Provence @ HV: Free smells, anyone?

Friends, foodies and countrymen, lend me your ears.

Now, that got your attention eh?

You know what else will get your attention? The mouthwatering smells that are wafting out of Provence Bakery. When you walk past the front door, you’ll see a wide array of freshly baked breads coming out of the oven, and you’ll probably think, “Wow, that looks yummy.” But when you open the door, that’s when it hits you. Literally. The aroma of all the different breads baking is amazing.

With more and more dine-in bakeries popping up all around Singapore, I know why they are all so successful. These clever businessmen leverage on their “Free Smells” to attract customers and whet their appetites! Even if you weren’t feeling famished, just walking in for a quick browse around their bakery will leave you craving one of their delectable baked goodies.

But, my mission for this review was to dine in, to see if the ambience would add value to the food. So let’s see how my morning at Provence played out:

photo 4 (23)

This breakfast outing to Provence was actually pretty recent, just that I happened to be reading one of my older issues of the food&travel magazine, so its starring in the above photo.

Provence recently underwent a makeover, and now boasts a delightful dining area on Level 2 of its shop, now located near the main road (along the stretch with Wendy’s, Starbucks, Hatched etc..) The dining area was well lit, nicely air-conditioned, and had a relaxed vibe about it. Guess what made it better? Free smells.

We ordered three of their breakfast sets, I can’t really remember what they are called, but they are pretty much variations of an egg sandwich. There was a BLT, a cheese omelette and an omelette sandwich, but tastewise, they were about the same.

photo 1 (33)

The drinks that came with the set were generously sized, and were served promptly. My hot chocolate came in a humongous cup that could have been a soup bowl. The orange juice and tea were served in pretty large cups as well.

photo 3 (28) photo 2 (36)

Don’t you love the dainty spoon that comes with the tea? Makes you feel so ladylike. So English.

Anyway, it was a good thing they served the drinks early, cause the food took awhile to arrive.

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Bacon Lettuce Tomato Sandwich (Above) came with the best presentation! Although its actually the same sandwich, by cutting it up and serving it with salad, they made it appear like there was more. There was nothing special about this, or any of their sandwiches for that matter. They were just average, run of the mill sandwiches that you could easily put together at home. But where’s the fun in that?

photo 1 (34) photo 3 (29)

The Cheese Omelette Sandwich was basically an omelette topped with cheese, as you can see from the above pictures. The oozing cheese would be a favorite among kids. Oh, and one more thing, the sandwiches are served on normal white bread, so don’t get your hopes too high.

photo 2 (37) photo 4 (24)

The Omelette Sandwich was just like the Cheese Omelette Sandwich, just that there was tomato sauce instead of the cheese. It was piled with veggies like cucumber and lettuce, and daintily layered on the slices of toasted white bread. I was expecting a hotter sandwich given the time they took to serve the food, so I was a tad disappointed with the barely-warmer-than-room-temperature sandwiches.

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Foodwise, I was disappointed. I’m sure you can tell from my less excited than normal post. It was quite funny how the tomato sauce squirted out of my sandwich to form the face above, and it perfectly summed up how I felt about their food. That 😐 face says it all: Pretty “meh” to say the least.

I thought more highly of Provence, especially with their raved about Milk Pans and Wassants. Unfortunately, their dine-in sandwich sets were more lacklustre. In fact, you can probably get the same sandwiches at a lower price from the bakery downstairs, and just bring it upstairs to eat. (*Cheapskate alert*) Or perhaps buy some other bakery items like their new kaya wassants, or the decadent cinnamon roll, and order a drink to complete the meal.

While I may not have been impressed by the food, the pricing was reasonable, not exceeding $6 (you get what you pay for, I suppose) so I will probably go back, mainly for the ambience. There was something about the chill atmosphere that made the dining experience more enjoyable. Plus, with the good lighting and picturesque food, its the perfect place for a photoshoot!

Rating: 5/10 (plus two for ambience)

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