While many Northies in Singapore celebrated the opening of SMRT’s new Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) in April 2022, I celebrated the opening of On’Lee Artisan Bakery, located in Woodlands MRT Station’s new TEL station.
I have absolutely no shame in admitting that when it comes to new bakeries, my pastry-loving heart would drop every single commitment I have just to check it out. And so I hopped on the first train down to Woodlands and found On’Lee Artisan Bakery nestled in the freshly constructed station.
With wooden shelves and tables adorning the small space, the bakery gave off a slightly rustic yet elegant vibe right from the get-go.
If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I’m a huge cheapskate. Anything that burns a hole in my pocket also burns a hole in my heart. Hence, you can imagine my pleasure upon realising that basically all the pastries in the display cabinet were under S$4. Score!
The exception was the refrigerated section containing the cream puffs, swiss rolls and fruit tarts, which were slightly pricier at S$5 to S$8.50, but were still relatively affordable.
After a long deliberation, I settled on a few pastries and cream puffs that particularly attracted my attention.
The downside to a takeaway bakery like On’Lee Artisan Bakery is that after bringing my pastries home, they had gone a little soft and stale. However, I reheated them in my oven for a few minutes and they became crisp and fresh again.
What I tried
First, On’Lee Artisan Bakery’s Pistachio Croissant (S$3.80) intrigued me with its vibrant green cookie crust. I find pistachio desserts rather hard to come by in Singapore, so finding this gem felt akin to stumbling upon a wild Chansey in Pokémon Emerald.
The croissant itself was fantastic, with fragrant, buttery layers and a delightfully crispy golden-brown exterior (after toasting). The lamination of the croissant was absolutely gorgeous, making each bite light and crisp.
The pistachio cookie crust had an unexpectedly strong nutty aroma and an evident pistachio flavour. It reminded me of a crunchier version of Chinese pistachio cookies.
Unfortunately, my praises for this pistachio croissant end here, as I encountered a huge problem: the stingy amount of fillings. The extremely thin layer of pistachio butter was easily drowned out by the buttery pastry it was encased in. With it being one of On’Lee Artisan Bakery’s pricier croissants, I was certainly expecting them to be a lot more generous with the fillings.
Next, I tried On’Lee Artisan Bakery’s best-selling item, the Japanese White Sauce Ham & Cheese Croissant (S$3.80). Now this did not disappoint.
The Japanese white sauce was creamy with milky undertones, which reminded me of carbonara sauce. The roll of ham, which had silky cheese oozing out of it, was tender and flavourful too. I felt like I was eating the croissant version of spaghetti carbonara.
The biggest accomplishment of this croissant was how it managed to balance so many savoury flavours without being too salty. Despite the creaminess of the white sauce and cheese, I did not find it jelak at all. The buttery, fragrant pastry, combined with the milky and umami flavours of its fillings, made this the perfect savoury croissant.
The final croissant I tried at On’Lee Artisan Bakery was their special of the day, the Chocolate Oreo Croissant (S$3.20). I was surprised to find that this croissant contained cream cheese, with the titular “chocolate” being relegated to just two sticks within the cheese.
Generally, I found this croissant rather average. The cream cheese filling was slightly tangy with not enough sweetness to balance it out. Honestly, it tasted store-bought. The chocolate sticks weren’t all that special either, but they did have a rather rich cocoa taste and were heavily reminiscent of pain au chocolat.
I was hoping for the cookie crust to be the saving grace but unfortunately, it paled in comparison to its pistachio counterpart. The cookie had quite a nutty aroma but the lack of a buttery fragrance made it rather one-dimensional.
Moving on from croissants, I opted to try the Banana Walnut Cake (S$2.20).
It was as moist as it looked, boasting a fluffy and slightly spongy texture. While the strength of the banana taste was not as strong as other banana cakes I’ve had, it still had a lovely, aromatic fragrance. The nutty aroma of the crunchy walnuts complemented the cake perfectly.
To end off my On’Lee Artisan Bakery adventure, I enjoyed a box of Mixed Cream Puffs (S$5.80), containing the flavours of two original, one matcha and one chocolate. Each little morsel of goodness oozed with dollops of tantalising cream on the surface.
The original cream puff had a strong, milky flavour with a hint of a buttery aftertaste. The thin cookie crust layer on the surface of the choux pastry had unfortunately gone soft, but it was still fragrant and sweet.
I moved on to the matcha cream puff, which impressed me with its strong matcha aroma. The cream was a tad bitter without being too overwhelming. Compared to other matcha cream puffs I’ve tried, the cream is not as sweet and milky, making it a fantastic treat for matcha purists.
The chocolate cream puff was my personal favourite. It boasted a light, slightly malty flavour similar to that of Milo. Within the cream were many tiny chocolate chips, which were a delight.
Affordable yet artisanal bakes are hard to come by in Singapore. Fortunately, On’Lee Artisan Bakery offers an affordable selection of baked goods that manage to be atas without burning a hole in your pocket. I was generally impressed by the quality of the bakes, especially given their price point, and will definitely return for their other bakes.
Expected damage: S$4 – S$8 per pax
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