Bread bowls are usually filled with thick, creamy soup, so I do a double-take when I chance upon Mr Baguette, a three-year-old stall in Golden Mile Food Centre.
It sells Baguette Tarts or mini bread bowls with sweet fillings that range from egg pudding to rich molten sauces such as chocolate, green tea and cheese.
The stall offers more than 10 types of tarts and lava cakes carved from spherical loaves of bread roughly the size of a small char siew pau. It is a wonder how these unique bread-based tarts have not been replicated in the competitive food scene here. The secret, according to owner Kent Wee, is in the bread recipe, which yields rolls with a thin and crisp crust. The insides of the bread are dug out by machine to create a hollow shell.
The 42-year-old, who worked as a bakery consultant and baker at the BreadTalk chain, and his wife, Irene, 38, came up with the idea to save their fledgling business, which initially offered only baguettes and garlic toast.
That has paid off. Their bestseller is the Baguette Tart ($1.20), which is also my favourite. Up to 800 are sold every day.
B1-51 Golden Mile Food Centre, 505 Beach Road
Open: Noon to 7.30pm, weekdays; noon to 8pm, Saturday, closed on Sunday
The bread bowl houses a light and buttery egg pudding, made with whipping cream, milk, sugar and eggs.
The moisture from the wobbly pudding softens the bread so that it is like warm bread and butter pudding.
Ask for the tart to be heated up on the spot as it brings out the aroma of the egg filling. I also dig the contrast of textures - the crisp and light bread casing the soft pudding.
There are also nine bread-based lava cakes ($1.80), with chocolate and cheese being the crowd favourites.
The Chocolate Lava oozes a velvety thick chocolate sauce and its richness is offset by the airy and light bread crust. Skip the Cream Cheese Lava, with a gooey blend of cheddar, parmesan and cream cheeses and milk, as it has a sweet and milky taste that is more custard than cheese.
Other flavours such as green tea and azuki beans, and hazelnut are safer bets.
It is impossible to bite into the lava cakes without creating a mess as the molten sauces tend to ooze.
I recommend taking them home and re-heating them in the toaster or oven for two minutes. I do that and the crust remains wonderfully crisp.