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Singapore eats: 4 famous hip foodie brands we can’t wait to try

Get your fork and knife ready for these famed overseas restaurants setting up home on our island

1. Burger Joint
1. Burger Joint
19 Jan 2016

1. Burger Joint

A deliberately gritty New York bun shack that every hipster gourmand wants to document on Instagram. The original cult-status location decorated to look like a ’70s rock-lovin teen’s basement opened in 2004. It’s tucked within Manhattan hotel Le Parker Meridien which Burger Joint’s founder, American real estate honcho Steven Pipes, also owns. There are currently three outlets in Seoul, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The Singapore franchise, slated to open early April, is brought in by a locally-based Brit, Nicholas Heaney. He prefers not to reveal his day job, but he does share that he’s a personal friend of the founder and has “tried Burger Joint many times in New York during business trips”. Unlike the edgy vibes of British burger bar Meatliquor, Heaney says it’s not going to be “cool”, insisting that Burger Joint is about “going back to the basics of buns with a patty, and you collect your own food when your name is shouted”. But anti-cool is the new cool, yes? While Heaney hasn't finalised the location and prices, he says it’ll be in “a central area” and burgers will go for below $15 each. There are plans to open more outlets here, too.

The Menu
The Menu
19 Jan 2016

The Menu

The exact same chow as Burger Joint New York, which is “anti-gourmet” hamburgers and cheeseburgers. We’ve tried the NYC original and thought it was a bit like a more refined McDonald’s cheeseburger that’s actually made from scratch.

The ordering system is simple. Just tell the staff your preferred doneness for your ground-in-house beef patty. Like Burger Joint New York, the Singapore eatery gets its beef from the same Nebraska farms using, reportedly, a blend of chuck and fat. Then choose your veggies, like lettuce (or get everything via “The Works”). The local head chef has not been appointed yet, but the owner tells us the staff will be personally trained by Burger Joint Le Parker Meridien’s head chef, Emile Castillo. 

2. Jean-Georges Vongerichten
2. Jean-Georges Vongerichten
19 Jan 2016

2. Jean-Georges Vongerichten

The three-Michelin star NYC-based French chef brings his famed brand of modern French cuisine to the upcoming lifestyle quarter Como Dempsey in the Dempsey enclave, which will occupy blocks 17 and 18. It will be neighbours with avant-garde fashion retailer Dover Street Market, opened by Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons'. This venture is spearheaded by the Como Group (the folks behind Club 21 and Como Hotels & Resorts) owned by fashion maven Christina Ong. Will Singapore’s first Jean-Georges eatery be a posh fine-diner like his eponymous restaurant at Trump Hotel, or a casual outfit like Simply Chicken at Madison Square Garden? Unfortunately, Como’s PR reps could not share more details at press time.

3. Kam's Roast Goose
3. Kam's Roast Goose
19 Jan 2016

3. Kam's Roast Goose

It’s only over a year old, but this tiny roast goose specialist in Hongkong’s Wan Chai neighbourhood has great pedigree: it’s opened by Hardy Kam (pictured), grandson of the founder of the famed Yung Kee goose establishment (which started in the ’40s, and sadly may close down due to a family feud). The eatery has already won one Michelin star for it’s super juicy, fatty, flavourful roast birds which taste like Yung Kee’s in its heyday (the head chef here used to be from the mother ship, after all). And it’s coming to Singapore later this year in partnership with the Singapore-born, Hongkong-bred TV producer who also brought in Tim Ho Wan.

Hardy tells us he's probably sending at least one chef from his HK branch to the Singapore outpost, “which will be a 50-seater in town”. But he's still sourcing for solid geese. “In Hongkong, my geese are from China, but in Singapore, AVA doesn't allow Chinese geese to be imported. So we’re exploring Malaysian-bred ones instead.” He adds (rather ominously), “At worst, we may start selling other menu items instead of geese first, like char siew, chicken and our second-most popular dish: suckling pig.” 

4. Tai Cheong Bakery
4. Tai Cheong Bakery
19 Jan 2016

4. Tai Cheong Bakery

Another Hongkong F&B stalwart, this is famous for its egg tarts. The 61-year-old bakery is being brought in by the owner of Singapore’s The Pine Garden. While the location, opening date and chef have not been confirmed, the boss says that the traditional egg tarts will be made in Singapore using the same Hongkong recipe and the chef will “train under the same master there”. 

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