Baker & Cook, Dempsey
Baker and Cook isn’t new to Singapore – in fact, the bakery and cafe chain run by New Zealander Dean Brettschneider has 11 outlets here – but what is new to the establishment is a food trend that’s taken the F&B world by storm of late: plant-based dishes.
The chain’s flagship Dempsey outlet is now its first (and only) to offer a small rotation of plant-based fare, available both for dine-in and take-away. The dishes mainly feature “meat” from Impossible, an American company that makes patties using heme, a type of plant protein extracted from beetroot.
Tucked-away in a serene corner of Dempsey, the 12,000 square foot outlet is surrounded by greenery and features tons of plants on the inside – a perfect nod to the meat-free meal we’re about to partake in.
Apart from a kitchen churning out mains, the restaurant boasts a deli counter where customers can browse a variety of savoury bites and desserts. Those who like the cool of air conditioning can pick from the 60 seats indoors, while there’s space for 20 al fresco diners in an outdoor garden adjacent to a children’s play area.
On to the food. Our night starts with the attractively-plated Baked Baby Heirloom Beetroot ($15). It’s basically a salad comprising two types of roasted beetroot – baby golden and red heirloom – seasoned with thyme, garlic, pepper and sea salt, then dressed with a dash of olive oil and pomegranate molasses.
The beetroot has an earthy, starchy taste, punctuated by a slight sweetness typical of root vegetables. We’ll admit, it’s an acquired taste. The stars of the dish, though, are definitely the crunchy bits: seeded rye crisps and caramelised walnut pieces that have everyone at the table reaching for more.
The next dish is the only one in the plant-based menu that doesn’t use Impossible mince: a piquant Thai Green Curry Pot Pie ($19). Piercing the surprisingly flaky vegan pastry skin (margarine is used instead of butter), we find thick chunks of pumpkin and eggplant cooked so soft, they’re practically falling apart on the spoon. It’s all coated in a strong, aromatic, sneakily spicy curry that only burns your tongue after you swallow. The pineapples in the herb salsa adds a familiar sweetness to the Thai dish. A hearty option for a cold day.
The night’s clear favourite is the Impossible Sausage Roll ($19). Its golden pastry skin, which is the same one used for the pot pie, hides a wonderfully textured, umami-rich filling of Impossible mince kneaded with roasted cashew nuts, onions, mushrooms and garlic. It’s a mix that tastes hearty, yet isn’t overly filling. The cherry on top is the caramelised onion jam, which we scoop eagerly on each bite of our roll. The flavourful jam punctuates the savouriness with just a touch of onion sweetness. Several dining companions can’t stop raving about how they don’t even miss the meat in this.
The Impossible Mushroom Swiss ($22; $26 with fries) arrives as a mouthwatering stack of red onions, tomatoes, rockets, and sautéed mushrooms, layered around a patty and sandwiched between two eggless, quinoa-studded buns. The buns, thankfully, aren’t dry, and the salty vegan cheese makes such a good replacement, we can’t tell the difference. As we bite, we get satisfying wafts of truffle from the creamy but vegan truffle mayonnaise. If the patty was just a tad less rubbery, this would be at the top of our must-order list for the night.
Given that sister chain Plank Sourdough Pizza is right next door, it’d be a crime to leave without sampling the Pizza 10 ($13 for foot-long, $26 for 12-inch). This meatball pizza is, of course, made with Impossible mince. The explosive, tomato-ey sweetness of the homemade sauce goes beautifully with the blessedly chewy, sourdough crust that Plank is known for, which is baked to slightly-charred perfection in an Italian pizza oven.
Rockets, spanish onions, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes add a good range of tastes and textures to each bite of this pizza, and are light and fresh enough to keep it feeling almost healthy. This pizza is, we think, will give vegans and vegetarians a fantastic alternative to the standard mushroom or cheese options.
Baker & Cook @ Core Collective Dempsey
30C Loewen Road
Tel: +65 62511098
Daily: 8am – 10pm
Monday to Thursday, 12pm – 3pm and 6pm – 10pm
Friday to Sunday, 12pm – 10pm