OldTown White Coffee triumphs at Singapore’s Epicurean Star Awards

OldTown White Coffee won the award for Best Traditional Cafe at the Restaurant Association of Singapore’s 2015 Epicurean Star Awards. — TODAY pic
OldTown White Coffee won the award for Best Traditional Cafe at the Restaurant Association of Singapore’s 2015 Epicurean Star Awards. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Nov 19 — Restaurant Labyrinth, CUT, Bread Street Kitchen and OldTown White Coffee were among the F&B establishments honoured at the Restaurant Association of Singapore’s (RAS) annual Epicurean Star Awards gala dinner, held yesterday evening at Raffles City Convention Centre.

Now in its 10th year, the Epicurean Star Awards 2015 saw awards given out in 18 categories, the highest number ever.

One of the new awards added this year was for Best Ice Cream Parlour, in which local establishment Udders Ice Cream and Tom’s Palette were nominated. The award eventually went to Alfero Gelato.

“I’m very happy and at the same time surprised. I mean I just came to Singapore six years ago and started my business four years ago. I think I am the first one to bring the real tradition from Italy,” he said. “So I’m very happy to develop the culture of Italian gelato in Singapore and bring the culture of Italian cuisine. We try to make the real, authentic gelato following the Italian tradition, and we focus on high quality products.”

This year’s awards were also expanded to include the subcategory of chain restaurants in each of the three cuisine categories: Western, Chinese and Asian. Also, in addition to the Best Cafe award (which was clinched by Oriole), a new award for Best Local Traditional Cafe was presented to OldTown White Coffee.

Madeline Tay, marketing manager for OldTown, said: “We have been in Singapore for nine years but from my understanding, we have never participated in any awards event before. So ... we are very happy about it.”

She attributed the win to having a very strong brand and background in the market here. “I believe it’s because OldTown started off with white coffee which is available in the supermarket. This instant coffee is a very strong brand in supermarkets in Singapore. Then we started with F&B outlets. A lot of people like our coffee, and I believe this is a strong contributing factor for us as well.”

Tay also said the traditional meals they provide at the outlets — local Nanyang cuisine such as nasi lemak and assam laksa — also helped OldTown retain its audience.

In the established categories, CUT was named Best Fine Western Restaurant, beating out nominees such as Jaan and Joel Robuchon. Gordon Ramsay’s outlet, Bread Street Kitchen took the honour of Best New F&B Establishment; while Restaurant Labyrinth clinched Best Asian Restaurant (Fine).

David Liew, director of Labyrinth dedicated the win to the restaurant staff. “This goes out to all the chefs, all the service staff and all the guys that work really hard. It’s thanks to them that we were able to make it this far. I’ll bring this back and pop a bottle of champagne and give the guys a big hug,” he said, adding that he didn’t think the restaurant would win.

“We are still a young outfit, so for us, it’s just trying to do the best that we can and whatever comes our way is just an added blessing,” said Liew. “We don’t go after awards per se. We are new to the whole RAS scene so we didn’t have any expectations at all. So we are really pleasantly surprised by this.”

The RAS Epicurean Star Awards judging panel consists of 19 gastronomes including 2am Dessert Bar’s Janice Wong, food critic Wong Ah Yoke, Class 95FM DJ Yasminne Cheng and food bloggers Maureen Ow (Misstamchiak) and Dr Leslie Tay (ieatishootipost).

In October, they assessed the restaurants over a one-month period. Their criteria included restaurant concept, menu and quality of service.

Who won what: RAS Epicurean Star Award 2015 winners

Best Western Restaurant (Fine): CUT

Best Western Restaurant (Casual): Osia

Best Western Restaurant (Chain): Eighteen Chefs and Dancing Crab

Best Asian Restaurant (Fine): Restaurant Labyrinth

Best Asian Restaurant (Casual): Nara Thai Cuisine

Best Asian Restaurant (Chain): Wrap & Roll

Best Chinese Restaurant (Fine): Tong Le Private Dining and Xi Yan Private Dining

Best Chinese Restaurant (Casual): Ling Zhi

Best Chinese Restaurant (Chain): Din Tai Fung and Tung Lok Signatures

Best Japanese Restaurant (Fine): Waku Ghin

Best Japanese Restaurant (Casual): Shimbashi Soba

Best New F&B Establishment: Bread Street Kitchen

Best Café: Oriole Coffee

Best Café (Local Traditional): OldTown White Coffee

Best Gastro-Pub: Barossa Bar

Best Buffet: 10 at Claymore

Best Buffet Caterer: Kuisine Catering

Best Ice Cream Parlour: Alfero Gelato

Best of the Best*: Waku Ghin, Nara Thai Cuisine and Eighteen Chefs

*Best of the Best is awarded to the judging panel’s pick in each collective category of Fine, Casual and Chain winners. — TODAY

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