Choco Teddy bun $1.50
Sometimes it seems like Bread Story is the new Krispy Kreme. When those yeasted donuts first arrived in Sydney two years ago, it seemed like anyone carrying around those dotted boxes had a certain skip to their step. Today in Chinatown, it feels like Bread Story is the new season must-have. The distinctive frosted Bread Story tote bags seem to jauntily hang off the arm of every second businessman, uni student or office worker.
I'd been trying to avoid their new store in Chinatown, their second outlet after Ultimo, on the prime corner property once inhabited by Maxim's. Sure I popped in every now and then just for a look, but I'd tried them once before and given the higher prices, my allegiances remained with the old skool Asian bakeries.
But in the name of research *cough cough* I thought it only fair I conduct some sampling.
Bread Story, Chinatown
The first Bread Story chapter (haha) opened in Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur in 2002. Jun Low, a Singaporean former stockbroker, set out to create a boutique bakery that deliberately tapped into the luxury market, where presentation, ambience and freshness were of utmost importance.
All Bread Story stores have see-through glass kitchens so customers can watch the bakers at work. It reminds me of the food halls in Japan department stores and I do admit to often standing there, staring, as they stretch, shape and garnish raw blobs of dough.
Bread Story in-store baker
Buns ready for baking
Freshly baked buns
One of the noticeably different features about Bread Story is their use of perspex drawers to house each bakery item. I'm sure this has been done to deliberately create subconscious parallels with the sliding display drawers in jewellery shops.
There's a mind-boggling array of products on offer, all of them uniform in shape and prettily presented. Wacky names are often included too.
Pumpkin seed bun
My biggest bug bear with Bread Story is the excessive use of plastic: each bun is slid into its own individual heavy plastic bag, and then all of these are then placed into another plastic carry bag.
What we've sampled:
Green tea bun
I love matcha anything but I found this was too much bun, not enough matcha. The buns are scarily soft here and the glaze is thick and sticky.
Yameshima purple yam and taro $2.40
I yam a fan of purple tubers and taro and I quite liked this one, which had quite a strong yam flavour courtesy of its generous purple slathering. The toasted almonds were a nice touch too.
Milky Drop $1.80
I had no idea what was inside the Milky Drop until I carefully carved it open:
Milky Drop innards
This tasted exactly like soft white bread sandwiched with condensed milk. It was soft white bread sandwiched with condensed milk. Which made me wonder, why didn't I just buy a loaf of soft white bread and sandwich it with condensed milk?
Custard Swirl $1.80
The first time we bit into a custard swirl, the heady aroma of eggy custard that hit us was remarkable. The small dollop of custard is bright yellow, sweet and eggy. The bun is super super soft and sweet. There's usually a huge air pocket inside too.
Hero Choc $2.40
The Hero has its name as such because, as explained on the Bread Story website, it is "like all heroes, soft inside, crusty outside".
The crusty orb looked too good to pass up, so we added it to our tray of goodies.
Hero Choc innards
There's a huge crater inside but despite its appearances, it's quite a rich bun--I had half and still felt slightly ill. This could have much to do with its coating of salted butter and caramel mocha crust; the texture is sweet and crunchy, a somewhat denser caramelised version of the crust on polo buns. The bun is eggy and rich, with a flavour and texture akin to choux pastry.
We also tried the Stairway to Heaven, a long skinny bun filled with mango cream (photos were taken but were somehow corrupted on my memory stick). My two tasting colleagues adored this one, but I again had issues with the bun's spongy softness and the thick cloying aftertaste of mock cream.
But even though I wasn't bowled over taste-wise by its products, there's still an insidious addictiveness to Bread Story. Everything is so pretty, the staff uniforms are so cute and the buns on offer are new and innovative after decades of same-old same-old fare.
It's five minutes of fun and extravagance for about $2.00. Whether I'd still go back after I've tried all that's on offer is a whole other story.
There are currently 21 Bread Story stores in Malaysia, 2 in Kuwait, 8 in Indonesia and 2 in Sydney. Plans for expansion possibly include Pakistan, Bangladesh, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Bread Story (CLOSED)
Haymarket, Chinatown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9281 2313
Monday to Friday 7am-10pm
Saturday and Sunday 9am-10pm
Related GrabYourFork posts:
Bread Story on Broadway, Ultimo
Closure of Maxim's, Chinatown
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8/03/2006 11:58:00 p.m.