Food review: Trying Tiong Bahru Bakery Diner at L4, Funan Mall, Singapore 179105

This could be considered my first tasting of 2020, properly! The year got off to a slow start, what with my travel to Bali right during CNY, coming back to a world that got itself saddled with a new Covid-19 virus that people are only starting to figure out. That got my office into a 50% workforce while the rest worked from home. In between, life goes on - and so does tastings, hopefully! And this one at Tiong Bahru Bakery Diner is just the right one for me to kick things off for a greener 2020, be it sustainable food sourcing or healthy alternatives. While TBB has started as literally just that IN Tiong Bahru, the brand has expanded under the Spa Esprit Group umbrella. And the branches in Raffles City and Funan are the only two to serve modern Western food that's savoury and warm, on top of the usual AMAHZING pastries (I'm a fan!)

The space at Funan was also very spacious and airy, with a 'circuit board' decor as the feature wall to match the IT Mall legacy of Funan. Now's actually the best time to eat out, IMO, because crowds are lesser and you're doing malls a favour by visiting them!

We had an assortment of food to test out, so lucky to be able to try the creations under a young but very talented French chef de cuisine, Paul Albert. 

First up, the Chayote Kimchi & Mung Bean Salad (S$18) that is vegan, which is great news. I like that there's quite a lot of meat-free and vegan options here. The salad did not need any protein, with the local 'green bean', or the mung bean, being a good replacement. The watercress also added a nice texture amidst the sour flavours. The purple plant is from their roof top garden, right here in Funan as well! 3.5/5

My personal favourite of the evening was the Hot Chicken Salad & Caramelised Pumpkin (S$20) which had such tender, juicy and flavoursome chicken breast that went surprisingly well with the slightly bitter and sour pomelo. The sweet pumpkin also added a different dimension, all together creating a balanced dish. I know this must be a perfect dish after a work out! 4.5/5

Another popular item that people who just come for especially is the vegetarian Super Green Warm Soup (S$16) which in here is a sample serving size. It's very green, reminiscent of the leicha soup. It has Chinese spinach, bok choy, Shanghai green, chye sim and lady’s finger cooked in a mushroom broth with potato for thickness and almond milk blended in. That's a cup of antioxidants right there! 3.5/5

Next was the Miso Wholewheat Spaghetti with Broccolini (S$19) which is pretty decent for the price point, with lots of flavours and textures once again. So much so, meat is again optional, especially when the grana padano cheese is mixed in to the basil almond pesto sauce. 4/5

We also had the Pulled Pork Creamy Risoni Pasta (S$22) which is earthy in every way. Here the pulled pork lent itself to the salty, rich overtone that the risoni rice (cooked just right!) helped balance out, though I miss out on any creaminess it might have. But overall the dish wasn't too salty nor heavy. If you are looking for an easy to digest pasta dish with meat, this is the one for you. 3/5

On the lighter side of meals, we have the vegan Portobello, Avocado & Hummus Black Sandwich (S$19) which is pretty decent and a sight to behold. The portobello (meat replacement) and avocado gave the sandwich its heft, and the dhal hummus made it creamy without having to rely on mayonnaise. Yum! 4/5

Chef Paul had been really helpful to come out and introduce each dish to us, as well as add finishing touches. Before this, he was explaining and showing us a 158 year old sourdough starter that he had procured from Brazil when working there. Since then it has become the motherstarter for all the sourdough waffles and pancakes we enjoy now. So literally eating history! 

The 100% Sourdough Waffle (S$23) itself was sweet, but executed as a savoury brunch dish with the bacon and eggs. I liked the combination - beats the McGriddles ANYTIME. The sourdough waffle also had a chewy, slightly sour (but not distracting) texture that was different from the usual. If you are coming to TBB Diner for brunch, you definitely need to get this. 4.5/5

The Fluffy Brown Butter Pancake (S$21) is also made with the same sourdough batter, but executed as a dessert dish with mango and Chantilly cream. This pancake had everything inside swapped out. The milk is swapped to buttermilk, sugar to brown sugar and of course the dough to sourdough. I liked it, though it is tremendously generous. Prolly can share between 3-4 pax! 4/5 

And of course, TBB is not that without their croissants. And we were given a small secret surprise at the end of our tasting!

Tadah! Each of us had a croissant and a Secret Kaya (S$0.50). The light green jam is made in-house with a secret recipe that has differing proportions of fresh pandan juice, coconut milk, castor sugar, egg and virgin coconut oil emulsion. I had it for brekkie next day and it was delicious.

TBB Diner is a great spot for a healthy, light and enjoyable Western meal if you are City Hall area and looking for a chill, comfortable place for you and the family to go to. I highly recommend this place if you are wondering if it is worth a trip! I'll be back there myself soon!

Tiong Bahru Bakery Diner
#04-22 to 25, Funan Mall
107 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 179105
Daily 8am to 9pm
+65 68774866

Thanks to TBB Diner and Daniel for the invite!

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