For my mom, it made sense.
The Indonesians with their mouthwatering kueh, their unbeatable buttery kueh lapis (layered cake), sumptuous brownies…they KNEW their pastry and pattisserie. There was no denying that baking was a part of the Indonesian heritage – no other Southeast Asian culture places as much of a focus on desserts than Indonesia. Her interest was piqued, she wanted to see if their strength could translate into more, modern creations.
It began as things normally begin, by accident, of course. We had passed by countless pattisseries in Grand Indonesia, even BreadTalk, and began noticing how much cheaper their cakes were retailing at. Back in Singapore, if you want a cake of reasonable quality, you’re looking in upwards of SGD 6. Sure, there’s the so-called “old-school” cakes like Ang Mo Kio’s Pine Gardens which retail for much lesser, but let’s be honest here: they aren’t remotely in the vein of being “international standard”. In fact, they’re more like cream sculptures accessorized with some bout of cake. No, I’m talking about an excellent-grade chocolate truffle cake retailing at no more than SGD 3 or SGD 4 in Jakarta, in a pattisserie where the tea served is the premium priced TWG , in an upscale mall in Indonesia. That’s right, folks.
Sure, they were cheap, and we’ve had a taste of how good Indonesian-made biscuits and cakes can be at our hotel at DoubleTree Hilton, but what about an actual pattisserie, like say, Bakerzin Indonesia?
Why Bakerzin Indonesia? Sure, it’s a Singapore brand, but we all know Singaporeans have little control of their Indonesian franchises. Many try to do it direct, but I suppose they carry a lot of fatal preconceptions about the local consumer tastes and preferences and end up failing. *coughthebrandthatmustnotbenamed* So, yes, you’ll spot many familiar Singapore brands but I’d venture out and say that they’re still worth checking out, just to see how far they’ve been adapted. BreadTalk’s certainly one that I was surprised by – aesthetically and selections-wise, the same, but the taste is very different. In any case, nothing says “homemade freshness” and “Indonesian-made” than an actual baker who’s actually in, frantically keeping up with the amount of pastries and pattisserie being consumed by modern Indonesians. Yup, the baker’s in. Cheesy. Awesome. Perfect.
Once again, the menu’s a complete catalogue. Seriously, it’s thicker than IKEA’s. It’s a bit of a mindfuck, at first, but we eventually get by and order what we want.
I can’t remember what we ordered, but one’s a chocolate truffle, and the other’s a white chocolate cake. However, as soon as you take the first bite, it’s very apparent that the taste is different from what we’re classically used to back in Singapore. For one, Indonesia, being a secular but majority Muslim country, eschews alcohol in these cakes. Unlike what you might find with Malaysia’s Secret Recipe’s cakes, and maybe Indonesia has greater and fresh access to flour, butter and sugar, it results in cakes which are very, I do apologize for overusing the word, wholesome. It’s not filling per se, but there’s a very complete taste to it which makes it one of the best non-alcoholic cakes I’ve ever eaten.
Speaking of which, damn, we forgot to visit some of Jakarta’s thriving independent cafes. Oh well, there’s always a “next time”. Jakarta’s only a very cheap plane ride away (see: Lion Air).