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From luxe private home dining to discounted tickets, high-end restaurants innovate to cope with heightened alert

SINGAPORE — Fancy having a chef from a high-end restaurant come to your house to serve up a meal for you and your family?

From luxe private home dining to discounted tickets, high-end restaurants innovate to cope with heightened alert

Some of the dishes served up by Saint Pierre in its Room Service by Saint Pierre experience.

  • Some high-end restaurants in Singapore have launched a private home dining service during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert)
  • This pricey service involves a chef coming to the diners’ homes to cook or serve the meals
  • Another initiative is the Tough Time Ticket, where customers can buy discounted coupons for multi-course meals at fine dining establishments

 

SINGAPORE — Fancy having a chef from a high-end restaurant come to your house to serve up a meal for you and your family?

With heightened alert measures forbidding dining in at food and beverage outlets, at least two of Singapore’s top restaurants are offering this private dining service during this period — though it will set you back a pretty penny. 

Clos Pasoh, a French brasserie that began operations on March 1 this year, is one such restaurant that has rolled out the service, with prices starting from S$2,000.

The restaurant’s general manager and co-owner Arthur Lafon said that customers who opt for this experience will have a chef from the restaurant come to their house to cook dishes and serve them. 

But so far, the restaurant has not received any bookings for this service.

“Nobody has engaged us for our private dining service yet… maybe because we have not really marketed it enough,” he said.

Clos Pasoh has suffered a 70 per cent loss in revenue since the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) restrictions came into effect on May 16, Mr Lafon said, though it has been receiving around 100 food delivery orders each week.

Another fine dining restaurant that is offering the “private dining” service is Saint Pierre, a two Michelin-starred modern French restaurant located at One Fullerton. 

Last year during Singapore’s circuit breaker, Saint Pierre introduced "Virtual Saint Pierre", which allowed customers to gather via the Zoom video conferencing app while eating omakase meals that had been delivered to their homes. That service cost about S$220 per person.

Mr Emmanuel Stroobant, the chef-owner of Saint Pierre, said that when heightened alert measures were announced, the restaurant relaunched Virtual Saint Pierre. But it also wanted to go a step further, which was possible as unlike during the circuit breaker, households are allowed to receive up to two guests a day.

And so it came up with Room Service by Saint Pierre. Under this service, all dishes are cooked, prepared and plated using the restaurant’s tableware and then delivered to diners’ homes. 

A staff member from the restaurant will not only deliver the meal but also lay out the dishes and serve the customers in their homes.

"Room Service by Saint Pierre" is tailored for a family of four to five members and costs about S$800 per order. 

“Despite the challenging climate we found ourselves in, we hope families can continue to enjoy great food and conversations with their loved ones through this elevated home dining experience. It’s a gift of warmth, love and comfort that you can enjoy in the safety of your own homes,” said Chef Stroobant.

While the service is taking some time to gain traction, orders are picking up. Last week the restaurant received about two orders a day for Room Service by Saint Pierre but this weekend it is serving three to four orders a day. 

TOUGH TIME TICKETS 

A more affordable option that some customers have taken up to support their favourite restaurants is the “Tough Time Ticket”. 

Mr Fernando Arévalo, the chef-owner of contemporary fine dining restaurant Preludio first launched this initiative in March last year just before the circuit breaker was announced, when his restaurant was not doing very well. The idea was simple — fine-dining restaurants would sell “tickets”, or coupons for discounted meals that customers could redeem once F&B outlets were reopened for dine-in. 

At the time, 13 other restaurants joined his initiative, which saw some success. Preludio itself sold 200 tickets in three days. These tickets allowed customers to redeem an eight-course dinner for the price of a six-course meal. 

When the heightened alert measures were announced last month, Mr Arevalo felt it was a good time to revive the initiative and 17 restaurants are taking part this time around, each selling 50 to 150 tickets. 

“The response this year was just incredible and was better than last year… Tickets were quickly sold out for the restaurants that took part in this initiative, sometimes in less than two hours,” he said.

Chef Fernando added that more restaurants came on board this year as the food delivery business has become more competitive, with more food and beverage outlets islandwide offering delivery. 

One of the restaurants that took part in Tough Time Ticket this year, shortly after Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) was announced is Rhubarb Le Restaurant, a contemporary French restaurant at Duxton Hill. 

Chef-owner Paul Longworth said that he released 50 Tough Time Tickets, which were sold out within 24 hours. 

He said that he did not join the initiative last year because during the circuit breaker he was honestly unsure whether the restaurant would survive. 

But having financially recovered from the circuit breaker, Mr Longworth said he was better prepared for this period of heightened alert measures and was confident enough to take part in the Tough Time Ticket initiative this year. 

Canchita Peruvian Restaurant at Dempsey Road is another restaurant that has taken part in the Tough Time Ticket initiative this year. In fact, it opened just a day before the heightened alert measures kicked in.

Restaurant manager Celvin Chiang said the initiative exceeded expectations, as the discounted five-course dinner tickets that they released were sold out within a day. 

The restaurant is planning to launch more tickets to meet the customer demand. 

Mr Lim Kok Boon, a customer who has been following the Tough Time Ticket initiative since last year, said that he has bought 16 to 18 tickets from various restaurants in the past three weeks, including those he has never dined at before. 

“I think it is a very good community effort to try and support some of these restaurants that we enjoy and to help them tide through these difficult times,” said the 49-year-old banker. “I am happy to support this initiative and I hope this will bring some joy to the F&B industry that is very badly hurt during this period of time”.

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