Buy, cook and live the gourmet experience
THE rise of the gourmet food emporium makes food shopping complete, offering not just fine produce but the experience of cooking and restaurant dining.
ORIGINS OF FOOD
One Farrer Hotel & Spa
Opening hours: 10am to 7pm daily, except public holidays
One of the best parts of having a multi-concept space is that you can always evolve and add new components to it, says Richard Helfer, chairman of One Farrer. Of course, it also helps if you run the entire complex that houses it.
Which is why, in addition to existing concepts like a food studio with an artisan retail section named Origins of Food, and a deli named Local Fresh & Seasonal, One Farrer Hotel & Spa has added yet another F&B concept to their mixed-use complex just earlier this month.
Called The Farm, this 11,000 sq ft agricultural facility is where they are cultivating a range of plants, from herbs to vegetables, and fruits that serve to complete their farm-to-table concept.
One programme that will benefit from The Farm will be a From The Farm Classic Canning Project ($60++ per pax) where participants get to visit the farm, before learning how to can and preserve fruits and vegetables at the food studio - Origins of Food.
It is a way to expose urban Singaporeans to farm products and where they come from, says Dr Helfer, who recalls spending his childhood on his grandparents' 400-acre farm in Michigan. "It brings back memories of picking a tomato, washing it off and eating it. It tastes so different from a tomato you buy from the supermarket," he says.
His grandmother was an amazing cook who also made her own pickles, and Dr Helfer has kept her recipes all this while. In fact, if people do not want to do the actual canning, they can buy bread and butter pickles made in-house, or beetroot pickles, made to his grandmother's recipes. They are priced at $6.50 per 150g pack.
Another programme they have launched recently is an exploratory trip called Market to Table ($100++), where participants are taken on a tour of the nearby Tekka Market to pick up fresh ingredients before attending a cooking session back at the food studio.
THE FISHWIVES FINE FOOD EMPORIUM
501 Bukit Timah Road, #01-05B Cluny Court
Opening hours: Mon to Fri, 10am to 7pm, Sat, 9am-7pm, Sun, 9.30am-5.30pm
The fresh produce at gourmet food emporium The Fishwives may not all be organically certified, but what you can be sure of is that they have no hormones or antibiotics. That is because owner Rebecca Forwood believes that the story and traceabilty behind a product is much more important than just a certificate.
"If you picked up a piece of beef, I could look up the code and tell you which cow it was from, which date it was slaughtered and which part of Tasmania the farm came from. Not many people can do that," says Ms Forwood, who is half-Australian and half-Chinese.
It is a perfect place for people who want a one-stop shop for dinner parties, as they can get things like raw meat, dips, crackers, wines, pasta, fresh bread from Tiong Bahru Bakery on weekends, and even vegetables from time to time, she adds.
Most of her products at The Fishwives are exclusive too, so do not expect to find them at other supermarkets. She gets them from small family businesses like Akaroa Salmon from New Zealand, to brands from large companies like Pure Black beef from the same brand that owns the better-known Cape Grim label.
After opening a brick and mortar store offering a larger variety of products in January last year, Ms Forwood felt confident enough to expand her store to a space almost four times the original just earlier this month.
Now, at the sleek new food emporium on the corner of Cluny Court, she has a spacious retail space plus a cosy cooking studio for classes and workshops. And in the centre of the store, Ms Forwood intends to put a 10-seater table for customers to sit around and have coffee while leafing through recipe books and just having a chat.
While she already has people lined up both to conduct and take part in cooking classes and demos, she says they will probably only start after the new year when the retail store is running smoothly.
6 Raffles Boulevard, #01-18
Opening hours vary
Feel like sushi tonight? How about ramen? Or shabu-shabu? While you are deciding which of Emporium Shokuhin's eight dining concepts to dine at, how about browsing through their gourmet grocer, taking a look at the tanks in the live seafood market, or learning more about dry-aged beef?
After all, Emporium Shokuhin spans a total of 34,000 sq ft on the first floor of Marina Square's new wing, so there is plenty to do in its multi-concept space.
Chief executive Lim Li Wei says the vision is "to bring products at a more reasonable price to customers" as they "bring in supply directly, without middlemen". Which is why he says they are 10 to 30 per cent cheaper than their main competitors, and sell items like a box of Kyoho grapes at $21.90, and a Musk melon at $88.
Their inventory includes a range of exclusive items from the Ehime prefecture in Japan, like Misyo orange juice ($6.40 for 300ml) and frozen sea bream fillets. At the live seafood market, 22 tanks contain rotating seasonal items such as hirame (flounder) at $7.80 per 100g, kegani (hairy crabs) at $12 per 100g, and a range of oysters from countries like France and Scotland.
Eight different dining concepts were conceived in-house to provide a spectrum of prices and food, explains Mr Lim. Ramen at Burosu Honten starts at $12.80 for a bowl of tonkatsu ramen, while $138 and $178 omakase menus are available at modern Japanese fine dining restaurant Takujo.
Coming up next for Emporium Shokuhin is an e-commerce site, as well as guest chefs and cooking demonstrations that will complement the grocery and dining components. However, that will not happen until all the kinks have been ironed out, especially as the place soft-launched only two weeks ago and will have its grand opening on Oct 27.
THE BUSINESS TIMES