New tenants have been trickling into NEWest; while F&B establishments such as Thrive Kitchen and Nasi Coco had already left the building, Sesame & Bagels is the latest concept to have moved into the still largely unoccupied complex.
Taking over the spot situated next to now-defunct Thrive Kitchen/Nasi Coco, Sesame & Bagels is easily seen from Ayer Rajah Expressway, occupying the unit which faces both the expressway as well as being conveniently located at one of the main entrances of the building. Decked in a minimalist design scheme, Sesame & Bagels features a largely white-colored interior, flanked with furnishings with a gold accent to provide a simple, yet modern and chic look to the space. As the name suggests, Sesame & Bagels’ menu seems to focus largely on bagels; the establishment offers a small variety of bagels with options of either having them with schmears or in sandwich form. Tartines are also offered as an option on the menu, while they also provide patrons with a couple of dessert options such as cakes, tarts, and puffs to end off the meal. Beverages, such as specialty coffee, is also available for patrons who need to pair up their bagels with a beverage. It is also noted that apart from serving bagels, Sesame & Bagels does offer patrons other forms of bread, sold in loaves, for takeaway.
(Cheese Bagel with Garlic Mayo schmear)
Going for a bagel with their variety of schmears, we picked the Cheese Bagel to go along with the Garlic Mayo schmear. Presented pretty simply with the bagel sliced into half, with the Garlic Mayo spread in between and sliced into another half yet again, the Garlic Mayo schmear is one that would appeal to those who love savoury food; the garlic mayo spread was no doubt dense, filled with chunks of diced garlic which further enhances the flavour of the schmear. It pairs well with the Cheese Bagel; while the bagel itself does not carry a distinct cheesiness, we did like how the bagel gave a pretty firm bite whilst being chewy; all that without being too tough to chew. Overall, a pretty simple, yet satisfying item for those who are looking for something light.
(Roast Beef with Sesame Bagel)
We also went for the bagel sandwiches available on the menu; the Roast Beef bagel sandwich — the sandwich features elements such as roast beef, pickles, and tomatoes. For our order, we also went for the Sesame Bagel. Being one of the few classic combinations on the menu here (apart from the Lox, which features smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onions, capers, and beetroot), the Roast Beef is a rather safe item to go for. The sesame bagel comes pretty decent; the same chewy bread that comes with a firm bite; this time round coming with sesame seeds over the top, as well as a light sprinkle of salt which helps to provide a light saltishness that lifts the flavour of the entire bagel sandwich. Coming in between the bagel, the roast beef was generous in portion and decent; not too gamey, while being reasonably tender and not being too tough nor dry. The meatiness is aptly cut with the inclusion of pickles, which helps to provide a refreshing zing in between bites, while the slices of tomatoes were pretty juicy and refreshing. While the bagels sandwiches are rather decent when it comes to taste, we felt that they could probably do a little bit more in terms of presentation; perhaps something neater, and somewhat reveals the condiments would probably do more justice to how it.
(Sriracha Chicken with Onion Bagel)
Another bagel sandwich that we had was the Sriracha Chicken bagel sandwich. The Sriracha Chicken bagel sandwich comes with elements such as Chicken Thigh, Red Onion, and Mayo. We went for the Onion Bagel for this particular order. While the resulting flavour profile was something which we felt was a little lighter than the Roast Beef bagel sandwich, we liked how the chicken thigh did carry just a light savoury note, though could be a little juicier. The combination of red onions provided a bit of crunch, while the mayonnaise helped to gel all the elements together with its creamy texture. The bagel itself carried a similar texture that was consistent with the sesame bagel we had with the Roast Beef bagel sandwich, as well as the Cheese Bagel which we ordered with a schmear; the only difference was the fried onion bits over the top, which helped to provide a shallot-esque flavour.
Ending off the meal with a sweet treat, we ordered the Swiss Roll; the swiss roll that was available on the day of our visit was a Strawberry Shortcake-inspired creation. The Swiss Roll was nothing much to shout about, considering how it felt a little dry though still relatively fluffy; perhaps having been sitting in the display fridge for a while before we ordered. That being said, the vanilla cake did carry a slight hint of aroma; a pretty light flavour which went well with the light pastry cream in the middle which comes with strawberries for a light hint of tartness and zing to tingle the taste buds. The entire cake comes topped off with a cream cheese frosting, which gives the cake a slight saltish flavour; something we felt a tad unnecessary though may work for some.
Not missing out on any opportunities of having a cream puff, we also had the Puff, which comes with Vanilla pastry cream. Like most cream puffs out there, the Puff was well-filled with Vanilla pastry cream; the Choux pastry being pretty light and crisp with a light saltishness. That being said, we felt the cream felt rather heavy on dairy, and carried a distinct aftertaste which we were not too fond of. That being said, the Puff does come at a size larger than usual, though did not feel particularly jelak.
Overall, Sesame & Bagels is a decent addition to the neighbourhood; a cafe with a focus on bagels that would serve the residents in the area well considering how the mall is being situated amidst private property, seemingly targetting the expats in the area. While the bagels are of a respectable quality, we cannot help but to compare them against Two Men Bagel House; an establishment that had since enjoyed a massive following with its well-executed bagels and stellar combinations of smoked meats at its Novena location. While situated in two very different areas serving different audiences, we cannot help but to compare the two; it seems that while the bagels do seem to be worthy of coming for, the condiments are probably Sesame & Bagels’ weakest link. The execution could have been more refined; more flavourful and more texture, while the options also seem less exciting in general. We also felt that they had some room for improvement when it comes to the desserts; again, more emphasis on both texture and flavours would help to enhance the experience. That being said, the service is warm and hospitable; genuine staff that engages in small talk with their patrons and also introducing patrons to their concept. Even passion behind the craft can be observed when watching the staff prepare the food behind the scenes; something which we always enjoyed seeing at any indie establishment. Sesame & Bagels is a spot with a bit of potential, offering locals yet another option for bagels; something that is not yet commonplace in Singapore. As long as they take in constructive feedback and make the necessary adjustments, it is somewhere to watch in the long run …
Sesame & Bagels
3 West Coast Drive