First Look: Clinton St Baking Company

Get your camping gear and cameras ready – New York’s top breakfast spot is opening here

“New York’s No. 1 breakfast spot.” “Best pancakes in New York.” “It’s Mayberry in Manhattan.” The compliments for Clinton St Baking Company come thick and fast – and so do the crowds.

Those who go know they must be prepared to wait a couple of hours for a table. And if you’re unsure of what to expect? The café’s website has a helpful page telling diners the best times to visit.

Now cue the screams, because the Big Apple-based joint is opening a branch here tomorrow, following others in Tokyo and Dubai. Which means you no longer have to fly 20 hours for your fix of blueberry pancakes and sugar-cured bacon, then wait some more for a seat. (Although we’re pretty darn sure there’ll still be a wait. Legit American brunch grub + Singaporeans? C’mon.)

The 60-seat Singapore outlet is a franchise brought in by fans of the New York flagship, and its kitchen is helmed by Australian Garry Edgley, a former Resorts World Sentosa chef.

For the opening though, Clinton St’s American owners, chef Neil Kleinberg and his wife Dede Lahman, will be on site.

According to the couple, “In many ways, Singapore is much like New York – it’s culturally diverse and diners appreciate the nuances of a good meal. Our location in the heritage area of Purvis Street also allows us to offer a cosy neighbourhood vibe, like at our location in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.”

Clinton St SG speaks NY in other ways too: Inside its cosy shophouse space, it’s done up like a mod version of a ’70s American diner, complete with heavy retro crockery, gorgeous oversized pendant lamps over the bar and a marble-floored bathroom. There’s also a pastry counter at the entrance where you can grab a cheddar cheese scone, bacon muffin or a slice of their signature cheesecake.

The menu? It’s largely the same as what’s served in New York, give or take one or two dishes (and slightly smaller portions, to suit our teenier Asian stomachs). The “life-changing sugar-cured bacon” – as one of our colleagues calls it – is there, as are the tasty Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich, fried chicken and waffles, and the famous fluffy pancakes piled with blueberries.

All are made according to the same recipes used in New York, albeit with a combination of local ingredients and others imported from the US, like barley grits, cornmeal and American all-purpose flour.

Remember to leave room for dessert though, because the yummy strawberry and rhubarb pie is worth it. (Ask them to warm it up for you, because otherwise it’s served cold.) It comes heaving with naturally sweet fruit, a delightfully crisp crumble top and beautifully buttery, if slightly stingy, flaky pastry – a fine end to a famous meal.

Clinton St Baking Company, 31 Purvis St, tel: 6684-4845

Opens 19 September 9.05am to 6pm; from 20 September onwards 8am to 6pm

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