The Place Taking over the Windowsill in the Woods, which have since moved to Upper Thomson, The Bao Makers opens at the increasingly popular Jalan Besar enclave. Spotting clean grey walls, white tiles and brown tables outlook, The Bao Makers has a super chill vibe, almost perfect for me to whip out my laptop to catch up with my backlog for the website!
A glance at its menu reminded me of the Little Bao in Hong Kong which I had back in July. Instead of using a bun like Little Bao, The Bao Makers’s rendition plays on the local Singapore’s Bao – the Kong Ba Pao!
The Food We were torn. The Bao selections are considerably extensive, from the Classic ($12, Slow-Braised Pork Belly with preserved vegetable) to the over-hyped Salted Egg anything ($15, Shrimp in this case). Keeping life simple, we decided to go with the Bao Platter ($28); this platter gives you a taste of one Bao each – the Classic, Bulgogi, Chilli Crab and the Teriyaki Chicken. So exciting.
Frankly, the Classic Bao ($12, aka Kong Ba Bao) was quite a letdown. Probably my preference has always been the traditional strong flavoured and well-marinated braised pork belly which I have enjoyed since young, such that The Bao Makers’s rendition fell short of that. The meat was a tad too dry as well, more of the jus would have given this bao more oomph.
A different take on Chilli Crab without the hassle of painstakingly cracking through the crab shells, the Chilli Crab Bao ($16) packed some punch with the spicier-than-usual sauce. Extra dipping sauce served at the side, where you can dip your remaining bao with more sauce. My only complaint is that the sauce here tasted more like a Thai sweet chilli rather than the all-familiar chilli crab sauce we would love to have.
Korean-inspired, the Bulgogi Bao ($14) had the Korean spicy sauce marinated pork slices. Again, up the flavour and inject more jus, this Bulgogi Bao may just be the crowd favourite. My favourite bao this meal was definitely the unexpected Teriyaki Chicken Bao ($14). The crispy skin, with the very well seasoned chicken meat, outshined the rest of the Baos on the plattter. Psst, they do serve their Teriyaki Chicken as a main too, aka Teriyaki Chicken Chop ($14.90).
Bao Makers is more than just Bao, apparently. They serve other sides (Caesar Salad, Truffle Fries, etc), Mains (Fish & Chips, Seafood Platter, etc) and even Brunch (Eggs Benedict and the likes)! Not sure about the feasibility since the cafe ought to be all about Bao, but we didn’t have space for more food on our visit, so we shall leave you to decide on that. Having said that, the Flat White ($5.50, Common Man beans) was definitely above decent; going darn well with the Baos!
Rants Fried or Steamed? I didn’t quite get how this work. The Pandas will definitely prefer the Baos to be fried though, as it does add more crunch and enhance the overall taste.
Will I Return Again? Sounding old, but I am a traditionalist at heart when it comes to local food. Any rendition of these can only be better, especially if it is charging more than my local hawkers. Having said that, the service here was top-notch and the ambience very comforting. Tweak the baos, and convince diners why it should be worth more than my grandma’s, The Bao Makers will be on the road to giving this classic snack a new lease of life.
Make your reservation instantly at The Bao Makers here.
Taste bud: 3/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 3/5
The Bao Makers
78 Horne Road
Tel: +65 6291 2330
Monday to Friday 11am to 9pm
Saturday & Public Holidays 10am to 10pm
Sunday 10am to 6pm
Ranted by The Rantee