With the recent relocation of Le Cafe from Peace Centre to Suntec, residents of SeleSep (Selegie-Prinsep obvs) and environs have been bereft of a good bakery. (That’s actually a lie but, for literary effect, nevermind). Thankfully, 3 Petits Croissants has recently stepped up to the proverbial plate. Opening its (many) doors for business on 19th September, the bakery-shaped hole along SeleSep did not last for long. Phew.
Boasting a name that is as naff as Le Caf’ ($10 says it represents 3 partners), 3PC is located on the corner of Prinsep Street and Orchard Road, within the artsy confines of SOTA. It’s large, very large (maybe a bit too large for a bakery), and has enough tables and chairs to seat a small army of patrons. It’s also well-positioned (between Dhoby Ghaut and Bras Basah MRTs), and can expect a lot of pedestrian traffic. Overall it feels like an ambitious project, especially given that its size contravenes (what I believe to be) the key operating principles of a successful bakery: small, homely and transient.
3PC provides a smorgasbord of baked stuff (breads, tarts, viennoiseries and feuillettes) and brews, although the options were limited when I visited. Nonetheless, the occasional wafts of buttery goodness coming from the ovens were satisfying and, I was pleased to note, followed me out the door. In the wonderful world of bakeries, smell really is all that matters. Forget marketing, it’s the smell that does the selling.
Quite small, flat and skinny, this looked a little disappointing. I prefer my croissants to have a little more volume – puffed up and boastful rather than limp and subdued. To be honest, this looked like something you would buy from a supermarket. Visuals aside, I found the flavour of the butter to be a little too residual, which wasn’t helped by the fact that it was only served lukewarm. The outer shell was, however, nice and crisp.
Like the standard crois’, the pain au c. hardly sold me on its appearance. It was, however, quite dense, with multiple layers of pastry encasing the chocolate filling. Whilst the filling was frugal, the chocolate had a nice bitterness to it. Again, it lacked warmth, volume and confidence.
A rather dense financier – certainly more dense than what i’m used to. The texture was moist and heavy (borderline soggy) rather than light and springy, and was the same throughout (i.e. the top and sides were, unfortunately, not crisped). That said, the flavour of the almond came through nicely and, because of its moistness, gave it an almost marzipan-like sweetness. Also comes in lemon. Or citron.
Again, a little on the small side. The amount of raisins used was generous, but they didn’t contribute much (or any) richness to the overall flavour. I found the pastry to be crisp but quite dry, which wasn’t helped by the general lack of creme patisserie filling. Quite expensive for what it was.
A good baguette. It was handmade and well-baked, as shown by the pleasingly irregular shape and well-formed holes inside the dough. A sourdough starter seemed to have been used, which added nuance to the taste. Unfortunately my timing was a little off; I’m sure this thing would have tasted even better if bought fresh.
It’s very early days for 3PC, but I can’t help but feel that it may struggle. The vienoisseries I tried all passed muster in terms of taste, but they all disappointed in terms of texture and visual appeal. 3PC may suffer from having too much space, and too little distinctiveness.