New food offerings to check out

(Clockwise from top left) The Social Outcast, Lucali BYGB, Leckerbaer and Sushi Kou. PHOTOS: JANA_YAR, LUCALI BYGB, JOEL CHAN, SUSHI KOU

SINGAPORE - While Covid-19 has claimed many casualties in the food and beverage scene, the start of phase two offers fresh shoots of hope.

New eateries - which delayed renovating and opening physical restaurants as dining in was previously not allowed - have started to emerge, albeit with plenty of caution.

These include fresh concepts, new-to-market brands, as well as some that launched with food delivery first.

The 10,000 sq ft food hall Xin Tekka - which houses 10 stalls offering local cuisine - soft-launched earlier this week at Tekka Place mall in Little India, with just three stalls. They are Hosay's Delicacy, by mee pok brand Hosay Mee Pok; Liang Ji, famous for its char kway teow; and drink stall Morning Boss. They are open from 8am to 9pm daily, and the remaining stalls will open next month.

Expect notable names, such as Pang's Hakka Noodles by chef Pang Kok Keong, who closed his patisserie Antoinette last month; the return of Eurasian-Peranakan restaurant Casa Bom Vento; and popular satay stall Alhambra Satay.

At Shaw House, Danish pastry shop Leckerbaer opens on July 23, while New York's Luke's Lobster is slated to open by next month.

Others are moving to new locations and expanding food menus.

Muslim-owned burger joint The Social Outcast - which closed its Tampines coffee shop stall in March - opened its new outlet at The Bedok Marketplace hawker centre last month.

Billed as version 2.0 of the popular brand, its new menu goes beyond burgers and offers dishes such as Moluccas charcoal-grilled beef ribs ($24) and caramelised woodfire smoked quail ($16).

It saw a surge in diners on June 27, sold out within the day, and had to close the next day.

The Social Outcast founder Noelle Chua says: "We're working on a few strategies and trying to forecast potential situations as the pandemic evolves. All this, while focusing on operations, ensuring food quality and good customer service."

Next month, Heart of Darkness brewery from Vietnam - which opened in 2017 in Tras Street - moves to The Working Capitol in Keong Saik Road. The gastropub is ramping up its food offerings, along with its craft beers.

Business has been brisk for newcomer Japanese omakase sushi restaurant Sushi Kou at Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre, which started with delivery three weeks before phase two was announced.

It commenced dine-in operations on June 19, and the 12-seat restaurant - reduced to eight seats because of social distancing - is fully booked till July 23.

Sushi Kou - not linked to the now-defunct restaurant of the same name at Orchid Hotel in Tanjong Pagar - is helmed by 42-year-old chef Yoshio Sakuta, formerly of two-Michelin-starred Shoukouwa at One Fullerton.

However, some highly raved about brands will require a longer wait.

Sri Lankan restaurant Kotuwa is undergoing renovations, with no confirmed date for its opening at Wanderlust Hotel in Little India.

Miss Vanda, by chef Han Li Guang of one-Michelin-starred modern Singaporean restaurant Labyrinth, just completed a pop-up offering elevated local cuisine at Labyrinth's premises at Esplanade Mall.

Labyrinth resumed dine-in service last Friday, but Miss Vanda will continue with its food delivery model as chef Han is in no rush to open a physical space.

But fans of Lucali BYGB - a collaboration between the founder of famed Brooklyn pizzeria Lucali and Singapore-based hospitality partner Gibran Baydoun - can finally savour its pizzas and other offerings soon.

The 60-seat minimalist space at Kallang Rivergreen Building is slated to open later this month.

Its 18-inch pizzas - which are not part of its teaser delivery menu - will be available, along with calzones, pasta, meatloaf and oysters.

Mr Baydoun says: "When we offer dine-in, we will put our entire focus into looking after our guests. Therefore, delivery and takeaway will be suspended temporarily.

"But we won't open until we are sure we can live up to the high expectations we have set for ourselves and to the legacy of Lucali."


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