Instead of expanding his Michelin-starred Burnt Ends with a similar high end concept, Dave Pynt went the other extreme by opening a hawker stall at Makansutra Gluttons Bay at the Esplanade, serving locally inspired Western barbecue dishes such as smoked sucking pig with glutinous rice and X.O sauce.
“To be a hawker is a romantic idea – having a small selection of dishes with one or two standout dishes that you perfect over time,” says chef Pynt, who is also looking for a permanent space for a bakery (he is currently selling at farmers’ markets).
“In 2019, people can expect more small niche restaurants that specialise in those one or two dishes. There will also be more fine dining options but I would like to see more specialty restaurants and fewer general restaurants filling space,” says chef Pynt.
He is followed by OLA’s Daniel Chavez, who also runs TONO Cevicheria in DUO Towers and will be opening the casual TONITO – a Latin American kitchen in the new Jewel complex at Changi Airport in the second quarter of 2019.
“The idea is to showcase Latin American comfort food in a very relaxed atmosphere,” says chef Chavez of the family-friendly space.
The Saveur group, which gained fame for making French food affordable, tried out a new French-Spanish small plates concept called FrapasBar at Century Square. When it proved a hit, Saveur at The Cathay was turned into a second FrapasBar, the idea being to let diners indulge in mid-sized portions without busting the wallet and waistline, says Eric Chiam, Director of Saveur Group.
The wallet-friendly Taiwanese-inspired The Salted Plum in Circular Road is also expanding with a second outlet in Jurong East’s JCube, while its founder Shawn Kishore also plans to open a Pasta Supremo in Suntec City – a pasta version of grain bowls.
With 2019 being Singapore’s bicentennial, The Coconut Club’s Lee Eng Su reckons that “doing local food in a traditional way will also continue” as more Singaporeans grow confident about sustaining a career cooking local cuisine.
“People will be more interested in local flavours as Singapore grows up and is more interested in itself and its own region. Less laksa pasta, hopefully. Maybe more places like A Noodle Story, and One Kueh At A Time,” he says.