Last weekend, we visited the French Bookshop at Tiong Bahru to look for French books for Albert. The charming bookshop occupies a small space in an old shophouse. When you step in, you can smell a very pleasant and inviting fragrance that makes you feel like you’re in Europe. The shop has a good variety of old and new French books and materials. During our visit, the shop was hosting a small photography exhibition for a local photographer.
Since it was our first time to be around Tiong Bahru, I thought of spending our lunch around the area. We walked around to look for good eats. Less than 5 minutes’ walk from the French Bookshop, we found a small coffee shop. In Singapore, “coffee shop” means an eatery near residential areas, not Starbucks, The Coffee Bean or Gloria Jean’s Coffee. If you’re on a budget, coffee shop is a good place to have your meal, aside from hawker and food court.
One interesting stall in this particular coffee shop is Ah Bong Italian. Recommended by danielfooddiary.com, Ah Bong Italian surprisingly serves good pasta, better than other restaurants in Singapore at very affordable price. We ordered Pork Genovese (S$6), Fish Roe Carbonara (S$8) and Chestnut & Mushroom (S$6). I was supposed to order Mac & Cheese for Albert and Earl Grey Crème Brulee for myself, however the “last order” was already served. Chris, the chef and owner personally served the last pasta to be served for the day. He also apologized for not being able to serve Mac and Cheese and Crème Brulee. Such an unexpected and wonderful service from a coffee shop food stall. It’s seldom to experience this kind of service with a personal touch nowadays, so we really appreciated Chef Chris’s gesture.
While enjoying our pasta, I searched online for a good place to have some dessert. I found Tiong Bahru Bakery, a shop recommended ladyironchef.com, just at the other side of the block. And they sell scones! It was a pleasant surprise to see scones in a bakery in Singapore coz I seldom see them I quickly made up my mind and ordered Rasins and Cranberry Scones.
I was still craving for more scones so I decided to make Cranberry Scones for our tomorrow’s breakfast and as Albert’s school snacks in the next few days. I adapted this recipe from Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger. I just changed a few items: (1) instead of ½ cup currants, I used ¼ cup cranberries, (2) lesser butter and (3) I used buttermilk for brushing instead of heavy cream.
- 3 cups flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries (you can add upto ½ cup)
- 1 tablespoon buttermilk, for brushing
- Preheat oven to 205 C or 400 F. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Add butter and mix with your fingertips to a coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and mix just until combined. Add the cranberries.
- Transfer the dough to a floured board and divide into 2 parts. Roll each to 3/4 inch thick rounds. Cut each round into 8 and place slightly separated on a greased baking sheet. Brush the tops with the buttermilk, and bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm, split in half with butter and jam.
The French Bookshop
Address: 55 Tiong Bahru Road Singapore 160055
Opening hours: 11am – 6pm(Tue-Sat) 11am – 3pm(Sun) Closed On Monday
Ah Bong Italian
Address: 56 Eng Hoon St #01-46 Singapore 160056
Tel: 9650 6194
Opening hours: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm(Mon – Sat) Closed On Sunday
Tiong Bahru Bakery
Address: 56 Eng Hoon St #01-70 Singapore 160056
Tel: 6220 3430
Opening hours: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm(Sun-Thur) 8:00 am – 10:00 pm(Fri-Sat)