Originally online retail businesses set up by pastry-chef-turned-businessman Daniel Tay, Old Seng Choong and Cat and the Fiddle have been known for their traditional local pastries and cheesecakes respectively. As of 7 January 2018, both have brick and mortar establishments at Clark Quay Central, much to fans’ delight We check out what’s in store.
Old Seng Choong
Daniel Tay started as a French-trained pastry chef at fine dining restaurant Les Amis, before leaving to start up successful businesses Bakerzin and Foodgnostic. Baking has always been in his blood: his father was a pastry chef with a confectionery shop in Marine Parade, which was once a household name. Unfortunately, the shop closed down in 1995 after an unsuccessful expansion attempt led by Daniel. “I started Old Seng Choong as a tribute to him (two years ago),” says Tay, “and although we are an e-business, the ultimate dream was to see the name, once again, above a store front.” The launch of the physical Old Seng Choong store earlier this month was the result of what Tay notes as an opportune time for business expansion.
With antique-themed wooden tables lining the shop interior and Peranakan-inspired floor tiles, Old Seng Choong’s shop is a veritable homage to bakeries of the past. The melange of aromas from the nostalgic snacks plays up the experience. An ornate brass inlay of the Old Seng Choong brand proudly adorns the entrance of the shop. But what takes the cake is a traditional kachang puteh stand inside the shop. You can buy a variety of roasted and fried nuts and legumes to snack on while browsing.
At the store, Old Seng Choong is showcasing its brand-new line-up of cookies, each themed after a particular aspect of Singapore heritage. The Kampong Spirit Edition (starting from $18.80 per can) includes flavours of satay, cereal prawn, bak kut teh (spicy pork soup) and putu mayam. The highlights of the edition were the satay and bak kut teh flavours: the satay cookies boast coriander and cumin notes with an unmistakable flavour of peanut sauce at the end, while the bak kut teh cookies reminded me of the Chinese angelica and licorice root that we have become so accustomed to in our herbal bak kut teh soups.
Apart from Kampong Spirit, Old Seng Choong also has the Colonial Spirit ($18.80) and Lion City (starting from $18.80) editions, which feature cookie flavours such as Earl Grey tea, gula melaka, and even laksa.
Along with these editions of cookies, Old Seng Choong retains its seasonal line-up of festive treats under its Festive Blooms Edition. Under this edition, red date cakes, pineapple tarts, mooncakes, pies and log cakes are featured regularly. Tay maintains that all his products are made with completely natural products.
Old Seng Choong’s products provide an updated iteration of local traditional flavours, all nicely presented in striking, modern packaging . Not only do they make great gifts for those looking for a nostalgic experience the good old days, but also as gifts for friends of foreign countries and souvenirs for travellers.
Cat and the Fiddle
Cat and the Fiddle was established in 2013, becoming Singapore’s first online premium cheesecake retailer known for its exciting and innovative flavours such as the Sweet and Smoky Taffy ($32.90) and King Cat of the Mountain ($42.90), a Mao Shan Wang Durian cheesecake. However, customers were only able to order entire cakes online. Daniel recognised this restriction and the launch of the physical store meant “those discovering Cat and the Fiddle for the first time can experience our cakes one slice at a time before they jump in to order whole cakes”. His hope is that with an array of customisation options and some clever technology on hand, the store can offer customers a more personalised experience with his famous cheesecakes.
Cat and the Fiddle’s brick and mortar store goes in a totally opposite direction compared to Old Seng Choong‘s – completely modern and making use of 21st century technology. The shop is awash with colourful visuals and displays, which plays to the energetic and light-hearted vibe of the brand.
Cat and the Fiddle one-ups the competition by bringing in a live toppings station for a more individualised cheesy experience. Of course, ingredients are one hundred percent original and natural, yielding cheesecakes that maintain a clean balance of flavours and do not overwhelm the palate.
Customers are encouraged to personalise their own slices of Cheesecake Pop ($7.50) with the smorgasbord of toppings on offer, ranging from chocolate sauce and rainbow sprinkles to nuts, Oreo cookies, M&Ms and more.
Of course, if you’re hankering for Cat and the Fiddle’s well-established flavours, you can always choose from a range of 15 different cheesecake creations (from $4.90 to $5.90) at the counter. People looking for an entire cake can turn to the Fickle Feline ($48.90) – a cheesecake that features 10 different slices of cake of the customer’s choosing (available in alcoholic and non-alcoholic flavours).
Customers ordering a full cake for a special occasion can engage the services of Cat and the Fiddle’s German-made Procusini 3.0 3D Food Printer, which creates 3D decorations (starts from $2) using a variety of food-grade materials such as chocolate, fondant and marzipan. The printing process happens on the spot in a rapid 5 minutes, and customers can provide their own designs to fit their ordered cakes! The idea was inspired by a drive to leverage technology to update the traditional cake ordering and collection process, as well as conventional method of decorating cakes.
Stencils with icing sugar or cocoa powder and special-message tags are available for those who prefer simpler options. There’s even an onsite photo booth, where customers have the option of creating one-of-a-kind greeting cards to go with their cake purchases. Indeed, this brick-and-mortar store takes Cat and the Fiddles cheesecakes’ tried and tested formula and garnishes it with special toppings (literally!).
Old Seng Choong: 6 Eu Tong Seng Street, #01-48, Clarke Quay Central, Singapore 059817.
Cat and the Fiddle: 6 Eu Tong Seng Street, #01-41, Clarke Quay Central, Singapore 059817.