Visiting Westgate for the first time last week was really a fruitful experience for me as it is a new mall with new (finally!) shops to explore besides different dining options and of course this enticing bakery too. No good bakery escapes my eyes, lol. That’s how passionate I am with breads, not just any other breads but artisan breads like these.
Johan Paris sounds French-y but it is very much a Japanese bakery that serves up French-inspired confections. The staff dishing out trays and trays of fresh bakes as well as the counter staff are all Japanese. And even the bread labels are decked in Japanese characters too. Typical of the Isetan Supermarket culture. Johan Paris is actually located within the supermarket as its standalone bakery department just like Sun Moulin at Isetan Scotts.
I was curious to see people crowding around the bakery entrance and wondered if there might be some really uniquely flavoured bread that I shouldn’t miss out on. It turned out to be a small table with baskets of assorted breads for sampling.
That’s right. Free food. Never fails to draw people. So I joined in and took a bite of the bun on the extreme right. My eyes immediately lighted up. It was like one of the best breads I’d eaten in a long while. So the next thing to do was to grab a tray and pair of thong and start on my bread acquisition exercise.
Everything on display just looked so good. There were neat looking pastries as well as unpretentious, country-like buns. All freshly baked in store.
One of the Japanese ladies working there told me the bread I had tried was this.
The exterior of the rustic looking bun was crusty and crispy but the interior was so moist and fluffy. There was a nice chew to the texture which I really liked. And I thought the walnut bits and apple cubes were in perfect harmony. Nutty, crunchy and sweet at the same time. It was like eating a beam of sunshine. It might be a little expensive but it was well worth every penny. Couldn’t resist packing half a dozen of these home.
The second bread that I managed to try from the sampling table was this. Again, another winner for me.
It was just a simple small plain french baguette brushed with this really savoury mentaiko (spicy cod roe) spread on top. When did mentaiko on bread ever tasted this good? If you just licked the pinkish coloured mentaiko off the surface, it’d taste really salty on the tongue but once coupled with the bread, the saltiness was immediately neutralised. If you like bacon on toast, you’d definitely enjoy this. Highly addictive.
When the husband saw the Kouign Amann, he was excitedly gesturing to me to grab one. Thank goodness we only got one piece because it wasn’t exactly what we expected it to be comparing with the one from Tiong Bahru Bakery that is a rolled up pastry filled with layers and layers of butter and sugar.
This, was like a cross between a croissant and a doughnut with only some sticky caramel on one side. Not buttery or sugary enough to deserve the name. The interior was light and fluffy but dry and flat and the exterior was just too greasy to the touch.
A lovely golden brown crust blankets this sweet milky bun that comes with cranberry bits nestled inside its cloud-fluffy soft body but I couldn’t taste any white chocolate in it. A little disappointing.
This pretzel was firm and crispy like a biscuit. Not sure if it meant to be like that or it was overcooked in the oven as it tasted a little bitter. I had expected a pretzel with a soft, chewy texture like Auntie Anne’s but this was way too crunchy for my liking. The caramel on top was sweet and reminded me of Almond Roca because it wasn’t sticky or gooey and the crushed nuts really gave it a nice nutty flavour.
This was a fromage tart topped with mixed berries and cream cheese. The crust was soft like croissant bread and not crumbly like a pastry tart. The cream cheese custard was subtly sweetened but lacked the rich cheesy flavour. The berries were also too sour and they just spoiled the entire tart.
Is this bakery still worth a return visit? Of course, even though it’s located at the other end of Singapore and out of the way for me. It’s worth coming back for the walnut & apple bun as well as the mentaiko bread and the rest of the breads that I’ve yet to try. It’s a guilty carb pleasure I wouldn’t mind treating myself to over and over again.
Johan Paris @ Westgate
3 Gateway Drive, #B2-01 (Isetan)
Tel: 6465 9926