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Singapore’s top restaurateurs predict 2018’s food and dining trends

Loh Lik Peng, Wee Teng Wen, Willin Low and Beppe de Vito talk about food trends and their upcoming plans.

Wee Teng Wen

The Lo & Behold Group, managing partner, will be unveiling his first Japanese restaurant and the Straits Clan (along with other partners) in 2018.

What do you think are Singapore’s upcoming food trends?
The return to nostalgic comfort food:  I think people are getting increasingly tired of micro-managing their diets. Instead, they are craving familiar, recognisable dishes from their childhood. I think we’ll start to see more high-end restaurants recreating classic local favourites in an honest and authentic way.

Tea is increasingly overtaking coffee as a breakfast beverage and starting to manifest in menus in many interesting ways like matcha blends and kombucha.

I think that natural wines are definitely gathering momentum here as well. Not only are they a healthier alternative, they offer exciting diverse personalities to discover. I also feel that the movement democratises winemaking as it’s less focused on big brands and celebrates instead a variety of smaller boutique producers and experimental flavours.

What do you hope to see in our dining scene in 2018?
I think local food deserves a new platform, beyond hawker centres, chefs should be empowered to recreate local street favourites with better techniques and better quality ingredients, so that Singaporeans can appreciate them in the same way they currently enjoy cuisine from other cultures.

What are some of the business ventures/ F&B concepts that you will be launching in 2018?
Esora is The Lo & Behold Group’s first Japanese concept, an intimate kappo-style fine dining restaurant located in the neighbourhood of Robertson Quay. Led by Chef Shigeru Koizumi, a Nihonryori RyuGin alumni, the menu is guided by the seasons, celebrating produce at its peak. The restaurant is designed by local ID firm Takenouchi Webb and will open its doors in Q1 2018.

We will also be opening new hospitality venture and member’s club – Straits Clan on Bukit Pasoh Road. The club is aimed at bringing together a diverse community of the city’s most passionate and progressive individuals and provide them with inspiring international content. The clubhouse will also be a space where members can feel comfortable to be themselves and enjoy four floors of world-class hospitality and wellness concepts inspired by the city’s culture.

 

Loh Lik Peng

  • Loh Lik Peng
    Loh Lik Peng

The founder and director of the Unlisted Collection Group just opened Nouri and Blackwattle at Amoy Street this year. The prolific restaurateur and hotelier partners with top chefs like Ivan Brehm and Clayton Wells to set up these restaurants. 

What do you think are some of Singapore’s upcoming food trends?
I think food trends will continue to be responsible sourcing of food and knowing the provenance of the food you are eating. I think people want to be healthier in their dining habits and they increasingly want to be responsible global citizens.

What do you hope to see in our dining scene in 2018?
I want to see more Singapore chefs shining and getting recognition. The guys at ARD are a great example!

You’ve opened quite a few F&B concepts of late, is there anything else you wish to do in the near future?
No… I really want to stop.


Willin Low

  • Willin Low

This year, chef-owner of Wild Rocket launched his ready-to-eat laksa product as well as partnered with chef Christophe Lerouy to open Restaurant Lerouy at Stanley Street. He will be opening a new restaurant in Niseko, Japan in late 2018.

What do you hope to see in Singapore’s dining scene in 2018?
I hope Singaporeans will be prepared to pay more to local hawkers who make good food from scratch. This will ensure it is financially viable for them to make our food the way it’s meant to be. Resistance may be futile against the government’s push for productivity with ready-made sauces, ingredients etc. for hawkers, but we should (in our own culinary interest) support artisanal rebels.

What do you think will be some of Singapore’s upcoming food trends?
I think super expensive fine dining will take a backseat. There will still be a demand but I think less. People still want good quality food and ambience but may not want to sit through a three-hour dinner or pay $300 to 400 per person.

I think we will continue to see more chef-driven menus rather than specific cuisines – this is reflective of Singapore having access to almost any ingredient.

Counter seating will continue too due partly to manpower shortages and chefs wanting to have direct access to guests (and vice versa).


Beppe de Vito

  • ilLido Group - Restaurateur Beppe De Vito

Owner of the il Lido Group launched casual Italian restaurant Amo at Hong Kong Street this year.

What do you think will be Singapore’s upcoming food trends?
There’s a bigger attention on local food and street food (of various countries), so 2018 will likely see more restaurants giving them a second life and elevating them to restaurant standards.

What do you hope to see in our dining scene in 2018?
I’d like to see more food festivals featuring cuisines from all over the world including South America and Africa.

You’ve opened quite a few F&B concepts of late, is there anything else you wish to do in the near future? 
Yes – it’s too soon for details but we are looking at taking our pizzas – a classic Italian street food – to the next level. My next goal is to develop a new brand that will have its presence in many locations throughout Singapore – even regionally – featuring this traditional street food, and it will be truly for the masses. With that though, it means more research and development to design high quality pizzas for such a market.