Drunken Farmer, one of Singapore's leading authority on all things natural wines by lifestyle collective Spa Esprit Group, is brewing up its signature brand of unadulterated funk to natural wine lovers and families living in the east with the launch of a second sourdough-focused bistro and natural wine bar concept in the colourful Joo Chiat neighbourhood on the East Coast.
Riding on the success of turning Common Man Stan—the CBD outpost of Common Man Coffee Roasters—into a 'two-faced concept' earlier this year, the recently opened Joo Chiat joint of the specialty coffee roaster and cafe is set to undergo the same day-to-night transformation from cafe by day to natural wine bar and bistro by night, adding more colour to the family- friendly estate's vibrant dining scene with a wholesome and gut-friendly package of sharing plates and quaffable natural wines.
From what started as a traveling pop-up bar and consultancy dedicated to natural wines—the brainchild of Cynthia Chua, Founder & Chairman of Spa Esprit Group intended to foster appreciation of the good funk and temper taste buds among the local dining scene—to its online shop that brings the convenience of same-day delivery to its top notch curation of over 100 bottles from some of the best 'farmers' in the business, the movement has since grown by leaps and bounds to welcome a larger community of enthusiasts and curious drinkers today.
Following the brick-and-mortar debut of Drunken Farmer at Stanley Street earlier in April, its proposition of celebrating all things good by way of pairing minimally intervention wines with dishes inspired by naturally leavened sourdough has been a resounding success - thus spurring the group's motivation to grow the brand by making it more accessible across key locales and neighbourhoods in Singapore.
"Both Common Man Coffee Roasters and Drunken Farmer are proudly championing the third-wave coffee and natural wine movements locally, and have been responsible for turning fads into permanent fixtures in the local dining scene that really resonate with the way we eat and drink today. The synergy both brands share in this 'two-faced concept' is impalpable and we see Joo Chiat as a natural stepping stone in our new roadmap as we grow both brands," affirms Chua.
After five years of calling its cosy corner “meating spot” on Amoy Street home, Singapore’s foremost Argentinian steakhouse boCHINche by local lifestyle collective Spa Esprit Group has moved out of one Chinatown dining enclave to claim its stake in another - this time along the popular Club Street stretch. The new location boasts a larger dining hall decked out with a fresh look inspired by tribal design, an open kitchen and grill that flanks the entire length of the restaurant, and a refreshed menu designed by head chef Fabrice Mergalet to bring the age- old steakhouse experience to the modern age.
With a bigger location comes bolder ambitions as boCHINche continues to elevate the steakhouse experience in its new home. Ingredients, from trusted staples to regional specialties, are sourced seasonally from around the world to ensure the best products all year long. Modern cooking techniques such as sous vide, lacto fermentation, and infusions allow the kitchen to develop new dishes with unexpected ingredient and flavour combinations that draw inspiration from culinary traditions beyond Latin America, and across the world. Beyond its prized steaks, lighter, brighter flavours and more varied protein options have been introduced to widen its appeal. One thing remains unchanged since day one - steaks are cooked using traditional grilling techniques over charcoal fire to achieve a lightly charred crust and smoky aroma that best highlights the natural flavours of the beef.
Easily spot the restaurant on 27 Club Street with its textured facade cladded in panels of rustic recycled wood pieces. Step into the space and immediately notice the difference as tribal design-inspired interiors exude an undeniable masculine elegance, contrasted with quirky, fun elements throughout. A nod to soviet modernism design, clean, elegant lines of wood panelling, marble surfaces, and brass fittings are further accentuated with warm lighting in the 66-seater restaurant designed by the group’s creative director Jerry Sparks.
“boCHINche has been like that trusted old friend that never lets you down through the years. We’ve grown beyond just being that Argentinian restaurant or a traditional steakhouse - and have truly carved out a unique identity in Singapore’s dining scene that I believe will stand the test of time, and flourish even into even bigger and bolder possibilities from this point on,” shares Cynthia Chua, founder and Chairman of Spa Esprit Group.
Pre-meal nibbles come in inspired morsels packed full of flavours. Crispy Argentinian Spring Rolls (S$14) are filled with tender, richly flavoured chopped pig ears, cut with an aromatic mix of jalapeño, piquillo, scallion, and coriander. A trio of hand-cut beef, chicken and sweet corn Empanadas (S$5 each) continue to be boCHINche’s signature crowd-pleasers, with the addition of a new flavour that elevates the quintessential ham and cheese pairing with rich provolone cheese, smoked ham, sweet confit onions and pimento.
While meats are the main event at boCHINche, a new selection of standout starters offer bright respite for those seeking a lighter touch for their meals. A plump, milky ball of artisanal Italian Burrata (S$29) is paired with a medley of fermented tomatoes that cut through each creamy spoonful with refreshing fizzy pops on the palate, dotted with avocado mousse and edible orange cosmos. Quail (S$28) offers more than just a beautifully charcoal grilled bird with earthy flavours of salt-crusted roasted beetroot, crunchy roasted hazelnuts and tangy berries brought together with a rich buttermilk sauce. A classic Spanish risotto-style Bomba Arroz Verde (S$27) is topped with grilled Argentinian prawns, while raw scallop bites are folded throughout the rice and glazed with a stock made using seafood trimmings, resulting in a satisfying, creamy consistency while still remaining blissfully dairy-free.
From the famous wood and charcoal grill, a combination of cherry, apple and jarrah wood lends an irresistible flavour to a proud selection of carefully selected, grass-fed beef imported directly from Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Japan. While Argentinian beef remains the heart and soul of boCHINche, a renewed emphasis has been placed on the brand being an authority on high quality cuts of beef from around the world. A dry-aging fridge allows beef to be dry- aged in-house—typically for 35 to 38 days—using traditional methods, with an added coating of beef tallow that helps enhance the aging process while introducing new dimensions of flavours.
A thoughtful, 50-odd-strong-label wine list completes the steakhouse experience, with 10 labels available by glass and carafe. Designed around the philosophy of pairing wines and cuisine of the same origin, the list features 30 Argentinian labels—mainly from the key region of Mendoza—ranging from the quaffable to the bold and robust. The list is split between a selection of natural wines sourced from Drunken Farmer, while the rest remain conventional for their big, robust flavours that are best enjoyed with aged meats cooked over charcoal fire.
Tiong Bahru Bakery's newest outlet, TBB Safari, is a safari-themed cafe on Minden Road. Set in a glamping tent, TBB Safari's patrons can expect a specially designed exterior, an exclusive menu selection and lush greenery all around.
Aiming to 'bring the outdoors indoor', TBB Safari is inspired by the founder's recent trip to an African safari in Botswana.
TBB Safari offers exclusive drinks include the Beetroot Latte and Turmeric Latte , as well as breakfast jars such as the Rolled Oats with Black Sesame & Pineapple, and the Tapioca Coconut Papaya.
TBB is kept at a cool 25 degrees Celsius even without air-conditioning. Their opening hours are from 8am-5pm daily.
It all started with a seed and then that was nurtured by their firmly-held belief in celebrating neighbourhoods, that blossomed into a space bourne out of love called Tiong Bahru Bakery on 43 Jalan Merah Saga in Chip Bee Gardens, surrounding the artsy bohemian enclave, Holland Village. After six years in the planning of this long-awaited fourth bakery (really, since the inception of this Singapore-French concept), finally the Home of the Handmade Croissant can embrace the unique culture of the locale and the creative melting pot of individuals that make up this quaint and tight-knitted community.
Sticking closely to homegrown Tiong Bahru Bakery's DNA, they bring fresh breads, viennoiserie and pastries to the people everyday. Expect the full menu of well-loved and familiar all-French butter and flour only treats such as their signature butter croissants which are baked fresh every two hours priced at $3.20 each and the grand list of iced and hot beverage from 8am – 8pm daily at the neighbourhood's doorstep.
Debuted in May 2012 on Eng Hoon Street in charming Tiong Bahru, offering the neighbourhood a range of French pastries and artisanal breads made with the best French flour and butter. As one of the very first French bakeries in Singapore, Tiong Bahru Bakery revolutionised the way locals enjoy breads with topnotch bakes and sparked the French bakery trends. Their croissants have been voted by many as the best in Singapore and the Kouign Amanns are much raved about. All best enjoyed with an aromatic cuppa from the specialty coffee bar by Common Man Coffee Roasters.
Open Farm Community (OFC), an exciting new collaboration between The Spa Esprit Group; celebrity chef, Ryan Clift; and award-winning food garden specialists, Edible Garden City, launches this month on Dempsey Hill.
Sprawling over 35,000 square feet on the edge of Minden Road, this revolutionary experiential space is a green mix of urban farmland right in the heart of Singapore, and a horticultural hub. OFC is established with the goal to help Singaporeans make a deeper and more meaningful connection with food and farming.
OFC is a timely response to increasing disconnect between most urban communities with nature generally, and specifically, with the way we eat – what we eat, and how we eat. Above all, it is a celebration of local farmers, creative chefs, and delicious seasonal fare.
These progressive initiatives will be unveiled in stages, but the DNA is clear. This unique venture is designed to provide families, foodies and gourmets alike with a transformational opportunity to learn about food and the role it should play in a modern eco-system that is saturated with processed ingredients, imported produce, and unsustainable farming practices.
At the core of OFC is an interactive, content-rich programme that explores the communal pleasures of fresh produce, renewable agricultural practices, and an encouragement to actively reflect on food in all its dimensions. Its sprawling outdoor and covered spaces incorporate a coffee bar, fresh juice and cocktail bar, as well as educational breakout spaces alongside group activities such as lawn bowling and table tennis.