The woodfire ovens of this unique bakehouse and restaurant promises a taste of historical European breadmaking and cooking that’s one of its kind in Singapore
Firebake is the first full-scale woodfire bread oven in Singapore, using European historical techniques of breadmaking. Located in East Coast and founded by veteran food & beverage consultant Konstantino Blokbergen, Firebake is a hardcore celebration of the ancient pathways of breadmaking, and the importance of human touch in the process.
Firebake’s crowning feature is its twin woodfire ovens. One dome-shaped and the other tunnel-shaped, they allow bread to be baked and selected dishes to be slow-cooked. Hand built from some 5,000 bricks by specialized craftsmen over 6 weeks, they are a primal presence and the heart of the restaurant
Mixing, fermentation, shaping, proofing, baking … it is an intricate symphony in which the baker is the conductor, transforming flour, water and wild yeast, through the medium of woodfire into golden, aromatic loaves. Sourdough is Firebake’s métier. Relying on natural leavening, it is the method bakers have used since the beginning of breadmaking; until some 150 years ago when industrially processed flours and commercial yeasts became the norm.
But here’s the difference: everything at Firebake is ‘back to basics’; everything’s ‘real.’
Beginning with the all-natural ingredients. The flour is organic, sourced mostly from Western Australia; and plans are afoot to introduce batches of global ancient wholegrains, milled onsite using traditional wood and stone flourmill. The salt is natural, non-processed, non-iodised. Firebake’s elaborate Nordaq Fresh water filtration system supplies the baking process with water that is as pure as humanly possible yet with natural salts and minerals intact — ‘the most primitive stage of water’. The system allows the amount and temperature of water to be precisely calibrated as well.
Even the materials that make up the restaurant are consciously natural, ‘ascetic’; such as volcanic stones in the ovens, recycled and reclaimed wood in the furnishing, and cast iron in the stoves and cookware.
To replicate hand-mixing techniques, two 1970s mixers with stainless steel bowls were brought in from Germany. There are also two 1880s refurbished Husqvarna cast iron stoves from Sweden, heated using woodfire and allowing for both top- cooking as well as baking within the stove.
History shapes food at Firebake, bringing joy and meaning to cook and diner. Following the dictates of #slowdoughrealbread, the baker takes his time in mixing and hand moulding, in fermentation, proofing and heat control. Each process is allowed to draw to its proper conclusion, the dough to reach its fullest fruition without artificial additives. The baker’s eyes, nose, fingers, and even ears, tell him when the time is right.
For above all, sourdough breadmaking is a dance between man and nature, between recipe and microbes. The most important processes occurring are actually biological. The sourdough ‘starter’ contains some 20 types of yeast and 50 different bacteria. The rising dough is a zoo of enzymes, starches, proteins, sugars, amino-acids and minerals. Marshalling this chaotic eco-system, and turning it into something delicious, nutritious and good to look at, is what the baker does through intuition, experience, knowledge, passion and a sense of aesthetics.
This is food with (old) soul. This is alchemy.
To “break bread” – share bread with your neighbour — is one of the oldest gestures of goodwill and bonding. Being located in the heart of a vibrant, close-knit suburb makes Firebake an ideal destination to bring the community together over good, soulful bread and food. Firebake aims to give away oven ash for free to any green fingers around the
neighbourhood for gardening, and plans to allocate days on which baking enthusiasts can bring their loaves to the ovens for baking.
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In the past in old Europe, the entire community would get together and bake bread on Sunday after church. Firebake embraces this tradition and recaptures its comforting spirit in its bread craft and a food experience that is best enjoyed with breads. On the menu are tartines and 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.
FIREBAKE Bread Board, 4 assorted slices of bread with Greek extra virgin oil and Norwegian butter. This is a great way to try Firebake assorted slices of bread. Personally I liked the last piece with chunky dried fruits. The Norwegian Butter taste light and not so heavy compared to the usual butter.
Heirloom tomato, pickled cucumber, feta, oregano.
This is refreshing especially in summer days. Chef liked it so much that he made it even when he moved to other parts of Europe, he said it always remind him of his childhood days growing up in Greece.
4-Spice chicken liver pate. We liked that the chicken liver pate is light, tastes great over toasted, crispy bread slices.
Australian Prawn Capellini Aglio Olio, Sakura Ebi.
Rangers Valley Striploin, Ratte Potato, Chimichurri
FIREBAKE Bread and Butter Pudding.
Another of our favourite, sweet pudding, warm, and eaten with bread. Perfect Match.
Finish off with some coffee or tea , while admiring the beautiful cups.
Konstantino Blokbergen, Founder
Konstantino, or Tino as he is known, hails from a family of restaurateurs and hoteliers, and is a 25-year veteran of hospitality and F&B. Of mixed European parentage, Konstantino was born in Greece and grew up in the French-speaking region of Switzerland. His maternal grandfather was an artisan baker in Greece and his father was a Michelin-star chef in Switzerland.
Konstantino was trained as a chef in French cuisine at the 3-Michelin-star Restaurant Fredy Girardet. He later pursued F&B studies at the renowned Geneva Hotel Management School, after which he spent the next two decades in iconic hotel proper ties such as Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok, Raffles Hotel in Singapore, and Resorts World Singapore where he was instrumental in bringing the Joel Robuchon brand to Sentosa. He also founded Gastro-Sense, an F&B and lifestyle consultancy.
A childhood spent in Greece and Switzerland, on farms and his family’s olive tree grove, has given Konstantino a passion for woodfire cooking and sourdough breadmaking, and a devotion to natural, high quality, whole ingredients. For him, opening Firebake was to realize a long-held dream to have his own F&B platform, affording him the chance to work with a team of passionate and like-minded professionals as colleague and mentor. Firebake also serves to articulate the ideals of ‘back to basics’ cooking, and a return to traditional foodways and a more ‘human touch’ to cooking — values close to the heart of Konstantino.
Firebake – Woodfired Bakehouse & Restaurant
237 East Coast Road, Level 1
Tel: +65 9784 2950 / +65 6440 1228
Tuesday – Sunday
Breakfast: 8.30 am – 11.30 am (last order) Lunch: 11.30 am – 2.30 pm (last order) Coffee & Tea: 2.30 pm – 5.30 pm (last order) Dinner: 6 pm – 10 pm (last order)
Closed on Mondays