When Singapore entered circuit breaker, it became a period of introspection and experimentation for me. Those two months turned out to be a very fruitful and creative time – I personally perfected a sourdough recipe at home, and did a lot of pickling as well.
More importantly, my team and I came up with plenty of new ideas for our Reinventing British menu, which we launched on 19 August. This menu is all about celebrating Summer’s bounty with plenty of fresh, colourful and hyper seasonal ingredients.
We focus on sourcing only the most exquisite British ingredients and through this menu, we hope to take our guests on a journey through the best of the United Kingdom. Each ingredient tells a story. For example, our Devon Cheddar Cheese Buckwheat Pancake is made with a 24-month-old cheddar sourced directly from a small farm just 10 miles from my family home where I grew up and where my parents still live. Another one of my favourite dishes on the new menu, the Summer Vegetable Pie, essentially embodies every pristine element of summer married onto one plate.
Traceability is important for us in the industry to have pinpoint accuracy of where our ingredients come from so that we get only the best and most sustainably-grown
I believe diners are becoming more discerning about what they eat; they are genuinely interested in the provenance of each ingredient and the thought process that goes behind each dish. As such, there is a growing movement in restaurants where you see a lot more interaction between restaurant patrons and the kitchen team. I think this serves to make the dining experience a lot more personal and memorable.
In fact, it’s a point of pride for me to be able to share these stories with my customers. I personally source every single ingredient on the menu – every carrot, potato and prawn come from locations that are sustainable and quality-driven. Currently, we’re sourcing fresh live scallops and lobsters from Scotland as well as sea bass, turbot and Donegal oysters from Ireland. During the autumn and winter months, I source a lot of root vegetables from Yorkshire and around the midlands of the UK as well.
Traceability is important for us in the industry to have pinpoint accuracy of where our ingredients come from so that we get only the best and most sustainably-grown. With the Covid-19 pandemic, it further underscored the importance of sustainability and food security. I was heartened to see how the restaurants in Singapore banded together during this difficult time and I’m confident we will continue to support each other down the line.
Of course, in order for the restaurant scene to really pull through this challenging period, we will need keen and continuous support from returning diners. On our part, we have been working hard to come up with thoughtful touchpoints across the restaurant so that customers still enjoy a top-notch dining experience even in this new situation we find ourselves in.
We have a team that comes in each morning and afternoon for a complete sanitisation of each table and chair, as well as all other parts of the room. The staff are also consistently dressed in masks and gloves, and we have a robust supply of sanitisers. The building does thorough temperature checks, and we also provide envelopes for each guest to store their mask during their meal.
It’s not always a smooth-sailing process but my team and I are working hard every day to refine the menu and service quality, and I hope this translates to an excellent dining experience for our diners.