Down at Seng Poh Road, a young chef hustles hard to chase his dream. Melvin Koh was an ex-pastry cook at MBS before he opened Nicher back in 2013. It’s a one-man show at his stall, he bakes the cakes and makes the deliveries.
Tucked in a corner of a kopitiam, visitors should look out for its wooden signboard because you’d probably walk by it a dozen times over just like I did.
Melvin makes scones and muffins on weekends, but pound cakes are his speciality. This capable chef makes eight different cakes such as Matcha Azuki, Earl Grey Berries and Banana. You can get them as whole or half loaves.
These slices are about one-sixth of a loaf, so you can be sure that you’ll be getting a decently sized loaf.
Coming in a promising shade of green, the Matcha Azuki ($7 for half loaf, $14 for full loaf) has an interesting top layer. It isn’t the cake’s crust but in fact is a layer of Hokkaido Azuki bean paste.
This cake is perfect for those who are intimidated by matcha. It had a pleasantly mellow matcha taste with a very slight hint of bitterness. The cake was sweet, slightly buttery and the flavours paired really well together.
The Hokkaido Azuki bean paste had a rather grainy texture and also added a touch of sweetness to the cake. I highly recommend this cake to people who’ve never tried matcha. Its mild and light taste will be a good start before you proceed to anything stronger.
Bananas and bread are a time-honoured combination and the one made by Nicher was a real classic. The Banana ($8 for half loaf, $16 for full loaf) had a pleasant authentic taste which Chef Melvin attributes to using only slightly overripe bananas.
It also reminded me of what my mom once said, ”The darker and uglier the bananas, the more flavour they’ll bring to your bread.”
It also helped give a softer and smoother consistency to the cake, making it easy to slice through. There were also walnuts atop the cake, which added texture to each bite and also slightly accentuated the banana flavour with its subtle sweetness.
I must say, this banana cake was honestly one of the best I’ve tasted.
The Earl Grey Berries ($8 for half loaf, $16 for full loaf) may actually have been made with magic. It was mellow and airy, and with an occasional burst of sourness from the blueberry bits.
There was an undertone of Earl Grey flavour, but it was still quite distinct. How Chef Melvin managed to create this cake completely baffles me!
The Chocolate ($7 for half loaf, $14 for full loaf) was pretty much perfect. It had a creamy chocolate flavour and was soft and moist. The chocolate taste was also rather rich and actually lingered in the aftertaste.
The pound cakes are wrapped in plastic wrap overnight to let the cake rest and seal in the flavours. No wonder they tasted so good!
Aside from keeping the cakes moist, this method also helps to firm up the cake. The chocolate cake was actually rather dense, and I liked how the texture was a little velvety.
Each cake was unique and well thought out, and I could really see Melvin’s effort shine through. In terms of quality, I dare say that this hawker stall is able to hold its own against cafes.
What’s more, Nicher is a lot more affordable than cafes. I highly recommend the Banana cake, which may very well be the best banana cake. So if you’re thinking of something to bring to a party, this could be the perfect gift!
Expected Damage: $6 – $16 per pax
Nicher: 71 Seng Poh Road, Singapore 160071 | Tel: +65 9645 5604 | Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm (Mon – Sat), Closed on Sun | Facebook