Having a meal in the garden might look amazing in the movies, but in Singapore, the romantic atmosphere is dampened by the unwelcome presence of insects and heat.
The good news is, there’s a new crop of garden-themed eateries in Singapore. Over the past six months, at least six such restaurants and cafes have opened here.
Last month, Picnic, a 10,000 sq ft, 270-seat international food hall, opened in Wisma Atria and Sichuan- Western cafe Birds of a Feather opened in Amoy Street.
Other newcomers include Epiphyte in Neil Road and cafe cum- furniture shop Knots Cafe and Living in Paya Lebar Road.
Even themed character cafes are jumping in on the act. Hello Kitty Orchid Garden, which opened in May in Changi Airport Terminal 3, is fashioned after a greenhouse.
Gudetama Cafe, which started operations in Suntec City earlier this month, has a section that is decked with plants.
Mr Ivan Tan, 28, co-owner of Epiphyte cafe, which has an indoor garden filled with terrariums and potted orchids, says: “Diners feel calm surrounded by greenery, which allows them to take a breather from the concrete jungle that is the city.”
Some eatery owners extend the nature theme to their menus.
Mr Edwin Lim, 34, owner of five-month-old gelato boutique Birds of Paradise in East Coast Road, did up his eatery in a botanical theme, inspired by his gelatos, which come in South-east Asian flavours such as lemongrass and basil.
Mr Cheng Hsin Yao, 31, director of Picnic, says its garden theme can be modified to suit different seasons and festivals. For example, the vines on the trellises have Christmas ornaments on them during this period.
The dynamic space also hosts flea markets, workshops, events and music performances.
Mr Cheng says: “Parks are the world’s original community centres where people gather for markets and concerts.”
Most diners whom The Sunday Times spoke to do not mind paying extra for a greenery-filled ambience. Marketing manager Carrie Choong, 32, who has visited Knots Cafe and Living 10 times, says: “The plants at the cafe make this a green sanctuary.”
However,financial consultant Sharon Tay, 39, who finds prices at Picnic higher than those at regular food courts, says: “Though it is beautiful, I’d rather visit a restaurant that offers better food for the same price.”
Text: Kenneth Goh / The Straits Times / December 2016
For similar stories, visit straitstimes.com.
For more food stories, read See Photos From The Descendants Of The Sun’s Cafe In Singapore and See The Photos Of The New Greyhound Cafe In Singapore.