Does anything beat the smell of a promising breakfast first thing in the morning? It’s hard to say. While every part of the world has their take on the daily fast-breaker, there’s something universally enjoyable about a simple French breakfast—think buttery croissant or warm baguette, a hot cup of coffee or tea, and maybe some juice if you’re up for it. Alas, not all of us have the pleasure of living next to a viennoiserie repository in Paris where we could easily snap up a pain au chocolat or two at any given time, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a plethora of other options that come very close.
The people of Singapore can consider themselves lucky in this regard as they’re guaranteed a steady supply of quality-made French baked goods within some of the city’s most celebrated neighborhoods thanks to the presence of Tiong Bahru Bakery. Part of the larger Spa Esprit Group that manages the likes of Common Man Coffee Roasters, Forty Hands, and The Butcher’s Wife, customers are always in for a treat when they step into Tiong Bahru Bakery.
One could opt to go to a couple different TBB outlets—there’s the original, of course, the safari-themed one in Dempsey, and the ones spread throughout the city, but I chose to go to the one in charming Holland Village. The newest addition to the group, this branch sits prettily amongst the other boutiques that line Chip Bee Gardens. The shop is equal parts chic and warm with unapologetic splashes of color courtesy of the mural that runs along the space. The first thing that catches the eye, however, is undoubtedly the scrumptious display of pastries, cakes, and sandwiches that greets customers at the door—this is a French bakery, after all. After placing your order, you may proceed to sashay to the condiments table by the entrance to stock up on butter and a colorful variety of jams.
Feeling particularly adventurous, I went for a green tea croissant and the TBB teh tarik, a slightly foamier version of the classic. I would like to say breakfast lasted longer than it did, but it didn’t. It’s safe to say that the pastry did not disappoint, although that was to be expected from a bakery helmed by pastry chef Gontran Cherrier. The teh tarik was the cherry on top.
I later learned that their most popular item is the deceivingly modest-looking Breton cake, the kouign-amann. I suppose I now have one more reason to make my way back.