Firebake – The Theatre of Breadmaking Unfolds
Bread, if it were to be well made, is a serious business. And nobody takes bread more seriously than Konstantino Blokbergen, the owner of Firebake. Growing up in Greece and Switzerland on farms and his family’s olive tree grove has given Tino a passion for woodfire cooking and sourdough breadmaking. I first tried Tino’s bread when I was invited to his home last year. That homemade goodness was the highlight of our dinner and he already had plans to open a bakery. One year later, he finally realised his long-held dream of owning a bakehouse.
You can’t make good bread in a bread machine. You need to let nature do her job. Everything at Firebake is ‘back to basics’. Really, the baker takes his time in mixing, hand moulding, fermentation, proofing and heat control. Eventually, the dough has to reach its fullest fruition without artificial additives before it is sent to the woodfire bread oven. The pair of woodfire bread ovens is hand-built from 37 tonnes of brick, sand and mortar.
From raw ingredients, to firewood, to water, everything is as non-processed, sustainable, and close to its natural state as possible. Tino cares passionately about using organic flour that is milled onsite using traditional wood and stone flourmill, water that is pure, and non-processed salt. What’s pure water, you may wonder? They use Nordaq Fresh water filtration system which allows the amount and temperature of water to be precisely calibrated as well.
Sourdough is Firebake’s métier. On the bread board ($10), there are four types of sourdough – Wave (Organic white sourdough loaf), Field (Organic wholemeal sourdough loaf), Valley (Organic sourdough fruit loaf), and Rock (Organic rye sourdough loaf). The breads are all served with butter and Greek olive oil. Each golden and aromatic loaf has a sturdy, almost-burnt crust and chewy, moist interior.
On the menu are tartines, sandwiches, salads, soups, stews, grilled and smoked meats and fish, and baked desserts – all tailored to complement the sourdough breads used in the form of sandwiches, toasts, chips, croutons and bits, and breadcrumbs.
After trying the sourdough with Chicken Liver Pate ($12) and Anchovy Dip ($8), we had the Smoked Eggplant ($15) which is roasted in the woodfired oven and served cold with spiced hummus, marinated heirloom tomatoes, crunchy barley, Manchego cheese and mint. I like the Heirloom tomatoes ($17) marinated in smoked oil overnight. Served with pickled cucumbers with dill, feta marinated in oregano and white sourdough croutons, it was a refreshing start to our dinner.
For the mains, the Norwegian Blue Mussels ($25) was a well-received dish. Cooked in a broth of shallots, garlic, chorizo and Kingpin lager, the mussels had my friends and I busy slurping, dunking and tossing empty shells onto our plates. The Cured Norwegian Salmon ($25) was coated with a rye crust, seared to a nice crisp, and served with Australian leeks that have been sauteed in olive oil.
Meat lovers might like the Grilled Pork Belly ($22) which has been brined, sous vide and grilled. The bubbling on the skin is beautiful. Cooked using the same method, the Roast Half Spring Chicken ($23) is moist and packed with flavour. It is served with beef jus and Pommery mustard.
The Rangers Valley Striploin ($38) is a Wagyu with a marbling score of three. Charcoal grilled till perfection, this part of the meat is gently marbled and full of flavour. It is served with a side of woodfired-roasted Jerusalem artichoke cooked with butter and thyme, as well as chimichurri. This juicy steak will melt in your mouth.
We ended the night with two desserts – Peach dessert ($12) and Firebake Bread and Butter Pudding ($10). That bread and butter pudding was memorable till now. The homemade fruit loaf is toasted with butter and cooked in the woodfire oven for 15 minutes. It has a beautiful crusty top with soft and moist custard inside.
I really enjoyed my dinner at Firebake. The company plays a big part too. It feels like I am dining in a friend’s home as we watched the ‘theatre’ of bread-making unfold.
Firebake - Woodfired Bakehouse & Restaurant
Address: 237 East Coast Road, Level 1, Singapore 428930
Phone: +65 9784 2950 / +65 6440 1228
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sundays, 6 pm – 10 pm Closed on Mondays
Disclaimer: this was an invited tasting.