Mmmmh! Croissants... Viennoiseries... Pain au chocolat...
Danishes... Tarts... Pastries...
...and deliciously rustic French breads!
This is Frederic Deshayes, chef-owner at Do.Main Bakery at Tanjong Katong, the man behind these divine little treats in life. He is up at the crack of dawn, baking bread and making pastries and desserts using classical French techniques. Chef uses only wheat flour imported from France, as he believes it is best for French breads.
Frederic trained in Lenotre, has worked with pastry star Christophe Michalak at Plaza Athénée in Paris, and lectured at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. He has been in Singapore nine years now, heading the pastry department at At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy, and now calls this island home. He opened Do.Main last Dec to offer the best of a French boulangerie (bakery) and patisserie.
"Do" refers to "dough" and "Main" means "hand" in French. At Do.Main, you can watch the chefs work through a large glass window. I love the immaculately clean and bright kitchen. Wonder if they need an apprentice...
Anyway, Do.Main has now added home-style savoury French dishes beyond sandwiches and quiches. This is in collaboration with his good friends chefs Christophe Megel (founder of A-munition) and Stephane Istel (chef-owner of Bar-Roque Bar & Grill).
Chef Frederic says, "The culinary world is a relational industry. Chefs are constantly sharing their contacts and expertise in an informal way. With this alliance, I offer my advice on all bakery and patisserie matters for my friends while Stephane and Christophe share with me their expertise. This builds up an exciting ecosystem and makes the businesses stronger."
The result is a menu that pays tribute to the baker's role during olden times in France. It may be hard to imagine but there was an era before stoves were invented. Farmers used to prepare dinner by putting ingredients in a cast iron pot in the morning and drop them off at the bakery on the way to the fields. The baker would pop the pots into his warm oven and the meal would be slow-cooked by the end of the day.
"We are first a boulangerie, and the oven is the heart of Do.Main. So it is apt that all savoury dishes are also cooked in the oven," says Chef Frederic. They have also put thought into pairing different types of bread to enhance the dining experience.
For example, thin slices of toasted cereal bread to go with the tomato soup; you get the essential crunch and complex nutty flavours.
Tomato Soup with Toasted Bread (S$6.50)
Chef took a cue from his mother-in-law's recipe for this soup. She serves this thickened with bread crumbs. He wasn't a fan of tomato dishes as a child, and this was the dish that made him fall in love with tomatoes again.
Charcuterie Platter: Duck Pate with Pistachio, Pork Rillette, Kurobuta Ham, Assorted Artisanal Breads ($20)
These are beautifully made by Stephane Istel from Bar-Roque Bar & Grill. Chef Stephane hails from Alsace, France, which is celebrated for its hearty charcuterie. The items change from time to time according to what is seasonal and available.
Cassoulet of Bourguignon Snails, Tomato Fondue and Toasted Bread (S$16)
Oven-baked escargots with garlic, herbs and tomato confit. I did not try this. I know how escargots can be amazing but it's still an acquired taste for me.
"Tartiflette" Ratte Potatoes with Reblochon Cheese and Bacon (S$16)
Now this is my kind of dish - richly flavoured and oozing with melted cheese (and I do love Reblochon), with ratte potatoes (which are a little bit nutty) and chunks of bacon. Comfort food.
"Mac and Cheese" Baked Ravioli with Comte Cheese (S$14)
Another gorgeous baked dish. Mini ravioli set in generous creamy cheese. I bet you can't stop at having just one bite.
Red Wine Oxtail Stew Pie (S$12)
This is oxtail stewed in red wine sauce, and encased in buttery homemade puff pastry. I rather liked this even though I'm not usually a pastry pie fan. It was homey and comforting. Plus it had generous filling of tender beef.
Desserts are often the highlight at any bakery-cafe, but I'm always happier with savoury selections. If you have a higher threshold for sugar than I do, you will enjoy these especially at tea time. From left to right:
"Bourdaloue Pear & Almond Tart" (S$5)
This pear tart is the first recipe Chef Frederic learnt at Lenotre when it was still owned by the Lenotre family. The tarts at Do.Main bakery are all French-style.
Choux pastry cut in half and filled with softly whipped praline cream.
Éclair - salted caramel/chocolate (S$5 each)
The eclairs are done the classic French style. The skin is thin and is completely filled to the brim with filling. Chef Frederic attains that by injecting them into the choux pastry from the sides.
White Coffee Cake (S$8)
This is a special creation here - white coffee mascarpone mousse, 2 layers of coffee sponge sandwiches with white coffee ganache, on a base of sweet dough mixed with gianduja (chocolate mixed with praline paste).
Chouquettes (S$3 per pack)
These choux pastry balls with sugar nibs are one of the hottest selling items here. I'm told Traditionally they are a favourite snack for children in France. But I'm sure they are a guilty pleasure with adults too!
Here's Chef Frederic with his friendly team. One of the surprises you will get here is that the chefs will personally serve the dishes to you. "Who else best to explain them to the diners?" says Chef.
226 Tanjong Katong Road,
Tel: 6348 1406
8am - 9pm (Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday),
8am - 10.30pm (Friday and Saturday),
Closed on Monday
Thanks to FoodCult and Do.Main for the invite to meet with Chefs Frederic and Christophe!