From hipster area of Canggu in Bali to Havelock Road, Starter Lab Bakery has opened its 2nd outpost (in the world) right here in Singapore.
Here’s why the fuss: baker-consultant Emerson Manibo has worked at New York’s Per Se, trained at famed Tartine and Della Fattoria bakeries in California.
Starter Lab Bakery in Bali supplies its bakes to Locavore – one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants; and its sourdough loaves were popular enough with Singaporeans that the owners decided to set out an outlet here.
Here are other interesting aspects of the shop: products available in-store are based on their sustainable backstory; there are no single use plastics in the shop; and no straws.
And as this is a female-owned business, with a team that is more than 80% female. (Consultant Emerson will return to Bali once operations and processes here are stabilised.)
The bakery café essentially offers a wholesome menu of posh toast (so much so they have been reviewed to serve the “Gucci Of Bread”), sandwiches and build your own bread boards.
All the loaves and pastries served (other than the scones) contain sourdough/starter, and loaves are fermented over 36 hours before being baked.
Mascarpone, creme fraiche, ricotta and all pickles are made in-house.
If you are lost at what to order, some recommendations include House-Made Mascarpone, sustainable honey, bee pollen and crushed walnuts ($14); Salmon, pickle, house-made creme fraiche on Danish Rye ($14), Country Loaf ($11 for half, $18 for whole, estimated 1.2kg), and Miso Baguette.
Noting that many tables were ordering the same thing, I also had an Avocado Bawang ($12) – ”bawang” means “shallots” in Indonesian. (Though makcik bawang has a totally different meaning.)
I wished there was more creamy avocados spread on top for a more substantial meal. It was on the expensive side for the portion.
However, the sour dough bread was indeed a class of its own – crusty savoury sides, dense doughy yet soft, and flavourful enough.
In fact, good enough to eat on its own with just some butter, and so going little on the sriracha sauce allowed the bread to stand out.
During another morning visit, I was recommended the Morning Bun ($4.50) which is a croissant style cinnamon bun.
It looked like a Cruffin (croissant + muffin), and I thought it got the texture right by being crusty yet not overly airy.
The Banana Bread was rustic and dense, heavily-seeded that it would go well with a cup of latte. (I could imagine some customers preferring something airier and less heavy.)
Coffee is supplied by Anther by Glasshouse for the first year – a decent cup though slightly on the acidic side.
While there are a decent number of bakeries in Singapore, a place specialising in Tartine sourdough breads and country loaves is a welcomed addition.
I think they did pick the right neighbourhood to start off with – low-key yet hipster enough.
Starter Lab Bakery
721 Havelock Road Singapore 169645 (Tiong Bahru Station)
Tel: +65 9839 0408
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 5pm (Mon – Sun)
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Mother Dough Bakery (North Bridge Road)
Microbakery Bakery & Kitchen (Bukit Timah)