Baking is a hobby founder Carline Darjanto picked up not long ago. With no culinary background, her starting point was recipes and Youtube tutorials she scoured through online before then experimenting and sharing her own via social media. This organically transpired into Carlino Bakes, a homemade dessert and pastry business she started in 2020 that went viral for its selection of baked goods, notably the sought-after Korean sweet potato bread that, at its peak, required a three-week preorder.
Following consistent enthusiasm since its online inception, Carlino Bakes found the opportunity to open its first offline shop last December. Set on the second floor of lifestyle compound SOI Cik Ditiro in Menteng, which also houses Common Grounds, customers can expect to see the familiar minimalist with degrees of white cafe design, cosy enough as a spot to hang around and satisfy the sweet tooth.
Outside its pastry mainstays, patrons can also get a hold of drinks with a creative spin to accompany a plate or two, such as the Galaxy Lemonade that uses butterfly pea flowers to create the colour-changing, constellation-like hues.
The delightful surprise, however, remains the local rage of the highly popular sweet potato bread or goguma ppang, a South Korean food trend Carline picked up and materialised into the menu; soft and chewy, the dish combines potato fillings with melted cheese wrapped in a mochi-like layer. Its success also led to new variations, like the Goguma Tteok (doubling down on mochi layers) and Ube Ppang (using Philippine’s ube halaya or purple yam).
Seeing the bun’s popularity—which sold over 120.000 pieces last year—Carline started to explore more food trends to whip up familiar types of pastries with new flavours; to wit, the crispy Palmier Bar, another South Korean trend of puff pastry coated with chocolate, almond or oreo toppings. Not to forget the more classic options from Kouign Amann and Cruffin to the foolproof soft cookies all in different flavours.
Be it on weekdays or weekends, expect to see a growing crowd at the bakeshop as afternoon sets, a befitting hour for some sugar rush as the day’s fatigue kicks in. So even if the Menteng shop may not offer anything new in terms of atmosphere, it is ultimately Carlino Bakes’ offerings that win and intrigue many to pay a visit.