[Updated] Palette Restaurant & Bar has officially ended its operations with effect from 21 April 2016, and the space has been rebranded as Food Republic.
[Original Entry] 10 years ago in 2005, BreadTalk Group opened a higher end food court at Wisma Atria, gathering some well-known hawker and restaurant fare in the same place.
The rest is history. Food Republic is now almost everywhere around Singapore, also establishing its brand in some regional countries. I remember the ‘novel’ food court created some excitement then, with extremely long queues, and aunties dressed in retro gear pushing dim sum on push-carts.
Do you know that Toast Box has its beginnings there as well?
10 year later, BreadTalk Group went a step further with the opening up of Palette at Capitol Piazza, an even higher-end food court, though it is named “Palette Restaurant & Bar”. But more like a Food Republic Ver 2.0 it seems.
Would Palette spell the direction of the future food scene in Singapore? Hawker fare in air-conditioned restaurant-like environment, where food gets served to you, of course at a much more expensive price.
Here’s the difference.
I actually got served to a table, then given an iPad to take orders, choosing from a variety of restaurant-stalls. Staff would provide service to help, pour water.
The initial customers around were office executive and tai-tais (some with their husbands) it seems.
Some of the stalls there include
– Ah Koong Restaurant. A 28-year-old noodle joint from Johor Bahru famous for its handmade fishballs.
– Hok Kee. A wanton and beef brisket noodle shop from Yuen Long Hong Kong. While I liked the tenderness of the beef brisket which tasted quite authentic, the noodles from the Assorted Beef Noodles ($12) was unfortunately clumpy. I would eat this again though.
– Ah Yat Seafood Restaurant. Locals should be familiar with Ah Yat, known for its seafood dishes and abalone.
– Yong Xin Fried Hokkien Prawn Noodles. Has more than 10 outlets around Singapore, familiar name with Food Republic. A Fried Hokkien Crayfish Noodles is at $15.
– Balestier Bak Kut Teh. Isn’t Balestier’s most famous BKT Founder? Anyway, they have a stall within Ion Orchard’s Food Republic though.)
– Huat Huat BBQ. 6 pieces of BBQ chicken wings at $12.
– IndoChili. A family style Indonesian restaurant first established at Zion Road. I quite like its food, especially the Sate Ayam Madura ($8.80) chicken skewers in an addictive peanut sauce and glazed sweet soy sauce.
– Little Nanyang. Local favourites such as Hainanese Chicken rice ($9/$17/$32, quarter/half/whole)
– Delhi 6. Specialises in Indian cuisine from the North-West Frontier Province. Their recommended items include Tandoori Murg Gulnar ($26) and Multani Barrah Kebab ($20). A mutton Frontier Gosht Biryani is at $20.
– 90 Gastro Bar. Offers cocktail and Asian-inspired desserts.
What I like: Cool air-conditioned environment, without the need to queue. Best suited for customers who rather pay more than join in a line.
What I think can be improved:
The price. I ordered a dry mee kia with fishcake at Ah Koong, and that cost $11.90. Plus service charge and GST, that set me back by $14! I recognised that there was some service provided in the delivery of food. But many restaurants which use the self-service iPad would do away with the tax.
I have read several positive reviews about Ah Koong Restaurant’s fishball and fishcake, though that magical taste did not surface from what I ate.
Also, I was curious about the lack of a local coffee stall. The branding seem to be deliberately pitched at a higher level (understandably), but not providing the quintessential kopi and teh while serving local food seemed to be quite at odds, especially when the group is quite strong in that aspect.
There were some stalls which are repeats from Food Republic. I wonder if Palette could have been different in the first place to create a more unique and upscale branding.
13 Stamford Road Capitol Piazza NEUE #B1-20/27 Singapore 178905 (City Hall MRT)
Tel: +65 6384 3359
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 10:30pm Daily
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