New cafes and restaurants offer Ramadan specials to break fast

Owner of Butter Studio Shannon Lua (above) with her Ramadan platters. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
A parade of floats rolling down Geylang Serai on June 13, 2015, to mark Ramadan and Hari Raya Puasa. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Pink, green and blue decorations lighting up the stretch of road from Geylang to Sims Avenue on June 13, 2015. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
A parade of floats rolling down Geylang Serai on June 13, 2015, to mark Ramadan and Hari Raya Puasa. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
The street light-up in Tampines Central 5 coincided with the launch of a Hari Raya bazaar at the field next to Tampines MRT station, as well as that of Project Ramadan Food Hamper 2015 – a community-led exercise to collect food donations for the needy. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

This Ramadan, Muslims can break fast over satay and rendang pizza at casual restaurant Tasconi's Pizza in Simpang Bedok.

The Muslim-owned Brunei franchise, which came to Singapore last December, is marking Ramadan for the first time this year, along with many other cafes and casual restaurants which have opened in the last 18 months.

It will be the first Ramadan for most of these places, including newer cafes such as four-month-old Wilder in North Bridge Road, six-month-old The Lab in Jalan Pisang and casual Western restaurant Royz Et Vous in Telok Ayer Street.

They are pulling out all the stops by offering special buka puasa menus and dishes to tantalise the tastebuds of diners.

Others, such as American buffalo wings franchise Wingstop, which has two outlets in Singapore, have recently become halal-certified and will be serving special food for break fast as well.

During the annual holy month of Ramadan, which begins on Thursday this year, Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn until dusk.

The day begins with a pre-dawn meal, or sahur, at about 5am, and ends with a meal at dusk.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri is the celebration which marks the end of the fasting period. It falls on July 17 this year.

Tasconi's Pizza is incorporating satay and rendang into pizza to give the dish a twist, says its marketing consultant, Madam Nor Suhir.

The 48-year-old says: "Satay and rendang are traditional dishes that are a must-have during Ramadan. It is a time for Malays to balik kampung (come home), go back to basics and forget all about the modern things.

"Pizza is something generally more enjoyed by the younger generation. We wanted to bring together the young and old, as well as the new and traditional."

This concept of melding the contemporary with the traditional to cater to different generations was also behind cafe Butter Studio's new Ramadan set menus.

Inspired by the traditional Malay communal dining experience of food being served on dulangs (metal trays), the cafe will be offering modern brunch fare served on sharing platters for Ramadan.

It has created the Studio Eggs Ben platter, which has portions of Crabby Eggs Neptune, chicken Spam and chilli beans served on a silver sharing platter.

The All-Star Sliders Platter features three kinds of sliders - Signature Godfather Burger, The Elvis Burger and Mexican Wrestler Sliders - served on a wooden sharing platter. Both platters come with side dishes.

Miss Shannon Lua, 31, owner of Butter Studio, says: "We liked the heritage behind the dulang and found it thematic for Ramadan, which is all about families dining in and breaking fast together.

"At the same time, we wanted to offer an alternative to the traditional dulang set, which usually consists of rice and dishes. Teenagers who want something different can try this as they cannot enjoy brunch items when they fast in the day."

Bakeries such as And All Things Delicious and Wheebake, which opened in May and January last year respectively, are also getting in on the act by offering a special range of baked goodies for Ramadan and Hari Raya.

The owner of And All Things Delicious, Mrs Dewi Imelda Wadhwa, 36, will be creating a Ramadan edition of her house blend granola by adding dates from Tunisia.

She says: "The granola is great for sahur (the pre-dawn meal Muslims take before fasting) as it is high in protein and will provide a slow release of energy throughout the day."

Wheebake will be bringing back its popular rainbow butter cookies for its second Ramadan. The bakery sold more than 1,000 jars of its rainbow cookies during the fasting month last year.

Muslims such as document officer Nor Hayati and undergraduate Nurul Aqilah are interested in visiting these new cafes to break fast.

Madam Hayati, 55, who enjoys visiting new eating haunts, says: "I am excited to try out these places. I like Western food such as steak and pasta and many of these cafes serve a mixture of Western and local fusion food.

Miss Aqilah, 20, says: "My family would rather go to restaurants they usually go to as they will not be inclined to try out these places for the first time, especially during Ramadan. But I would definitely go to these cafes to break fast with my friends, who are younger and just as adventurous as me."

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