries like the New Zealand Cream Cheese Danish ($3.00), Macaron Croissant ($4.20), Shizuoka Matcha Brioche ($3.20) and the Mentaiko Mayo Garlic Crisp ($2.80).
Crown Bakery & Cafe has an extensive variety of individual bread and pastries, whatever you’ll in the mood for, you’ll find it here from danishes to the brioches. One look at the picture you’ll probably know what’s my favourite bake amongst the selection I tried. The Matcha Brioche ($3.20) is made with Japanese wheat flour, natural leaven, French butter, almond powder, almond flakes, eggs, sugar, sea salt and pure Matcha imported from the Shizuoka prefecture of Japan, that is known for producing the finest tea for many centuries.
The brioche also comes in Earl Grey Cashew ($3.00) and Almond Cream Butter ($3.20) choices that truly speaks to you.
You should never leave the bakery without trying the Crown’s Signatures, namely; Crown Bread ($12.80), Hainanese Chicken Bread ($4.50) and the Kaori Ciabatta ($4.00).
The sliced-up Hainanese Chicken Bread you see on the left of the picture is a clever innovation which seems to win many praises. This is Crown’s take on the local favourite chicken rice, made from chicken soup, skinless chicken thigh, garlic, ginger and shallots, best savoured when dipped in garlicky chicken rice chilli sauce.
The bread in the centre is the signature Crown Bread featuring four different flavours – Red Wine Fig, Cranberry & Cherry, Bacon Cheese & Mustard and Chocolate; shaped to mimic the laurel in Crown Bakery’s logo. The freshly baked crown bread is limited to 18 pieces daily and pre-order is available 2 days before collection date.
Last, but not the least, the Kaori Ciabatta bread on the right is the brainchild of Master Baker Katsuei Shiga, crafted entirely from Hokkaido Kitanokaori flour, French mineral water, sea salt and pure malt extract, achieving a light and crispy crust with a soft and mochi-like crumb.
Other than breads, pastries and snacks, Crown Bakery & Cafe also puts together a special menu for the breakfast and brunch lovers. As mentioned earlier, there will be 3 all-day breakfast items introduced on its opening day, featured in this picture is the Crown Breakfast ($29) comprising the Crown puff pastry centrepiece where you can break off a wedge and dip it in the yolk of the sunny side up for the buttery creamy goodness.
Savoury accompaniments include the red-wine braised oxtail, chicken sausage, Canadian back bacon, sautéed mushrooms, baked half-tomato and a side of mesclun with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette.
Though heavily focused on bread and viennoiseries, I was surprised to see waffle on the menu and Crown Bakery scored high in this department. The Crown’s Sourdough Buttermilk Waffle ($6 with maple syrup and butter / $9 with single scoop of ice cream and fresh fruits; $3 for additional scoop of ice cream) was crisp, feathery light and with a delightful mild tang which goes well with either maple syrup and butter, or with ice cream and fresh fruits.
Crown Bakery & Cafe totally got me excited with their baked goods, presentation and competitive pricing. I was stoked by the fact that they really put in a lot of effort in their produces including space renovation and labour. I have seen and visited so many new establishments rushing into setting up their store and opening without much preparation.
I am confident that Crown Bakery & Cafe will excel further and I would definitely make return trips in the near future.
Crown Bakery & Cafe