Why do some F&B outlets in Singapore flourish while similar stores offering the same kind of food struggle? That should be an interesting business school research project topic. The factors contributing to the popularity of a food business is often hard to pin point. Like we said in our earlier post about The Hangar Cafe on Arab Street, there could be beautiful restaurants struggling to draw in the diners while places with no decor to speak of would be extremely well patronised. Perhaps a location like Kampong Glam or Little Arab has its own magic. Rich & Good Cake Shop in Kampong Glam is another intriguing case. There is almost always a queue at this laid back unpretentious bakery on Kandahar Street.
Running a food and beverage business in Singapore is not for the faint hearted. According to a SPRING Singapore website, 28% of F&B business are replaced every year. In addition to challenges like high rents and labour shortages there is also this other factor that intrigues us – the unpredictability of consumer tastes. We have seen beautiful restaurants struggle to draw in the diners. On the other hand, there are places where there is no decor to speak of and yet the crowds just keep on flowing in. The Hangar Cafe on Arab Street belongs to the latter category.
Maison Ikkoku is a cafe in the Kampong Glam area, near Arab Street and Bussorah Street. It has undergone quite a transformation since our last visit in 2015 (you can read about our previous visit here). It is now known as Maison Ikkoku The Gallery. There is also a bar on the second level and a rooftop space known as Maison Ikkoku Rooftop, which we believe opens in the evenings.
Auntie’s Wok & Steam is said to be “an ode to Singapore’s tze char food culture”. Like looking for a hard to find street side tze char stall of old, we walk along a narrow alley to locate Auntie’s Wok and Steam in Alley on 25 Andaz Hotel. The alley is, however, a spiffy one and Auntie’s Wok & Steam is a very nice contemporary Chinese dining space.
Duo Galleria is the retail component of the integrated development in Bugis known as the DUO. The two-tower project also contains a residential part (DUO Residences), offices (DUO Tower), a hotel (Andaz). We take a look at some of the restaurants and places to eat at Duo Galleria.
The restaurants at Alley on 25, Andaz Hotel Singapore is a collection of food and beverage outlets on the 25th floor of the hotel by the Hyatt group. It seems to us that the Andaz brand is pitched at a similar level as the W Hotel group. Luxurious, but in a modern and hip way. The trend of new hotels in Singapore these days is to incorporate some fashionable restaurants into the design. See for example our visits to restaurants at the new Novotel Singapore on Stevens, Sofitel Singapore, Intercontinental Hotel Robertson Quay. Alley on 25 takes it one step further by having an entire 25th floor dedicated to wine and dine.