Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Singapore Food Blog - Bakerzin @ Orchard Paragon

Location: Orchard, Central Business District (CBD), Singapore

Updated 29-Nov-2015: This outlet in Orchard Paragon is permanently closed. Outlets of Bakerzin can still be located in other locations through here: outlet locations.

Note: This post is written base on the dining experience in Orchard Paragon branch. Experience may vary from that of other outlets.

Every once in a while I would walk past a Bakerzin cafe, its colorful confectioneries attracting my interest now and then but rarely did I stop for a break there. That was until once when I spied this one in Orchard Paragon and thought that I could get a break there, what with the cafes overflowing nearly everywhere on a busy weekend packed full of shoppers.

My impression of Bakerzin as a confectionery store and coffee serving cafe was challenged when I flipped through their menu and saw that they offered several main dishes as well. They served drinks, both caffeine laced and caffeine free, delivering enough to suit diners with different taste.

Bakerzin's menu is like a recipe book. Each section of the menu start off with an introduction of some ingredient highlights , some of which pointed to their nutritious values in the dishes in subsequent pages.

The store's seated area encompassed its front aisle area so seating capacity is rarely exceeded.

I haven't tried too many of their other beverages, but their Tiramisu Cafecinno (SGD5.90) has caught my heart with its wafting fragrance, creamy smooth texture and sweet buttery taste, earning a few thumbs up from me. Tea lovers could cherish their moment in the cafe with TWG tea choices, a brand known to aficionados and clueless alike.

I have fond memories of my first love with Tiramisu Cafécinno (SGD5.90), where a curious endeavour turned out to be a concoction very much attuned to my taste buds. The buttery cup of coffee challenged my usual notion that such a description could not really exist, and the fragrant wafting towards me imprinted a vivid memory. The fragrance was so good on the senses that even the waitress herself found it enticing. A sweet taste and creamy smooth texture left me in cloud nine, and I took long moments to savour it. It was rather unfortunate that in subsequent visits the sensation was not as pronounced as the first cup. Maybe my tongue is starting to get used to it.

Ginger Cafécinno (SGD5.90) is a challenge for the taste buds and should be reserved for the adventurous. The cup of coffee infused with the taste of ginger felt weird to be coupled that way, but it definitely is an acquired taste with the spicy after taste lingering in your palate.

Silver Moon (SGD6.90) is one of a few TWG teas offered by Bakerzin. The clear pot of silvery brew offers a fresh and distinguished taste, easier on the mouth than the gingery cup.

A blistering hot evening calls for a chilling Ice Mango Tea (SGD5.90). The soothing cool tea will get you through the day under the sun. Its mango flavor is subtle to the point of barely discernible so if you are a sweet seeker, take heed that it will not provide the sugar you want.

But of course, I did mention about their main dishes right? Some took a break from shopping by sipping from a tantalizing cup of beverage, and some others chose to dig in after a weary day of walking. For the latter the list of choices may not be long, but the servings would surely be surprising. I know I was.

Bakerzin does not hold back in their serving portion, which makes the price on the menu seemed reasonable. Take Mum's Curry Chicken for example, which at SGD16.50 sounded ridiculously pricey for a such a simple dish, but the servings was enough to feed two adults if they were not ravenous. Top that with a taste reminding us of Malaysian curry, the price didn't sound that bad.

Chunky Chicken Chowder (SGD6.90) is a creamy dish of goodness. Generous chunks of chicken laid submerged in a dish full of carrots and celery, lending every scoop a sweet taste and smooth creamy texture.

Mum's Curry Chicken (SGD16.50), served with a side of rice or ciabatta, has a surprisingly large portion. Our initial doubt of its exorbitant value for a supposedly bland and simple dish vanished upon first sight and first bite. The large bowl has so much meat in it that we finished it with a satisfyingly stuffed tummy, its serving so generous that it could be served for two. For a Malaysian, the thick curry is good enough, not too spicy that you would rush for water yet hitting you with enough punch to give a thumb's up, an acknowledgement for it being appropriately named 'Mum's'.

Beef Marsala (SGD19.90) - you have seen the picture right, this is heaven for sirloin steak and mushroom lovers. A heavy side of beef cooked in subtly sweet marsala sauce would curb those cravings for meat. Those green beans, cherry tomatoes and mashed potatoes provide a balanced diet so that you are not overwhelmed by the heavy dish.

Bakerzin sure lives up to its namesake by providing desserts to curb any cravings for sweet temptations. It gave me my very first experience with a Chocolate Souffle (SGD11.50) and Sweet Corn Panna Cotta (SGD10.50), and I loved these fluffy desserts. Other confectioneries listed in the menu tempted diners with vivid colors, making you wish you could just order them all, health be damned.

Chocolate Soufflé (SGD11.50) is my first experience with a dessert of that name. This French dessert is made with egg yolk and beaten egg white, then baked to create the puffed up effect. The puffiness will remain only for another few minutes after exiting the oven.

This dessert is served in contradictory terms - the soufflé served in a ramekin is slightly hot while a scoop of vanilla ice cream took the lower spectrum of the thermometer. I guess you could dump the scoop into the soufflé to mix vanilla with chocolate, but I chose to pick a scoop of the warm puffy dessert and add the vanilla ice cream onto it. 

Another contender for my favorite dessert is Sweet Corn Panna Cotta (SGD10.50). The Italian pudding is the outcome of thick cream, egg white and honey blended and then baked, resulting in a spongy texture that is solid enough to stand on its own yet parts on a slice. With generous amounts of yellow in the dish, Bakerzin's version was served on top of a lemon madeleine sponge base with caramel sauce used sparingly to decorate and sweeten at the same time. Slice off piece of panna cotta and lemon sponge, then sweep them through caramel and scoop into your mouth to get the soft creamy sensation infused with the taste of corn and lemon. Popcorns, toasted walnuts and freeze dried corns add to the flavor and deco but could never compete with the protagonist of the dish.

I have yet to dislike any of Bakerzin's offer and though there is still a lot which I haven't tried, I believe they would get my taste bud's approval. The price is on the high side, but still reasonable for its serving size and contents. Ambiance in Orchard Paragon's branch is nice but with limited available floor space, it could get crowded at times though not claustrophobic. Of course, waiters and waitresses who served with a smile are points to them as well although sometimes getting their attention takes some effort.

So if anyone is getting tired of queuing for spots or tight spaces in cafes, or just wanted to get that sweet tooth cravings curbed, Orchard Paragon's Bakerzin could be the place to visit.

Environment:         A cafe situated in a busy mall
Suitable for:            for family or friends, or just for usual dining
Food score:
Food:        5.0/5.0
Service:    4.0/5.0
Value:       4.0/5.0
Ambient:  3.0/5.0

Operating hours:   (Sun-Thu, PH)          10.30 a.m. - 10.00 p.m.
                                       (Fri, Sat, Eve of PH) 10.30 a.m. - 10.30 p.m.
Directions:                Disembark at Orchard MRT and walk towards either TANGS or Ngee Ann City. Orchard Paragon is opposite of the latter, and in the same row as the former. The cafe is located on L2, which is 1 floor above the entrance level.

Website:                    Official homepage of Bakerzin and Menu page
Contact:                    +65 - 6333 6647 (phone) (Orchard Paragon branch)
E-mail:                        -
Address:                    290 Orchard Road, #02-09 Paragon, Singapore 238859.

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