The Place We will probably never look at bread making the same way again after our visit to Firebake – Woodfired Bakehouse & Restaurant. Located along the buzzing East Coast Road in the Katong district, the few weeks’ old restaurant is founded by veteran food & beverage consultant Konstantino Blokbergen, whom has a strong passion in woodfire cooking and sourdough breadmaking. The space at Firebake is not huge, with a total seating capacity of 56 seats including indoor and outdoor tables, together with counter seats.
The first thing which drew our attention at this rustic and charming restaurant are the woodfire bread ovens, the first full-scale of its kind in Singapore, staying true to the European historical techniques of breadmaking. The most amazing fact of these two woodfire ovens is that they were made from scratch by hand using specific imported materials to support this conventional way of baking. We must say we were really impressed by the whole structure of the ovens, layered with bricks on its external facade which also gave the whole restaurant a very strong rustic and old European vibe.
The Food We initially thought that Firebake is all about its bread. Well, we are partially correct. The menu is more than bread, except that the dishes are curated with the theme of bread in mind, be it as an ingredient in the dishes or a complimentary element to the dishes.
For drinks, Firebake serves coffee using coffee beans from Jimmy Monkey Coffee; craft beer, wines from both old and new world with emphasis on boutique wineries, or simply Nordaq Fresh water – more on this below.
Starting with the bread, they are all made with all-natural ingredients, including organic flour from Western Australia. We know that they are serious about their business when even the water used in their bread making process is from an elaborate Nordaq Fresh water filtration system at a specific temperature such that the water is as pure as possible, which affects the quality of the bread. You can enjoy this as your table water on a free-flow basis starting from just S$3 per pax.
The menu is split into Bread, Small Plates, Shared Plates and Desserts. For a start, we would recommend the Firebake Breadboard (S$10) for variety. This plate comes with four different variations of the organic sourdough loaf – White, Wholemeal, Rye and Fruit loaf, served with Greek extra virgin and butter. The texture of the bread is dense, our favourites being the fruit load and the plain white loaf, which went all so well with the French butter and Greek olive oil.
Some of the dishes we tried from the Small Plates section were the 4-Spice chicken liver pate (S$12) and the Heirloom tomato, pickled cucumber, feta, oregano (S$17). The chicken liver plate may not appeal well if you don’t usually like foie gras, but I would say be adventurous and give a try. It acts like a spread here for the bread, which was quite a big portion for even two people. As for the exotic taste, try to think of it as a much lighter foie gras spread.
The Heirloom Tomato is one of those dishes I will probably skip when I browse throw the menu, but I am glad we had this. I was surprised by the thick texture of the soup base, which was prepared using tomato and olive oil, served along with pickled cucumber, feta and oregano. Our recommendation is to have all the ingredients in one spoon to soak up the goodness in the soup, including the very addictive crouton bits. The inspiration came from Chef Tino’s love of this overnight dish when he was growing up, and where best to serve it out now in his own restaurant.
From the Shared Plates section, we were recommended to try the Grilled Pork Belly with Garden Vegetable Broth (S$22), and we were glad we did. The vegetable garden broth was a light and hearty broth to enjoy even without the pork belly. The pork belly here was first prepared sous vide, then pan-fried to give it that crispy skin. I wouldn’t use melt-in-the-mouth to describe the tenderness of the pork belly, but it was definitely a good tender texture with the slightly soaked crisp skin.
The other must-have for sharing is the Norwegian Blue Mussel (S$25). The fresh mussels go very well with the sourdough bread here, though the noteworthy element in this dish is the addition of lager to the garlic broth, instead of the usual white wine.
If you can’t live without meats, order the Rangers Valley Striploin (S$38). The meats here are grilled over charcoal fire to give it that nice smoky flavour. Our medium-rare steak was very succulent, and we found out that this was in fact a Wagyu A3 quality grade even though it is not mentioned on the menu. The 300g serving is quite a good size for sharing, given that there are so many other dishes to try on the menu. That said, the bonus element on this plate for us was the woodfired Jerusalem Artichoke, which was oh-so-good on its own.
Moving to desserts, expect bread elements no less. The Peach, vanilla, lievito madre ice cream, rye chip (S$12) is a must try. The fancy name aside, the ice-cream flavour here is sourdough, an ingenious creation in our opinion. I could literally taste the bread flavour in the ice-cream, definitely a first for me. The accompanying ingredients such as the peach and rye chip simply blended harmoniously with the ice-cream. Wow.
The other dessert we had was the Firebake Bread and Butter Pudding (S$10), a classic dessert made with the fruit bread. The pudding flavour was rich, yet it wasn’t to the extent of cloying. I would have taken more bites of it if not for the fact that I was already quite full towards the end of the meal.
Rants Getting to Firebake by car is probably the best way, though parking can be quite challenging in the ever busy stretch of East Coast Road. For the food, we can only rant that we wished we can stomach more bread and carbs in a meal!
Will I Return Again? After the meal, I must say Firebake has already redefined the way I view breadmaking. From the woodfire oven to the Nordaq water, every detail in this restaurant is well conceptualised. The dishes here stay true to the strong bread theme of Firebake, and I like it that they are all very ideal for sharing. Prices are extremely reasonable as well. There are still dishes we have not tried, and we can’t wait to bring our friends here.
Taste bud: 4.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 4.5/5
Firebake – Woodfired Bakehouse & Restaurant
237 East Coast Road, Level 1
Tel: +65 9784 2950 / +65 6440 1228
Tuesday to Sundays: 6pm to 10pm
Closed on Mondays
Ranted by The Ranter