St. Marc Cafe – Simple and delightful pleasure

St. Marc Cafe (Vivo Branch)

Address: 1 Harbourfront Walk #01-108-110 Vivo City

Opening hours: 10:00am – 10:00pm (Mon to Thu, Sun) 10:00am – 10:30pm (Fri, Sat)

St. Marc Cafe (Marina Square Branch)

Address: 6 Raffles Boulevard #02-105/184/185 Marina Square

Opening hours: 10:00am – 10:00pm (Everyday)

Introduction

There are two branches in Singapore and i personally prefers the Marina Square branch as it is more spacious with a larger seating capacity, so there’s no or little waiting time to get a seat. This branch is only opposite Lady M Confections. I was attracted by the colorful display of their desserts outside their shop and decided to have a try.

Click to enlarge

St. Marc Cafe mainly serve bread, pasty, sandwiches, soft serve and their most popular Chococro and Little Fuji. Their soft serve dessert mainly range from S$6.30 for the little Fuji to S$8.80 for their Choco Banana Split. I thought St. Marc Cafe is an ideal place to have rest and to re-energise myself with a quick sugar boost.

St. Marc Cafe’s items are not exactly the most premium or the most special of all. However, their simple and yet delightful dishes are the reasons why i re-visited this cafe again. It’s the piping hot Chococro chocolate filling that attracted me back, and the crispy biscuit-like crust of the Little Fuji that made me want to visit this place again.

Little Fuji – S$6.30

I actually think this is one of the star of the show of St. Marc Cafe. Many people are either ordering this Little Fuji, or the Choco Banana Fuji, with added chocolate sauce and banana.

So what exactly is the Little Fuji? It’s a freshly toasted buttery flavor croissant dough with soft serve with caramel sauce. There is always at 5 to 10 minutes of waiting time for this Little Fuji and to collect at the counter when it’s ready.  Therefore Little Fuji is always served piping hot and it’s duper crispy.

It’s arguable that the ice-cream taste a little like McDonald’s but what does it matter when the combination of the croissant with soft serve is too good to nitpick.

The Signature Original Chococro (S$2.40)

By the name Chococro, it actually stands for Chocolate Croissant. Best part about this? When it’s freshly out from the oven, or at the minimum, it’s warm.

Somehow a pastry can’t go too wrong when there is warm molten hazelnut chocolate and warm crispy croissant involved.  This is quite an ideal snack to go with a cup of latte even if you are feeling a little full from a meal. The portion is just right, and the chocolate is not too greasy so it’s almost always a good time to have a Chococro.

Seasonal Flavor – Matcha Daifuku Chococro (S$2.60)

Daifuku (大福) literally means “Great Luck”. Daifuku is a Japanese confection consisting of a small round mochi stuffed with sweetened red bean paste. So a Matcha Daifuku Chococro is a actually a confection within a pastry. I initially thought the white filling is green bean paste but i think it’s actually mochi, and was stuff into the croissant together with the red bean paste and matcha cream. This is a rather interesting flavor which is not easily found elsewhere. Catch it before there’s a change in season.

Salsa Egg and Custard Bread (S$3.50)

Apart from sweet stuff, St. Marc also offers some savory items like sandwich and bread. There are actually plenty of ingredients in the Salsa Egg Bread – salsa sauce, mayonnaise, bacon slices, pepper and whole egg. It’s almost as good as it looks and only too bad the egg is quite well cooked. It would be best if the egg is only half cooked with the runny egg yolk. The price is also not exactly the cheapest in it’s class.

Custard Bread with Almond Flakes (S$2.60)

This bread is rather pricey at $2.60, but you will be able to tell the difference between a $2.60 and $1.50. The warm creamy custard flows out from the bread upon cutting it into two. Comparing to ordinary custard, this one has a stronger and aromatic milk taste. The bread’s texture is similar to Barcook’s Raisin Cheese but a little bit softer. This or Chococro at the same price of S$2.60? After some consideration, Chococro will be my choice! But this is actually not bad too.

Conclusion

I still ordered their Little Fuji or Chococro for my subsequent visits. I personally prefer their croissant dishes rather than their bread. St. Marc Cafe’s ambiance is very similar to Starbucks or Coffeebean kind of ambiance and can reasonably sit for as long as i like. The one thing i like about St. Marc Cafe is their patrons can get free cold water from their water dispenser. This means that i can get to rest in this cafe, and spending only S$2.60 on one Chococro, and to rehydrate myself for free.

Once again, i need to emphasis that St. Marc cafe is not offering the most special kind of pastry, or the nicest pastry in Singapore. Their dishes are some very safe recipe that can’t go wrong easily. I personally like them for the reasonable price and the overall comfort offered to their patrons. Sometimes, life’s simple pleasure can be the best kind.

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Mont Nom Sod – The milk and toast cafe at MBK Bangkok (มนต์นมสด)

Mont Nom Sod

Address: MBK Center 2nd floor

Operating hours: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm

Introduction

Mont Nom Sod is a cafe that specialised in toasts and milk that is situated at level 2 of MBK Center (Mah Boonkrong). The outlook of the cafe is not exactly impressive but don’t be fooled by their simple interior design. It looks our typical Singapore’s Ya Kun or Toast Box and the price is really economical as well, at about 23 baht per slice of toast bread.

Generally, Mont Nom Sod offers two kinds of bread, the toasted bread slices topped with a spread (like Coconut Custard, Condensed Milk, Chocolate, Taro spread, Pumpkin spread and Corn spread just to name a few) and the second kind is their soft steamed bread with a dip (coconut custard or chocolate dip).

Click to view enlarged menu

Click here to view my full list of Bangkok food Itinerary

The Toast (Coconut Custard and Condensed Milk) – 23 Baht

Mont Nom Sod’s bread is nothing like our square white bread where the texture became a little tough after toasting, or really crispy like Ya Kun’s. Their toast is crispy on the surface and fluffy soft on the inside.

Their Coconut Custard is in fact similar to our Singapore’s Kaya, just that there is lesser egg taste and stronger coconut taste. The aromatic coconut fragrance simply filled my mouth when i took my first bite. The bread didn’t became soggy even when it’s spread over the bread for a period of time. I know this because, as usual, I took quite some time for the food shot.

I always have a thing for condensed milk toast. Who didn’t spread condensed milk over their toast when we were kids? For Mont Nom Sod’s condensed milk toast, the last thing to worry is the condensed milk taste overpowering the toast and turned into a nothing-but-sweet-tasting toast. The condensed milk are applied in moderation with butter, and the sweetness is just nice for a supposedly-sweeter kind of taste.

Steamed Bread with Molten Chocolate Dip – 70 baht

If you have tried Old Town’s steamed bread, Mont Nom Sod’s steamed bread’s dough is fuller, more like a Man Tou (White Steamed Bun) texture but without the grease. At only S$2.80,  i get to enjoy a steam bread chocolate fondue. How good is this? Chocolate dip is rich and smooth and bread is fluffy and soft. No complain!

I also had their Sweet Cold Milk. Unlike chocolate flavor or strawberry flavor milk, white fresh milk is normally not as sweet but Mont Nom Sod’s is a sweetened version. I guess the Thais really like sweet stuff! The milk is worth a try, and after all, what is a visit to milk cafe without trying their milk?

Conclusion

Mont Nom Sod is a cafe which serves simple, yet delightful food at a very minimal price, which made me very happy after having my meal here. Some people classify Mont Nom Sod as one of the hidden gems in Bangkok. I like this cafe and thought that i will visit this place again on my next visit. I still have many bread flavors which i had yet to try.

This place is a perfect place to rest after walking for hours, and to refuel your energy. Give yourself a sweet sugar rush and continue with your shopping Part Two!

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe 早安南洋 (Time’s 24 World’s Best-Kept Secret)

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe

Address (Main branch): 20 Upper Pickering Street, #01-01, Singapore 058284

Operating hours:  Mon – Fri 7.30am – 5.30 pm, Sat 8.30 am – 5.30 pm and closed on Sunday

* Important Update (20 August 2014) *

The main branch at Upper Pickering Street will cease operation at the end of August 2014 due to various issues. You may visit their other branches at:

1. The Grandstand @ 200 Turf Club Road #01-34A 

2. Far East Plaza @ 14 Scotts Road, #02-23 

3. 75 Pagoda Street

4. Maxwell Chambers @ 32 Maxwell Rd

Introduction

I got to know this less-widely known cafe through  a Times article entitled “24 World’s Best-Kept Secret” and i have to agree that Good Morning Nanyang Cafe is indeed a well-kept secret in Singapore.

This little cafe tucked at one corner of Telok Ayer Green CC starts their operation as early as 7.00am on weekday. I estimated the timing wrongly and i reached this place at 6.30am! To my surprise, they are already opened and invited me to have a seat and offered to take my drinks order first as the food will only be available from 7.00am.

There is an air-conditioned indoor and outdoor dining area which can accommodate not more than fifty people. The menu items that particularly interest me is their orange peel ciabata toast and ciabata toast.

Ciabatta toast

After having it once, this delightful toast immediately became one of my favorite kaya toast in Singapore. First I will talk about the kaya. Good morning nanyang cafe’s kaya is a little unique in the sense that it’s not smooth but rather grainy, which gives a very different and yet delightful texture. I can almost chew on the not-too-sweet kaya custard and i particularly like the kaya for it’s “eggy” taste. It’s like a 70% coconut taste and 30% egg with overflowing pandan fragrance.

The butter was melted into the toasted Ciabatta bread. It maintained it’s softness on the inside while it’s really crispy on the outside. Arguably one of the best kaya toast in Singapore.

Orange Peel Ciabatta Toast

Basically the kaya, butter and toasting method is the same, just that Good Morning Nanyang use a different bread. The orange peel ciabatta is thinner, with a smoother surface and with orange peel baked into the ciabatta bread.

The exterior is not as crispy as the ordinary ciabatta toast and bread gives off a rather unique tinge of orange aroma that I don’t normally find in kaya toast which goes unusually well with kaya and butter.

Curry Chicken

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe also offer lunch items like Curry Chicken, Curry Chee Cheong Fun, Chicken Stew with Rice and pre-packed Nasi Lemak. I will often order their Curry Chicken with toasted ciabatta bread if i’m a little hungry.

I am not going to elaborate more on the curry chicken. The curry chicken is not fantastic, or heavenly. It’s rather decent. Good enough to complete my meal for the day. But i do like to order their crispy ciabatta instead of white rice to go with their curry chicken. Much better to go with curry than traditional baguette.

Conclusion

After trying their toast once, i had already returned to Good Morning Nanyang Cafe for at least seven to eight times since. I also wish to highlight that their soft-boiled eggs are greatly done every time. The staff there are always friendly and made me felt like home. I am always left satisfied when i had my breakfast at Good Morning Nanyang Cafe and i do hope that they can maintain this great service and food standard.

It’s too bad that they will be closed by dinner time. The only alternative is for me to visit their franchised branch at Chinatown. Although the toast ciabatta is not as crispy, i am glad that the rest tasted as good.

Baker Talent (Serangoon Branch)

Baker Talent

Address: Blk 261 Serangoon Central #01-11

Opening hours: 9.00am – 10.00pm daily

Other Branches

Boon Lay: Blk 221 Boon Lay Shopping Centre #01-154
Clementi: Blk 442 Clementi Avenue 3 #01-89
Choa Chu Kang: Blk 303 Choa Chu Kang Ave 4 #01-723
Jurong West 1: Blk 495 Jurong West St 51 #01-100
Jurong West 2: Blk 964 Jurong West St 91 #01-1338
Tampines: Blk 828 Tampines St 81 #01-266
Yishun 1: Blk 415 Yishun Ave 11 #01-319
Yishun 2: Blk 846 Yishun Ring Road #01-3633

Introduction

Where can you get the cheapest golden sand custard bun (黄金流沙包) in Singapore? Baker Talent’s golden custard bun only cost me $0.90 each. This bakery’s bread is not exactly the best tasting one in Singapore but i can say that it’s definitely one of the cheapest around town and the taste is actually quite decent.

The price of every bread in the Baker Taleny does not exceed S$1.00 each. Even the Polo Char Siew bun only cost me S$0.95. That’s cheap isn’t it?

I have yet to try this “Butter Boom” (爆浆奶油) at only S$0.60. A friend told me the taste is only so-so and the butter don’t even “burst” out. If anyone had tried before, feel free to leave a comment on the taste.

Golden Sand Custard Bun

Baker Talent had kept the price of their Golden Sand Custard Bun at a “promotional price” at $0.90 for a couple of years since their opening in Singapore. I had also tried Barcook Bakery’s version and the main difference between the two is taste of salted egg yolk. Barcook Bakery’s version is more buttery and sweet and i can’t taste any salted egg yolk while the Baker Talent’s version is almost similar to those at Dim Sum place but only it’s the bread version. I prefer Baker Talent’s to Barcook Bakery’s because i like the salted egg yolk taste rather much. The custard is smooth with a moderate taste of salty egg yolk but the only thing is it’s a little sweet.

It may not be the best tasting molten custard bread bun around and… wait… there aren’t many molten custard bread bun around in Singapore! And don’t forget it’s only S$0.90. I thought this is value for money at a rather decent taste.

Polo Char Siew Bao

I also think that this should be Singapore’s cheapest Polo Char Siew Bao at only S$0.95. A crystal jade bakery one would had cost me about S$1.50? The crust on top taste a little like a less sweet butter cookie coating and the Char Siew is a little bit dryer, comparing to Crystal Jade’s but taste is OK.

Conclusion

Again i need to emphasis this may not be the best tasting bakery in Singapore, i thought that Baker Talent offers their bread at a great value and i hope the price remains this way. I still remembered Barcook Bakery’s nachos cheese bread only cost S$1.20 and now it’s like S$1.60 or $1.70.

The bread of Baker Talent is soft and fluffy enough for same day consumption and if you are really broke and waiting for pay day, why not drop by to stock up some bread. LOL.

Drips Bakery Cafe

Drips Bakery Cafe

Address: 2 Tiong Poh Road #01-05 Singapore 160082

Operating Hours: Sun – Thur: 11:00am – 9:30pm Fri & Sat: 11:00am – 11:00pm

Introduction

This place is recommended by my colleague who had high rating for their sandwich where the bread is freshly baked everyday. Drips bakery cafe offers a good range of pastries, tarts, cookies and cakes as well as hand crafted coffee.

Initially, i wanted to drop by at a cafe at Yong Siak Street only to find most of them are really crowded and a little noisy but i am in a mood to find a quiet place for a good cup of coffee after my lunch at Beo Crescent Hainanese Curry Rice and i am glad that i did.

At Drips Bakery Cafe, the tables are well spaced apart with a high ceiling. There are also sofa seats at the other end of the cafe that is situated below a sun roof. I did not opt for the sofa seat as it was at 1.30pm and sunlight is directly shining onto the sofa.

 

The ambiance is very relaxing with light music playing at the background. Perfect for a great afternoon chill out session! They do not have a fixed menu which i think they will just wipe off an item from the menu black board if it was sold out for the day.

Fruit Tarts

I heard that the pastry chef from Drips Bakery Cafe was once with Shangri-la. We were fortunate to be able to try the tarts freshly prepared from the kitchen. The mango and blackberry tart cost me $8.00 which i think it’s a little pricey but taking account that they are actually quite generous with the fresh fruits, it’s still reasonable.

When the tarts were brought out from the kitchen, everyone started crowding at the counter and most of the tarts were snapped up in no time. I thought the crust taste very similar to a butter cookie but the best part of the tart is the cream filling. I like the smooth texture of the cream and for the fact that it’s simply not too sweet.

Sandwich

Drips bakery cafe offers some sandwich choices like Smoked Salmon, Virginia Ham, Vegetarian and Honey Low Fat Ham. For a meat lover like me, of course i opted for a Ham sandwich – The Honey Low Fat Ham. There’s only one option for choice of bread which they call it the “Baked Bread”.

The veggies are really fresh and i particularly like how they toasted the tomato to mild warm before serving. And for the bread, the edge of the bread were really crispy and soft on the inside.

Conclusion

Fresh tarts, fresh bread, spacious, relaxing, good cappuccino are all the reasons that i have to come back to Drips Baker Cafe again. I actually wanted to try their buns like their curry bun and their Macadamia Tarts but after eating a plate of curry rice, a sandwich and a tart, my stomach gone already. So probably i will pop by in near future and to try out their sandwich of a different flavor and hope that their bread is as good as this time!