Over 40 affordable old-fashioned baked goods like crumble tarts, cakes and handmade rolls

Old-fashioned neighborhood bakeries have to be one of my biggest weaknesses. The sweet, yeasty aroma of freshly baked bread, an abundant yet affordable range of pastries, an unparalleled feeling of comfort and familiarity – what’s not to love?

You’ll catch me walking into one of those bakeries I see. In fact, I would happily go all the way (literally); my latest adventure saw me on a pilgrimage to Tai Sengwhere the bold but humble name Great bakery resides.

Big Bakery – Showcase

Big Bakery sits down Paya Lebar Upper Road, and fits perfectly into the expanse of old-time provision stores and restaurants in which it is nestled. Run by an endearing middle-aged couple, this quaint bakery has been baking nostalgic pastries since 1997. It’s been almost 4 decades and the space looks like it hasn’t aged a day.

Big Bakery - Bread display

Big Bakery – Bread display

It was hard not to be amazed by the wide variety of pastries on offer; there must have been at least 10 tiered display cases and refrigerated cabinets housing rolls, pastries, biscuits, cream cakes, tarts, etc. The best part? Most of them arrive at less than S$2 a pop, aimed at nearby workers looking for a hassle-free and affordable breakfast.

Grande Boulangerie - Display

Grande Boulangerie – Display

To be completely honest, the ambiance of the bakery is far from glamorous. Dimly lit and lacking air conditioning, it’s clearly intended to be more of a takeaway affair. Regardless, I couldn’t help but take my time browsing through their products. You can’t blame me; The images I’ve included so far don’t even capture half of what Big Bakery has to offer.

What I tried at Big Bakery

Big Bakery - Crumble tarts

Big Bakery – Crumble tarts

I got the ball rolling with Big Bakery’s most exciting offer: their signature Crumble tarts (S$2.80 per slice).

Correct me if I’m wrong, but crumble pies – or any other type of pie, for that matter – are usually found in above pastries or coffees. So, of course, I was delighted to learn that this is the pride and joy of this unpretentious, old-fashioned bakery.

Crumble tarts are available in 4 different flavors: Apple, Banana, Blueberry And Pineappleof which I opted for the first 2. Each slice oozed rustic, homemade charm, with a golden brown crumble dusted with powdered sugar atop a thick layer of their respective fruit topping.

Big Bakery - Banana crumble tart

Big Bakery – Banana crumble tart

As a big fan of banana pies and pastries, I started with the Banana crumble tart. This photogenic little treat was bursting with filling enriched with the ripened sweetness of fresh bananas. It was sprinkled with bits of macadamia nuts which added crunch to the soft and creamy filling. Although I found the textural contrast a little jarring, I can see how some might enjoy it.

Each bite of pie was strongly flavored with cinnamon; while I’m not opposed to fragrant spices, I thought it was a bit overwhelming here. Luckily, the buttery crumble and pie crust were there to cut it and save the day. Is it bad that I find myself scooping up big chunks of crunchy crumble to enjoy on its own?

Big Bakery - Apple Crumble Tart

Big Bakery – Apple Crumble Tart

Moving on, I braced myself for that same truck-like dose of cinnamon as I dug into the Apple crumble pie. To my delight, it was much tamer, taking a step back to let the filler take center stage.

And get this: I’m not usually an apple pie fan, but I really loved this. The filling had a delicate fruity sweetness imparted by the smooth puree and the huge chunks of soft yet crunchy apples that coated my tongue in their candy juice. I also enjoyed the buttery contrast and slight crunch offered by the crumble topping. Color me impressed; I might go straight for the whole pie next time!

Except for the few trivial complaints I had about the Banana crumble tartI totally understand the hype behind these crumble tarts and how they earned their place as the bakery’s signature.

Big Bakery - Sugar Roll

Big Bakery – Sugar Roll

Next, I turned to one of my favorite childhood snacks: Sugar Roll (S$1.50). This delicate creation is said to be prepared in the traditional old-fashioned way with only eggs, flour and sugar, with no additives.

The sponge cake Sugar roll was so light and fluffy that it almost looked like a cloud. It carried pleasant vanilla notes, complemented by sweet sugar cubes and a milky buttercream filling.

On this point, I must add that the garnish pleasantly surprised me; it was creamy and melty in the mouth, and didn’t have that off-putting oily texture usually characteristic of buttercream.

Look, if this is what sugar buns looked like in the bygone “old school” era, get me a time machine already!

Big Bakery - Fish Fillet Burger

Big Bakery – Fish Fillet Burger

Alright, time to take a break from the sweets. Enter my next conquest, the Fish Fillet Burger (S$2.40). This is another one of my childhood favorites, and one I still consult from time to time.

It was a simple sandwich: a tasty fillet of fried fish wedged into a soft bun with refreshing lettuce and creamy, tangy mayonnaise. However, I would have preferred there to be a little sweet chili sauce for a bit of spice and an added sweet dimension.

I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten enough of these burgers to be able to tell the difference between homemade and store-bought buns, and I’m pretty sure the bun here was cooked from scratch. Each burger in that display case was a different shape and the bun had a soft crumb that my teeth sank into. Nothing touches me more than artisanal work.

Big Bakery - Sausage Donut

Big Bakery – Sausage Donut

I moved on to the second and last of my savory rolls: the Sausage Donut (S$1.50). This “original” conch-shaped creation seems to be a specialty of neighborhood bakeries, and you bet I’ve had it and love it.

For fans, it’s not so much a donut as a classic, light sausage roll. panko-crusted then fried. The product? A salty frank chicken entwined by a soft dough, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. So sinful, but so good.

Big Bakery - Pandan Cake

Big Bakery – Pandan Cake

For me, any visit to a neighborhood bakery would not be complete without Pandan Cake (S$1.80). Big Bakery’s version looked like a super-sized cupcake, so light and fragile that I almost had trouble transferring it to my tray for fear it would tear or crumble before I could properly enjoy it.

I had high hopes for the Pandan Cake, because you can never really go wrong with this quintessential classic. However, my expectations were unfortunately disappointed as it turned out dry and crumbly rather than spongy and moist. It was missing that pronounced pandan perfume or flavor as well, and was instead riddled with citrus notes eerily reminiscent of orange chiffon.

Big Bakery - Chocolate Tart

Big Bakery – Chocolate Tart

I concluded the feast on a sweet note with yet another neighborhood classic: the Chocolate Tart (S$1.90). It was quite heavy compared to others I’ve come across, effectively matching its relatively higher price.

Although the crispy, buttery crust wasn’t too bad, I didn’t really enjoy the chocolate filling. It tasted like cheap chocolate, with negligible hints of cocoa. It also had a rather unpleasant oily texture. If you’re looking for something to satisfy your cocoa cravings, this unfortunately won’t be enough. However, I can see how it could do the trick for someone craving a nostalgic treat.

Final Thoughts

Grande Boulangerie - Presentation

Grande Boulangerie – Presentation

With unique creations and nostalgic favorites in over 40 varieties, Big Bakery is clearly not your average neighborhood bakery. I would make a special trip for this buttery and juicy Apple crumble pie and like a cloud Sugar roll Again; They really aren’t to be missed. That aside, there are so many more of their huge range of pastries that I have not yet discovered. You will definitely find me there!

Expected damage: S$1.50 to S$5 per person

Order delivery: panda food

The article Big Bakery: 40+ Affordable Old-Fashioned Bakes Like Crumble Pies, Cakes, and Handmade Rolls appeared first on SETHLUI.com.

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