Next stop, Holland Village — Tai Cheong Bakery to be precise.
While the original outlet at Takashimaya only serves tarts and takeaway goodies, the new branch at Holland Village are for those who are hungry for cha chaan teng and get their fix of authentic Hong Kong cafe fare.
We won’t make you spend any more time than you have to. Besides, if your resolve for a sit down meal at Tai Cheong Bakery then you should stop reading and make your way down to Holland Village as soon as possible.
For those still on the fence, read on. With two separate queues, one for dining in and the other for takeaways, you’ll have to commit to finishing all the food you ordered when dining in. Lest you want to queue again just to get your leftovers packed.
With the floor staff and a kitchen in overdrive, topped with a snaking queue filled with agitated customers, do go prepared with a calm state of mind.
We were distracted and entertained, at the same time, by disgruntled customers kicking up a fuss because they had to queue again to pack their leftovers. But it helped us we weathered the queue before getting our seats. It’s judgement time.
Our verdict on the egg tart ($1.90)? Good. But, definitely not the best. The crust is rich and buttery while the custard is firm and not too overly sweet. Not stopping there with tarts and buns, we tried the durian cheese tart ($3.60) and char siu bolo bun ($2.20) as well.
The durian cheese tart is rich and decadent, everything I imagined it to be — sweet, pungent durian puree laced with savoury cheese. The luxurious filling cradled in the buttery crust makes it one of the better durian-based desserts I’ve eaten.
However, the same applause can’t be given to the char siu bolo bun. Now, given that the camera always eats before us, we know to take into account that the food may not be piping hot by the time we actually get around to tasting it. But, as we bit down into the bun, the char siu filling was unfortunately, a tad bit colder than room temperature.
Scrambled egg toast stack ($6.50) is as you would expect. Silky buttery curds of egg folded onto one another in a well orchestrated mess, all laid atop a thick slice of white toast.
Brown and far from being photogenic is the beef brisket curry rice ($9.90), but this is comfort food. Tender chunks of brisket and potato are slathered in a thick brown curry. Served with a mound of white rice, you’ll be foolish not to use every grain to soak up every drop of curry.
Wash it all down with Hong Kong milk tea & coffee mix ($2/hot, $2.50/cold) and don’t spend too long chatting after. With a very limited number of tables and the furore surrounding the brand and its Hong Kong fare, you’ll be lending the staff a big hand by allowing others get their fix faster.
Was Tai Cheong Bakery worth the queue when it first opened its doors at Holland Village? Not really, as there are better egg tarts out there, and the mains that are offered do not justify the time spent waiting for.
Expected damage: $9.90 – $18