Baker’s Bench Bakery, Outram: Sourdough-based Breads and Pastries

Baker’s Bench Bakery at Bukit Pasoh Road serves breads and pastries, baked fresh daily, using sourdough starter. They also serve hot food (mostly sandwiches) from 11.30am to 3.30pm. But since you’re most likely to get a seat between 10am and 11.30am, and we arrived at 10.45a.m., we did not get the sandwiches.

The setup is pretty awesome: clean lines, wood, concrete floor, and Scandinavian blue walls.  They display their plethora of baked goods at the counter, in rows and stacks, enticing you to want to order everything. There are cherry chocolate cake ($5), cranberry fig scone ($4), twice-baked hazelnut croissant ($5.50), banana bread ($5), lemon pound cake ($5), etc.

Pita Pocket ($10)

The sourdough pita pocket ($10) is lined with a very thick layer of hummus, and stuffed with halloumi, zucchini, tomatoes, and fermented honey. The nicely toasted pita, crisp, goes well with the mashed chickpeas.

But somehow, you will find something missing in this vegetarian Arabic-inspired sandwich—meat, it’s meat that is missing, maybe bacon. A good vegetarian dish would allow a carnivore forget that they are eating vegetarian food. Although it lacks a robustness, it’s a perfectly able sandwich.

Savoury Scroll

Since this was breakfast, I wanted to get something savoury but the savoury scroll ($5) decidedly isn’t it. It’s sweet. The flaky texture, the cochleate, and the taste remind me of a reduced-sugar kouign amann. It’s laced with onion jam, which is sweet, and has bits of mushroom. Although it is topped with shavings of cheese, the cheese doesn’t provide any savouriness.

It’s an absolutely competent and delicious pastry, but the misnomer has set my expectations for it being savoury.

Sticky bun

The sticky bun ($5) is so visually gorgeous that it is hard to resist ordering it. But it is so sweet that I couldn’t take more than 2 bites and my partner had to finish it by himself. There is too much bread that the syrup could not reach it all. Constructive suggestion: a lot less sugar and more syrup.

Apple pie

Their apple pie ($5) is dull uniform brown, looking very rustic. The granny smith apples are diced in larger cubes that usual but it retains its structure and taste well, a slight sourish. I think they top it with oats and crumbles. The crust, although a tad thick, demonstrates how well they master the technique: it breaks cleanly without much crumbling. It’s okay.

I also bought a loaf of sourdough bread ($8, pictured below) home. (Ask them to slice it for you.) Just put it in a toaster / toaster oven or toast it on a hot pan before eating.

Sourdough bread

The sourdough bread is, I think, the best thing from the bakery. It’s holey enough to give a light texture but not too holey to cause tunnelling. The sourness is not overwhelming and the crust is hard but not diamond-tough. All good traits for a sourdough.

Perhaps it’s because the rustic apple pie was the last thing we ate at the cafe that I opine that the baked goods here have a homely touch, as if a home baker baked them. This is neither positive nor negative. It’s a matter of your preference: if you like homemade baked goods, then it’s your thing, but if you prefer something sophisticated and professional, then this isn’t for you.

We paid $43 for two persons including two cups of latte (smooth and easy like Sunday jazz) and a loaf of sourdough bread that I brought home.

Baker’s Bench Bakery
6 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089820
W – Sat 8.30am – 5pm, Sun 8.30am – 4pm

Food: 6.75/10
Price/value: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Decor/ambience: 7.25/10

You may be interested in…
Nassim Hill Bakery, Orchard: SCORE! Brunch for only $16/pax
Clinton Street Baking Company, Purvis Street: Popular All-Day Breakfast from NYC Fails to Shine
Food Artisans in Singapore Who Make Us Nuts
Thus Coffee, Upper Thomson: Renews My Faith in Cafes

Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.

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