Delicacy By Food & Wine Merchants

Chef Victor Caballe Molina and the three partners Yiyeksi Marhoulova, Cherry Chai and Aurelia Colomer of Delicacy, a new deli in Gemmill Lane.
Chef Victor Caballe Molina and the three partners Yiyeksi Marhoulova, Cherry Chai and Aurelia Colomer of Delicacy, a new deli in Gemmill Lane. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

WHERE: 10 Gemmill Lane, tel: 9830-0908, open: 7.30am to 10pm (Monday to Thursday), 7.30am to midnight (Friday), 10.30am to midnight (Saturday), 10.30am to 3pm (Sunday)

OPENING: Soft opening on Monday, fully operational by the end of next month

Delicacy sounds like a chameleon of a restaurant.

In the morning, the 32-seater will serve breakfast from 7.30am, with croissants, eggs, juices and coffee for office workers in the area. Then it morphs into a deli at lunch time, serving salads and sandwiches made with thin-crust baguettes. At dinner time, it becomes a wine bar serving Mediterranean-style small plates, with some larger sharing platters.

And to hear the owners' story, it would seem that serendipity brought them together. Ms Cherry Chai, 29, a former chemical engineer who wanted a career in food and beverage (F&B), was working at Restaurant Andre as a service staff after a stint in New York getting F&B management and sommelier certifications.

She got to know Ms Yiyeksi Marhoulova, 35, through her husband Stepan Marhoul, the general manager of Andre.

Ms Marhoulova was looking to import Czech wine and beer.

They roped in Ms Aurelia Colomer, 33, a Spanish friend of Ms Marhoulova's, and set out to open Delicacy.

They had looked in Chinatown and Tanjong Pagar before finding their spot in Gemmill Lane, a 1,000 sq ft space that used to be a bike shop.

At Delicacy, they plan to bring in artisanal cheese, ham, honey, olive oil, canned fish and marmalade from Spain and other parts of Europe and showcase them in the food served at the restaurant. Some of these items will also be on sale.

Ms Chai says of their European suppliers: "We visited them and they were very touched that we came to their door."

Because many of the food and wine suppliers they are working with are small producers, Delicacy will have an ever-changing selection of products.

Ms Marhoulova adds: "We also plan to bring the winemakers here to showcase their wine with special menus. The cheesemakers want to come here too, to do masterclasses."

Expect to pay less than $10 for breakfast, about $20 for lunch and $40 and up for dinner. Wines will cost $12 a glass on average.

The business partners have hired chef Victor Caballe Molina, 32, former sous chef of the nowshuttered Spanish restaurant Bomba, to head the kitchen.

At night, the offerings might include grass-fed beef filet sliders and pan-seared cod with garlic oil emulsion. Molina says he can also make paella and suckling pig on special order.

He adds: "My style is focused on the flavour of the product. I want to keep it simple and tasty."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2015, with the headline '(No headline) - HYGEM24B'. Print Edition | Subscribe