Just last week I wrote about some delicious, limited edition bakkwa I had tasted, made from free-range pigs. Perfect for gifting to loved ones during the upcoming Chinese New Year period. This week, I want to share with you what I feel are the perfect snacks to serve family and friends when they come-a-visiting. Personally, I’m not a fan of the usual CNY snack fare. Too much of it is just bad for you or poorly made (as my wife S likes to say about such things, “wasted calories”). This year, I want to serve something artisanal and addictive, something special that’s been made with love and passion. And I believe I have found it: the baklava from Overdoughs.
If you haven’t tried the baklava from this tiny little bakery-cum-cafe on Waterloo Street, you are totally in a for a treat. Owned by Roxanne Toh and her partner Bjorn Shen, the chef-owner of Artichoke (which is pretty much across the street), Overdoughs produces what is hands down the best baklava in Singapore. And not satisfied with just mastering the traditional style, Rox serves up seven different kinds. My own personal favourites, in order, are the fig baklava, the cashew baklava, and the chocolate baklava. My wife S, always very VERY picky when it comes to pastries, was totally blown away by the fig baklava. It’s hard to describe how good it is; you just have to head over and try one. The cashew baklava I especially love because in a weird way it reminds me of those crumbly Chinese peanut candies (which I also love).
Rox’s baklava are all excellent. One thing worth noting is that they are not as sweet as the traditional baklava you would get in Greece or Turkey. When I asked her about this, she admitted that, so far, local customers seem to prefer their baklava less sweet or syrupy (than the norm). Which is fine with her. Her goal is to sell pastries, not provide case studies in or preach about authentic Mediterranean or Middle Eastern desserts. Even then, every once in a while, a new customer will remark on how sweet “these baklava things” are.
Roxanne and Bjorn opened Overdoughs a mere five months ago, and in that time have built up a small and devoted following. Some of my own colleagues are die-hards, addicted to not just the baklava but Rox’s other desserts. Overdoughs also sells, as Rox calls then, “modern pastries”, i.e. pastries based on traditional recipes but with slight tweaks to their ingredients. Among the ones worth trying are a super sinful and very rich Snickers pie, a soursop meringue tart, orange cake filled with lemon custard, and some divinely decadent maple bacon brioche buns.
Overdoughs is definitely a place worth checking out. Sadly, Roxanne and Bjorn have informed me that they will be leaving their current premises at the end of January 2013 (because they now face a construction site, which is not good for patronage). They are currently looking for the perfect new space. But in the interim, you will still be able to purchase Rox’s amazing baklava and other pastries from Artichoke. Bjorn is setting up a counter space in the cafe & bar for her.
If you do take my advice and decide to serve some of Overdoughs’ oh-so-good baklava for CNY, please call ahead and either check what they have available before dropping by, or order in advance. Very often, they are sold out of several items (they are that good and the production is that small).