Omotesando Koffee to open in Singapore

The space for The Work Project. The cafe will open in June at the new Downtown Gallery mall in Shenton Way.
The space for The Work Project. The cafe will open in June at the new Downtown Gallery mall in Shenton Way.PHOTO: THE WORK PROJECT

Hipster joint Omotesando Koffee will be at Downtown Gallery mall and offer items exclusive to Singapore on its menu

Popular Japanese cafe Omotesando Koffee will open in Singapore in June at the new Downtown Gallery mall in Shenton Way.

Started as a pop-up concept in Shibuya, Tokyo, in 2011, Omotesando Koffee quickly became a popular destination for local hipsters and tourists, serving good coffee and its signature cube-shaped custard cake in a minimalist setting.

The pop-up lasted four years and closed in December 2015 when the building it was in was torn down.

But it reopened earlier this year as Koffee Mameya at the same site in Shibuya.

Owner Eiichi Kunitomo also opened a second location in Toranomon Hills - Toranomon Koffee - in 2014.

The brand's opening here is a partnership between Hong Kong-born Russell Stradmoor, 28, director and franchising owner of Omotesando Koffee, and Mr Junny Lee, 34, founder of The Work Project - a Singapore-based co-working space operator with a branch in Hong Kong at Causeway Bay.

At Downtown Gallery, The Work Project takes up the entire 20,000 sq ft space on the fourth floor.

Mr Stradmoor and Mr Kunitomo had opened Omotesando Koffee in May last year at Wan Chai’s Lee Tung Avenue in Hong Kong.

Mr Stradmoor was friends with the founder of Omotesando Koffee, Mr Kunitomo, which has now transformed into a "very strong" partnership.

Singapore had always been on the radar for the brand's expansion, says Mr Stradmoor - even before its opening in Hong Kong.

"There is a list of major world cities printed on our coffee cups and Singapore is one of them.

"We know that Singaporeans expect the best when it comes to food and coffee. It will be a challenge for us, but an interesting one."

The menu for Singapore is still in the works and will have exclusive items, he says, but it will be largely similar to Tokyo's and Hong Kong's.

On bringing in the popular coffee brand, Mr Lee says: "We want to introduce one of the best coffee experiences in the world to Singapore. Our partnership made sense from the beginning."

Other tenants of Downtown Gallery include a 15,000 sq ft farmer's market by The Providore, boutique fitness studio GuavaLabs and a pre-school run by Mulberry Learning Centre.

Downtown Gallery is part of integrated development OUE Downtown, which comprises serviced residences and retail and office spaces.

Mr Stradmoor says of the coffee scene here: "It is definitely maturing. Similar to when we opened in Hong Kong, I think the coffee culture here, now, is where Japan was probably two or three years ago. There is definitely a new wave of speciality and artisan coffee shops emerging and we hope Omotesando Koffee can have a positive impact on the coffee culture here in Singapore.

"If you're a coffee fanatic here, there's plenty to be excited about."

•Follow Eunice Quek on Twitter @STEuniceQ

Correction note: The story has been edited to clarify that Mr Stradmoor and Mr Kunitomo had opened Omotesando Koffee in May last year at Wan Chai’s Lee Tung Avenue in Hong Kong. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2017, with the headline 'Popular Japanese cafe to open here'. Print Edition | Subscribe