Bao Makers reminds me of Baos & Buns in Bangkok which served mantous with various kinds of filling. But Bao Makers has a very Singaporean feel to it, of course, as it's located right in the heart of the heritage area at Jalan Besar. Its industrial chic decor and clean interior is a surefire way of identifying that it is indeed a cafe in Singapore.
Facing the Jln Besar stadium, diners can sit by the window to people watch in the afternoons if they so please.
Bao Makers have also included an interesting element in their shop - this warm snack vending machine, a blast from the past that they're trying to reincorporate into modern eating in offices.
The biggest regret I had that day was not bringing my camera out to shoot! But thankfully, my iPhone still takes somewhat decent shots.
Since I was dining with an old childhood friend, I let him decide on what to order - seeing as how he's been here many times. He said his favourite is the seafood linguine ($16.90), which is a rich and creamy seafood base sauce, topped off with linguine and a mountain of cheese. So sinful, but really good.
You can expect really fresh seafood here and when they say "crabmeat", it is actually real crab meat, probably lovingly scooped out from various Sri Lankan crabs (so much love translated into the dish <3).
Of course, being at Bao Makers, we had to try a couple of the Baos there. If there were more of us, I suppose we could have tried more but since it was only the two of us, we decided to try the pulled pork bun ($5.80) and the Singapore chilli crab bun ($5.80).
I also wanted to try the salted egg shrimp and bulgogi (but my tiny appetite wouldn't allow for that). Perhaps next time when I dine with more friends.
The pulled pork bun was a very juicy, messy bun - the pulled pork is cooked to perfection and each bite is packed with bags of flavour. However, the chilli crab bun was a slight disappointment. The crab, of course, was very well marinated and spiced. But when you go for chilli crab dishes, the real magic should happen in the sauce, which was lacking here. The sauce was a little too watery and bland, though it carried some spice, it didn't do much on the palate overall.
Despite that, the chilli crab bun was actually quite tasty - I reckon if they just called it a spicy crab bun, it would have met every single one of my expectations.
Bao Makers Cafe & Bakery
78, Horne Rd
Open Weekdays from 12pm to 10pm, Saturdays from 11am to 10pm and Sundays from 11am to 6pm