Hellooooo Clinton Street Baking Co!!! Welcome to Singapore! On this hazy day, the famed New York City brunch bakery/cafe unexpectedly opened on our sunny shores. Who would have thought we loved brunch so much that it was worthy of NYC’s best?! Singapore can now boast to be the second Asian country to house this cafe after Tokyo. Last Wednesday, when yours truly first read in The Straits Times, of the impending opening at 9.05am on 19 September 2015, my eager beaver self kicked into full gear! I rounded up three girlfriends and drew up a plan of action. Frequent readers know I do not respond well to queues. After reading about the notorious two-and-a-half hours queue at the NYC flagship, the plan was arrive early: 8am. Of course my girls did not have to join me then but must arrive before 9.05 am. So this morning I got up at 7.15, left home without makeup, and made my way to No. 31 Purvis Street. Thanks to a bus detour. I reached at 8.30am. Late but still second in line. This worked very well. Thanks to a boast on social media, the cafe gifted us girls a slice of the Black & White Layer Cake. This was totally worth the early morning call! Plus superb service, they constantly inquired how us girls were faring, and our feedback on the food. It made for a wonderful morning. So wonderful in fact that we sat at our comfy American diner-style counter booth from 9 am to 12 pm!
What’s the big deal? You might ask. This brunch cafe is NYC’s #1 breakfast spot! Plus it is the city’s go-to destination for pancakes since chef-husband-and-wife team Neil Kleinberg and DeDe Lahman opened in April of 2001. For the exciting and established food scene in NYC, that says a lot!
Now on to the food. Seriously, go google, everyone harps on about the warm maple butter sauce! Accompanied with every pancake order, apparently only high grade maple syrup is used in the sauce. But let me tell you, the pancakes themselves were so worth the calories. Plus at S$18 for three huge slices, unbelievably, this is cheaper than the NYC flagship at S$19.50 (US$14 at US$1:S$1.40).
Plus there was no extra charge for additional maple butter sauce unlike the NYC flagship (US$2.50). Oops, it turned out there was an extra charge of S$2 for additional maple butter sauce – we were not informed and I did not look carefully at the receipt. But still go now!
Clinton Street Company’s menu boasts a artery-clogging list of Southern brunch food. We began with an assortment of sweet and savouries before moving on to desserts. Let me first discuss the pancakes because they are the most talked-about.
Crucially, I could go on and on about the texture of the pancakes. They were fabulous – fluffy to the max! The pancakes sprang away from my knife when I sliced into them. Amazing! When I sliced the pancakes into fours, I knew before eating they were going to be good. The bouncy texture was undeniable. The maple butter sauce may be harped about often but in my opinion, the pancakes themselves are equally worth the hype. Credit must be given to the perfect consistency. Plus the blueberry sauce was thankfully thick and perfectly sweetened. I was afraid of a cloying-sweetness. But no, it was tampered to our Asian palates.
Later my girlfriend ordered the Banana Walnut Pancakes (with a side of scrambled eggs) and guess what? They were better than the blueberry ones! We could not believe it!
A word about the famed maple butter sauce. It was not very maple-y. We feedback that to the cafe when they asked. If you like maple syrup, you will be disappointed. I don’t so I loved it!
Another irresistible dish we ordered: Fried Chicken & Waffles (chicken breast with honey-tabasco sauce, a crispy Belgian vanilla buttermilk waffle, and their signature warm maple butter.) The chicken breast was pretty remarkable with its moistness and crispy skin. I particularly enjoyed the crispy waffle. For those without a sweet tooth, you will enjoy this more than the pancakes.
In the spirit of adventure, we also ordered a rarely-seen Southern dish, Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich: Scrambled eggs, melted cheddar, house made tomato jam, with hash browns and additional bacon. This dish was extremely exciting as there were so many elements. Served on a densed buttermilk biscuit, one half was smeared with an obviously-homemade thick tomato paste. The other topped with scrambled eggs and a dollop of cheddar cheese. A carbylicious charred hashbrown served on the side.
Wah guys! Every element was so well-executed!!! Amazing man! Even the scrambled eggs were spectacular with its creamy yet light texture. Perfectly contrast with the thick biscuits. The hashbrown was a smooth mashed potato patty. I could not stop picking at it. No wonder this dish was voted one of 10 Best Breakfast Sandwiches in NYC.
Despite our heavy mains, we knew we had to order some desserts. We were there already, might as well sin all the way, right? The cafe surprised us with a slice of Black & White Layer Cake. Being a social media whore does come in handy albeit at a price to the waistline. This slice was huge although we joked in a couple of months time, it will shrink. Typical Singapore food scene. But I really must admit, this was not the best slice of cake any of us had. If anything, it was our least favourite of the morning. The sponge slices were too densed with the white layer much dryer than the black ones. And the frosting, let me warn you first ah, American sweet. Which means, cloyingly sweet! So sweet, I felt like my teeth were gonna drop out.
But the Peanut Butter Ice Box Pie (chocolate ganache, whipped peanut butter mousse, graham cracker crust, with chocolate shavings) is a must-order. Again it is cheaper than the NYC flagship! At S$9.50 compared to US$7 (S$9.80). The toasted peanuts amped up the whole slice measurably. A super light mousse combined with thick ganache and crust – one of our collective favourites of the morning.
Great food and cheaper than the NYC flagship, I foresee unbearable long queues in the coming weeks. Today, by 12pm, we were suffering from some serious food coma. I needed a second cup of black coffee but I can’t think of a better way to start the weekend! Yayyy the addition of Clinton Street Baking Co to the Singapore food scene.