Bao Makers buns still stun
Congratulations to Bao Makers.
It celebrates its third birthday with a new, bigger location and an expanded menu - no mean feat considering the volatile food and beverage market in Singapore.
To keep up with the times, it has introduced rice bowls for lunch, sharing plates for dinner, and a range of dishes that continues its brand of fusion food.
But it is the signature items - the buns - that remain the stars.
These buns look small and may not seem filling, but they get the job done.
There are four types: Chilli Crab Bao, Salted Egg Chicken Bao, Salmon Mentaiko Bao (all $5.80 each) and Veggie Bao ($4.50).
Of these, I found the Veggie Bao delicious, with a nice crunch from the fried vegetables.
The Salmon Mentaiko Bao was unexpectedly good because it looked too creamy. But with the fish and the bun, the combination worked.
I would return to the restaurant just for these.
I thought the Cheese Burger Spring Roll ($9.80) was gimmicky until I tasted it.
It really did feel like I was taking a bite of a burger. This was nice enough.
The minced beef, cheese and chopped pickles all added to the sensation, and to be honest, I actually prefer a crispy spring roll skin to a bun.
The Teriyaki Beef Steak rice bowl ($17.80) was good value, since it came with pan-seared beef steak, house blend teriyaki sauce and an onsen egg. I just wish the meat was not overcooked.
The Salmon Mentaiko Roll ($16.80) is not an original invention but the version here was competent, with enough mentaiko to please most diners.
But in the case of the Beef Cubes with Goose Liver Sauce ($21.80), the over-reliance on sauce spoiled a potentially enjoyable dish.
The beef cubes - made of Australian striploin - were perfectly cooked, but the goose liver sauce was strangely sweet and threw the balance off.
It was poured over the meat with a regrettably heavy hand.
And this heavy-handedness was repeated with the Kecap Manis Chicken ($8.80).
The dish looked really good, but the sauce was just too thick.
You will taste only that sweet gooey sauce, and whatever marinade on the fried chicken cube will be completely lost.
Perhaps Bao Makers needs to reconsider its sauces.
Meanwhile, go enjoy its range of drinks, including the delightfully powerful Singapore Latte Peng ($6.50) with homemade espresso jelly.
4, Jiak Chuan Road
Monday to Saturday, noon to 3pm; Monday to Thursday, 6pm to 10pm; Friday and Saturday, 6pm to 11pm