It seems bread, cakes and pastries are hot commodities these days – and there’s no better place than at these bakeries in the Kampong Gelam district, many of which are Muslim-owned.
From French-style pastries and kuih-inspired cakes to impossibly unique croissants, we show off some places worth making the trip for.
The Fabulous Baker Boy
If you’ve been to the original Fort Canning Hill outlet, you’ll be relieved to learn of The Fabulous Baker Boy’s new digs at Aliwal Arts Centre. Even better, it is now MUIS halal-certified too!
The fabulous baker boy himself, Chef Juwanda, found fame in his bakery-cafe’s cakes which ride on punchy flavours and are named after iconic people. The Hossan Leong (from S$11/slice), for instance, is presumably a decadent take on the local thespian’s favourite flavours; meantime, The Bette Midler (from S$10/slice) features earl grey sponge with a zesty lemon emulsion.
If you’d rather a sourdough bread, the Olive & Rosemary Boule (S$8.50) — is at once herbaceous yet moreish.
The French American Bakery
If European and American pastries are up your alley, you’ll likely appreciate the artisanal bakes at The French American Bakery that recently opened in Haji Lane.
Popular options include their torched-to-order Crème Brûlée, Cinnamon Buns, Chocolate Banana Walnut Loaf, Mixed Fruit Danish, Croissants and Pain Au Chocolat. Their bakes get sold out pretty fast and long queues are common since they opened, so come early.
Bana Bana Cafe
Bana Bana Cafe is another European-influenced cafe in the area, specialising in European-style comfort food like French toasts, pasta, sandwiches and wraps.
But if you’re on the hunt for light bites, pastries are churned fresh here — so head down for a taste of the bakery’s Croissants (S$3.30), Mini Apple Turnover (S$1.80), Mini Cinnamon Pinwheels (S$1.80) and Mini Croissants with Toppings (S$2.50) such as almonds, Nutella and Biscoff.
The White Label
This cafe along North Bridge Road offers French-Malay fusion cuisine in elegant Parisian chic environs. Adventurous foodies will appreciate the interplay of French and local flavours here, but the cafe’s pastry case will certainly draw you in with its array of sweet treats.
Take your pick from fusionised creations like the Ondeh Ondeh Gâteau (S$9), Noix De Coco Religieuse (S$9), Raspberry Cheese Beignet (S$6.50) and unique Croissants (S$6) in flavours like Chocolate Hazelnut, Seri Kaya and Peanut Butter & Jelly. Planning a date? The Parisian High Tea for Two features over 10 different savouries and sweets including “Kek Kukus” Bon Bon with Passionfruit Moelleux and “Ondeh Ondeh” Choux au Craqueline with Gula Melaka Lava. Mouthful names, yes…but we bet you’d be busy munching to even attempt pronouncing them right.
ASAP & Co.
Besides churning up hefty smoked meats daily, ASAP & Co. also has a dessert bar within its space on North Bridge Road where you can find some dainty desserts from Brulee.sg. These include the likes of Blackout Seasalt Brownies (S$6/slice), Lemon Meringue Tart (S$8/slice) and Burnt Cheesecake (S$8) in various flavours like Original, Cempedak, Durian and Thai Milk Tea.
But better yet is the Cempedak Creme Brulee (S$9.50) that has garnered many rave reviews from diners who’ve tried it.
Perhaps the longest standing bakery in this list, Fluff Bakery has been churning out pretty and delicious goodies in Jln Pisang since 2013. The menu changes here weekly, so that means there’s always something new to discover amongst the extensive selection of cupcakes, layered cakes, rustic cakes, tarts and other drool inducing desserts.
If you’re stuck on what to get, the 8-year-old bakery is famed for its cupcakes (S$4/each) in both classic and unique flavours like Nutella Red Velvet, Mango Pop Rocks, Neslo, Raspberry Ripple and more. Sliced cakes like Basque Burnt Cheesecake (S$8/slice) and Snickers Cheesecake (S$7.80/slice) are also available.
Mother Dough Bakery
“Mother Dough” refers to the sourdough starter that baker-owner Naadhira Ismail uses for the breads and pastries at this bakery on Jln Kledek. Naadhira started her bread education at The International Culinary Institute in NYC, and spent four years working in various bakeries in the Big Apple.
Quality is the name of the game here, so expect top notch goodies like croissants, brioches, baguettes, and quiches, alongside sweet offerings of Lemon Cake, Banana Walnut Cake, Dark Chocolate Cake, Fruit & Nut Cake, and more. Items get snapped up very quickly so it’s best to arrive just in time.
If you’ve not been to Konditori lately, you’ll notice that they’ve taken over the neighbouring unit where Lickety used to be. This is definitely a good move since Konditori sells out all their bakes fast, so an expansion is great news for us bread fans!
Get in line for Konditori’s range of European-style offerings: its best-selling Strawberry Cream Cheese Danish (S$5.90) is second to none, with smooth cream cheese filling. The Cinnamon Roll (S$4.90) is another hot favourite, although we often find ourselves going back to their flaky and buttery Croissants (S$6.30) with flavours like Black Forest, Red Velvet and Almond.
My weakness for croissants is bar none — and at Wonders Bakery, the traditionally flaky pastry comes in a variety of permutations from Raspberry Coconut (S$5.90), Ferrero (S$6.90), and even savoury ones like Garlic Butter Cream Cheese (S$5.90) and Hot Dog Cheese (S$5.90).
The bakery, which also specialises in wedding cakes, now operates from a shophouse unit on Arab Street. If you aren’t quite a fan of croissants, though, then its sliced cakes (S$6.90/slice) or cake jars (S$8.90 each) may be up your alley.
The Secret Garden by Zeekri
Whilst this botanical-themed French restaurant serves classic French dishes like Chicken Cordon Bleu, Foie Gras and French Onion Soup, its French pastries are equally worth the visit.
Be prepared to order a smorgasbord of familiar pastries like scones (S$3 each) and muffins (S$4.50 each), as well as more unique offerings like the Mousse Dome (S$6), Premium Bombolinis (S$5 each) and their version of Bread & Butter Pudding (S$5) which is made using croissants instead of bread!
All Things Delicious
Homegrown, halal-certified bakery cafe All Things Delicious is best known for its cult favourite Gula Melaka Scones (S$4.50 each) using cultured butter, fresh cream and gula melaka. But ATD is much more than that.
There’s a lot more to discover here: from Paris Brest (S$8.80), a handmade French pastry is filled with hazelnut praline to Orange-infused Sugee Cake (S$7.10/slice), a Eurasian classic butter cake made with semolina and loads of almonds. Need a last minute cake for a party? Check out ATD TO GO for items you can collect within the hour or get delivered ASAP.
Julie Bakes is no stranger to fans of cakes with traditional Malay kuih flavours. Think Ondeh-Ondeh Cake (S$8/slice), Serawa Durian (S$8.50), Puteri Salat (S$8.50), Putu Piring (S$8.50) and Pulut Hitam (S$8.50/slice). With so many options here, we cannot think of a kuih they’ve not transformed into cake yet.
While you’re there, you might want to pick up a bottle or two of freshly baked Milo Chocolate Chip Cookies (S$13/bottle) or Horlicks White Chocolate Cookies (S$13/bottle) for even more nostalgia. These are baked in small batches so you’re guaranteed freshness every time, if you manage to get your hands on them in the first place.
If you haven’t heard of this place, I guess you haven’t really been on Bali Lane often. Though if you haven’t been there, I kinda get why, since it’s often overshadowed by more popular Haji Lane or Bussorah St.
But this is an interesting space, especially for lovers of authentic Mediterranean bread! Fill up on Pita bread in various permutations: white, wholemeal, garlic, cajun, sesame and more. The pita is simply great on its own, but best paired with their Hummus and Babaganoush dips.
Bookmark this guide! You will never know when this will come in handy, as we will be adding more into this post. Share with us if you have been to any bakeries or cafes in Kampong Gelam that we missed out.