Montreux Jazz Cafe opens at Pan Pacific Orchard in October

Montreux Jazz Cafe's signature dish, Coquelet Facon Quincy Jones (spring chicken marinated a la Quincy Jones), will be on the menu here.
Montreux Jazz Cafe's signature dish, Coquelet Facon Quincy Jones (spring chicken marinated a la Quincy Jones), will be on the menu here. PHOTO: MONTREUX JAZZ CAFE

It has a capacity of 500 and will offer upscale dining and live performances

The first Montreux Jazz Cafe outside Europe and the Middle East is set to open in Singapore in October.

Located in Pan Pacific Orchard, the multi-concept restaurant and live-music venue will have an estimated capacity of 500 people in a 7,000 sq ft space.

A spin-off of the renowned Montreux Jazz Festival, the cafe offers upscale dining in a music- filled atmosphere and joins other outlets in cities such as Geneva, London, Paris and Abu Dhabi.

Other than indoor and outdoor dining areas and a bar, there will be two stages for performances.

One will be a main stage that can house a full-sized band, while another in the fine-dining area of the restaurant will be more of an intimate space reminiscent of a supper club.

Montreux Jazz Festival chief executive officer Mathieu Jaton describes the Montreux Jazz Cafes as a "mix between live sessions, archive projections and cuisine", adding that the spaces are "ambassadors" for the famous annual festival held in Switzerland.

Speaking to The Straits Times, Mr Jaton, 41, says Singapore was chosen because of its location and multicultural landscape.

He says: "Singapore is international and open-minded with different cultures and musical styles. It's also the door to Asia in many ways."

Founded by the late Claude Nobs, the festival, which showcases jazz, rock and pop music, celebrates its 50th edition this year.

The cafes were conceived as a way to offer festivalgoers a place where artists and music lovers could mingle. The first outlet opened in Montreux in 2000.

Major artists from Nina Simone to David Bowie to Deep Purple have played at the festival over the years and the cafes screen projections of archival footage from the thousands of performances.

While the London and Paris outlets screen footage from the European and American music scene, Mr Jaton says it plans to bring "more diversity" to the programming here.

"In Singapore, we'll have the opportunity to open the full archives and bring a complete overview of the Montreux Jazz Festival," he says.

Additionally, an eclectic range of home-grown, regional and international artists will perform at the venue.

Other than the music, there will be signature dishes such as B.B. Burger (named after the late blues legend B.B. King) and Ella's cheesecake (named after the late Queen of Jazz Ella Fitzgerald).

Also on the menu will be Coquelet Facon Quincy Jones (spring chicken marinated a la Quincy Jones). Jones is the legendary American producer, composer and arranger.

Mr Jaton adds that the menu will also "express the tradition of the region where we are", hinting at dishes with Asian flavours. Menu prices have not been finalised.

As with the other outlets, there will also be a display of memorabilia of Nobs, the cafe's late founder.

The hometown restaurant in Montreux, for instance, has a kimono belonging to the late Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury, on display.

Mr Jaton says he has not decided what he will be bringing to the Singapore outlet, but adds that the cafes are locations "that you have to come to several times and discover new memorabilia".

"It's a location that allows you to travel around 50 years of music in Montreux."

Dedicated jazz music venues have opened in Singapore to mixed reception.

Sultan Jazz Club in Aliwal Street closed in 2014 after only 13 months and Southbridge Jazz@7atenine at the Esplanade shut down in less than a year.

However, Sing Jazz Club took over Sultan Jazz Club in 2014 and is going strong.

The St Regis Singapore hotel has also started hosting a Jazz Legends At St Regis series, which last featured British jazz-pop singer Jamie Cullum.

Singaporean jazz maestro Jeremy Monteiro, 56, who has played at the Montreux Jazz Festival, welcomes the move.

He says he is in talks with the cafe about playing there.

He says: "People love new, hip joints. As long as they keep the entertainment interesting, then it should be successful."


Correction note: An earlier version of this story stated that jazz musician Jeremy Monteiro is 60 years old. He is actually 56. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2016, with the headline 'Montreux Jazz Cafe to open in Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe