Savour the best of both worlds

Savourworld is a $10-million joint venture between events company Savour's executive director Darren Chen (far left) and Mr Michel Lu, executive chairman of boutique consultancy Revolver Asia.
Savourworld is a $10-million joint venture between events company Savour's executive director Darren Chen (far left) and Mr Michel Lu, executive chairman of boutique consultancy Revolver Asia.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

Offshoots of popular restaurants here will come together in a new dining enclave at Science Park Drive

Come March, some of Singapore's popular restaurants will come together at a new dining enclave called Savourworld.

The sprawling 60,000 sq ft space is located at 2 Science Park Drive, a short walk from Kent Ridge MRT station.

This ambitious project costing more than $10 million is a joint venture between events company Savour's executive director Darren Chen, 38, and Mr Michel Lu, 48, executive chairman of boutique consultancy Revolver Asia.

It brings together what seems like the best of both worlds - Mr Chen's expertise in running events such as his five-year-old Savour food festival and Mr Lu's experience in the restaurant and nightlife industry. Mr Lu's many projects include curating the new Katong Square's tenants and managing Wildfire Burgers restaurant at 313@Somerset.

Savourworld is also a partnership with urban and business space solutions provider Ascendas-Singbridge as the food arena is located in its Ascent office building.

"We work closely with Savourworld to ensure that the offerings cater to the needs of our tenants and are aligned to the Singapore Science Park's positioning," says Mr Tan Yew Chin, Ascendas- Singbridge's chief executive for Singapore and South-east Asia.

Savourworld will have up to 30 restaurant concepts, but not hawkers. So far, Mr Lu has confirmed about 70 per cent of its tenants. All the tenants will move in by June.

Each outlet will have its own indoor space, complete with kitchen equipment provided by the management.

Some units will be leased out for six-month incubation periods for tenants to test out new concepts. Expect a variety of food, from ramen to pizza and burgers, as well as craft beer and wine.

Mr Lu says: "Nowadays, the failure rate in the food and beverage scene is very high. But for those who have more than one concept, the failure rate is much lower. The brands that we have found have been consistently successful."

Burger joint Three Buns, which has an outlet in Keong Saik Road, will feature its burgers such as Four Floors, which has double beef patties and applewood smoked cheddar, and Krabby Patty, which boasts blue swimmer crab patty and salted egg mayonnaise.

There will also be new flavours. Prices for mains range from $15 to $25, while sides and desserts are from $5 to $15.

Three Buns' group executive chef Adam Penney, 43, says: "Savourworld is bringing lots of different styles together with different food vendors. There are lots of choices and reasons for guests to return."

Chef-owner Enoch Teo, 26, of Garcons, which serves affordable French fare, will launch a new concept Garcons Nosh for a six-month incubation period.

It will sell food such as Garcons' signature duck rillette, foie gras and house-made charcuterie. Prices will range from $12 to $18.

Garcons has outlets at Upper Thomson, food court Essen@The Pinnacle in Tanjong Pagar and Timbre+ at one-north.

Next month, the Timbre+ branch will be re-branded as Garcons Express for "quicker and more affordable meals", says Teo.

He adds: "In this current market, people want affordable food. I have faith that there will be a good crowd for Savourworld and that the management will drive events on weekends."

While Mr Stepan Marhoul, 39, group general manager of the restaurants under Unlisted Collection, is unable to reveal which concept or brand the group will open at Savourworld, he sees this as a chance for "talent growth".

The group runs restaurants such as Burnt Ends in Teck Lim Road and Cheek By Jowl in Boon Tat Street.

He says: "This is a great opportunity for home-grown young talent who have a dream to run their own restaurant one day, to challenge themselves to live up to expectations of the Savourworld diners.

"There is currently demand for unique, sustainable and value-for- money experiences. It is no longer about just getting food and drink when diners go out."

Savourworld will be open daily. There are plans to roll out pre-ordering and delivery services in the future. In addition to the eateries, there will be a 13,000 sq ft food hall similar to Savour's popular gourmet village which sells gourmet products, but at cheaper prices.

Mr Chen calls it a "Savour festival for 365 days".

"Think of it as a food version of a fashion outlet where prices are lower," he adds.

He also plans to hold events such as cooking classes, wine tastings and car launches there.

The set-up of Savourworld does not mean the end of the Savour festival.

Mr Chen says: "The festival sets the precedent to what we are and it is still important. Through the festival, we find out what people like to eat.

"Savourworld will be the Disneyland of food and food lovers can come every week and find something different."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2017, with the headline 'Savour the best of both worlds'. Print Edition | Subscribe