The Japanese make some of the tastiest, most delicate bakes in the world, but you don’t need to fly to Tokyo to savour them. Singapore boasts a good number of Japanese-style patisseries – run by passionate bakers both established and new – offering light and airy cakes, flaky pastries, and moreish breads using the finest Japanese or French ingredients.
Pantler first set up shop at Telok Ayer Street in 2014. After almost seven years in this shophouse venue, the owners moved to a larger space at 474 River Valley in February 2021.
The new River Valley address is made up of two units: one side the kitchen, and the other for dining and retail. Here you can find over 20 varieties of cakes and pastries along with cookies, sweets, jams and chocolate, which are great for gifting.
Pantler’s high quality pastries and baked goods are freshly prepared on-site using some of the finest ingredients, such as flour from Japan and A.O.C butter from France, and head chef and co-founder Tomoharu Morita continues to focus on simplicity and craftsmanship for his products.
Signature items include the best-selling Yatsura, composed of hazelnut praline and dark chocolate ganache, as well as Chou a la Crème, a cream puff filled with freshly-made custard studded with almond nougatine.
Other items to sink your teeth into include the Pantler Cheesecake (a cross between a Japanese and New York cheesecake), and Strawberry Shortcake (made with French Isigny cream and Chitose strawberries).
If you’re keen to try new items, go for the Passion Fruit Tart comprising tangy passionfruit curd and genoise in a sugar dough tart, topped with a double cream and fromage blanc mousse. Or the Choco Pistachio – chocolate and pistachio mousse fused with a hazelnut feuillettine base and pistachio jaconde.
Before setting up MorimoriYogashi at 7 Everton Park, Chef Terrian Lim honed his pastry skills at Marina Bay Sands, one-Michelin-star Terra Tokyo Italian restaurant, and trained with several well-known pastry chefs in Paris and Japan.
Lim explains that Morimori means full of energy, and Yogashi means Western desserts. Since launching this small store in 2021, he has rolled out a wide range of hand-made pastries, breads and cakes, using quality ingredients mainly imported from Japan.
This includes Hakurikiko cake flour (low protein flour) for cakes and Kyoryokuko bread flour (high protein flour) for breads. Other ingredients include milk and cream cheese from Hokkaido, kokuto (Okinawa black sugar), mild Hakata sea salt, Sumifru banana, and Shibori yuzu juice.
The best-sellers here are the Fujisawa Garlic Cheese Bread, and signature Hokkaido Burnt Cheesecake. For something different, look out for the Negi Garlic Bread with Japanese spring onion, and Taiyaki Puff (fish-shaped pastry) with matcha and sobacha gelato.
Launched in 2021 at 193 Joo Chiat Road, this small Japanese bakery is only open four days a week, from Thursday to Sunday. Head there early – around 11am – to join the queue to pick up fresh baked items. Otherwise, try your luck at their Goldhill Plaza outlet, which boasts a café.
Kamome is known for its Japanese-style soft toast bread, made using Japanese flour and no preservatives. Other bestsellers include the savoury mentaiko baguette and red bean butter bun.
The latter is filled with smooth red bean paste, balanced with a touch of saltiness from the butter. Or snap up French-style almond financiers and madeleines, as well as pastries like Earl Grey apple custard croissant and puff pastry tarts topped with fruit.
Kki was established in 2010 at Ann Siang Hill by pastry chef Kenneth Seah and his wife Delphine Liau. The business closed in 2017, but in 2020 the couple decided to revive it at 3 Seah Street (adjacent to Raffles Hotel).
The setting here is tranquil and minimalist, sans cake displays. The concept focuses on Japanese ingredients and flavours, using French techniques. Most of the items are Japanese style mousse cakes, prepared a la minute.
To savour Kki’s cakes, an online reservation is essential. Settle into your seat at the long communal table and sip on Lupicia tea from Japan while you wait. Creativity oozes out of the well-balanced desserts: one named “J”, shaped like a grey ceramic pot, is made of black sesame mousse and filled with zesty yuzu cremeux, chocolate-matcha soil and crumbly kinako streusel.
If you like light and fruity flavours, go for the Marronnier cake, comprising chestnut mousse and a centre of red berries and cassis. Kki also collaborates with local creators for Me:Time, a tea set featuring eight limited-edition sweets, changed every four months.
This article was first published in The Peak.