A fourth generation baker, French pastry chef, Gontran Cherrier, behind Tiong Bahru Bakery, wanted to “create a real, authentic experience” with his baked goods and desserts using “traditional French techniques infused with international flavours.”
His first bakery was in Montmarte, Paris established in 2010. After two years, he set up his first bakery abroad in Singapore, a country known for being a melting pot of different cultures, open to new flavors. He later opened bakeries in Tokyo, Fukuoka, and Nagoya (Japan) and Seoul, Busan (South Korea).
“I finally realised the way to share my universe and passion with bread and food lovers alike, by matching my products with special moments in their lives.” – Gontran Cherrier
The Singapore bakery was named Tiong Bahru ( translated literally as “New Cemetery”) after its location in the eponymous oldest mass-housing estate in the city-state. But contrary to deaths the district name connotes, Tiong Bahru has brought life and fame to this district, enlivening the neighborhood and beyond.
I had the chance to visit the original Singapore bakery on Eng Hoon Street. The poster on the glass window presented a message that pulls my heartstrings and resonates with me as a business person with a little shop, where Little House on the Prairie meets Cheers. Tiong Bahru articulated it eloquently: “Celebrating Neighborhoods.”
“The Tiong Bahru Bakery Story
There’s always that special place in the areas we live. By habit or necessity, there are checkpoints where our paths converge, no matter where our days take us.
These are the places where shared moments and experiences connect us – and they eventually come to mean far more than the function it serves. A café doesn’t merely dispense coffee. Neither does a bakery simply cook flour and put them on sale. They are strongholds founded deep in the history of the area it dwells, built upon with stories shared within and around its walls. Where perspectives are challenged, broadened, renewed; and the future can be boldly envisioned with insight and belief. Where friends are made, dreams are shared, and love is found.
This unique confluence of the community drives us to excellence and new levels of inspiration in everything we do. We are dedicated to celebrating the individuals, embracing the stories and transforming the living space for people around us.
We are dedicated to celebrating neighbourhoods.”
Large bins of breads were being hauled out into an SUV by a Caucasian lady, presumably for a cafe somewhere. Tiong Bahru doesn’t only serve its immediate community but also wholesales to other food outlets.
The queue started to build up a few minutes before the doors opened as multi-cultured patrons chose to start off their Sunday morning with the French treats. I ended up with a dilemma— which ones to get.
Someone asked me, “Are you Mam Karen?” I said, “Yes!?” The pretty petite lady was Arlene Dicen, one of the ladies I trained seventeen years ago when I used to help the beloved in his business beginnings. Arlene is now handling training of baristas at Tiong Bahru. It was a nice surprise to encounter her again after all these years. And I was so relieved to know I still looked like I did seventeen years ago that she still recognized me haha.
There’s a wide range of savory and sweet baked goods, desserts. I most enjoyed the Mushroom Brie croissant sandwich, Apple Kouign Amman, and the Pain Au Chocolat. They are huge portions. This is a place you will want to come to again and again to be able to taste everything on the menu!!!
Thankful for getting mini business inspiration and education along with palate education on this tagalong trip.
Here is the branch on Orchard Road at the corner Ground Floor outside Tangs Department Store: