an eye for detail in DESIGNING GASTRONOMIC EXPERIENCES
Familiar with the term “P.S.” at the end of a letter? It bids the reader to take note of something that was left out in the main agenda but PS. Cafe hardly needs to call out for attention. And the name chosen was to signify the beginning of the café to compliment their fashion outlet, Project Shop (notice the initials?) which was how Philip Chin and Peter Teo started their foray into the world of design. From designing clothes and accessories, they also worked on conceptualising interior spaces of their first Project Shop outlet in Paragon. As time progresses, they have also strengthened their portfolio and ventured into the food and beverage industry, partnering Richard Chamberlain and today, PS. Cafe is one of the island’s favourite spot and in their own words – “a refuge for social gathering, good food and drink”.
Neutral yet strong shades are the identifying hue for all PS. Cafe located at Dempsey Hill, Harding Road, Ann Siang Hill, Palais Renaissance and Paragon on Orchard. These hues provide an open canvas for the owners, to work on adding elements to create a cosy and welcoming café for that feast of senses a customer should ideally experience when they intend to go slow on their meal and enjoy a good conversation. The size of a premise greatly influences the experience as many overzealous proprietors choose to maximise space to allow more patrons but the owners are against it. While they concede that space is a challenge in the small island, it was viewed an opportunity to test their wits in precision and designing a space that is unique yet practical for the team and customers to be comfortable.
GLOBAL INSPIRATIONS, LOCAL INVENTIONS
Nothing is a better teacher than traveling and being avid travelers, Peter and Philip created menus for each café with each store having a signature element be it interiors or the menu. At Paragon on Orchard, the café makes for a hearty meal pre or post-shopping along the island’s shopping belt. The Asian favourite known as ‘laksa’ is combined with pasta for an interesting twist on pesto or beancurd tossed with a spicy dressing and almonds.The outlet at Harding looks like a scene from a suburban neighbourhood as it faces an open field for a serene view to go with your brunch or lunch. A more family-oriented menu, items focus on the familiar and wholesome like muesli, burgers, sandwiches, pies, pastas and a bit of seafood offerings.At the Palais, guests are charmed by large glass windows and majestic white ceiling beams matched with rustic brick walls; a suitable place for an executive lunch that is not too uptight yet conducive enough to conduct serious discussions over a primarily Western menu with regional influences sprinkled here and there – Singapore Chilli Crab Cake or the Moroccan Lamb.For special occasions or intimate times, PS. Cafe A.S.H (Ann Siang Hill) is the place to go. Designed for winding down, the outlet features a bar on the ground floor, dining on the first whilst a lounge for drinks and music completes this “no children policy” place.[hr]
EXPANSION, A NATURAL PROGRESSION
True blue designers always evolve and it speaks through their works hence the birth of PS. Petit which functions as a test kitchen and only does takeaways primarily of pizzas with interesting variations such as Hungarian Salami made with Magalista pork or fun items like eating your big breakfast on a pizza base! It also functions as a test kitchens for its chefs to invent more creative culinary pleasures.
Creating experiences for the community from their own life journal, CHOPSUEY is their latest effort and offers a distinctly different menu from the PS. Cafe branches. Reminiscing of their days as hungry students abroad craving for a taste of home or Asian gastronomic memories whilst travelling, CHOPSUEY is an “anglicised form of a Chinese dish”, or in simple terms,
adding a touch of English to its cuisine, without doing away with its roots. Rattan woven chairs with a touch of red paired with marble tables that reflect a strong Asian heritage. One could call it a ‘beautiful collision’ when chopsticks, sauce platters and Chinese rice bowls meet the Western fork and knife setting as diners enjoy the inspired combinations of both cultures from the kitchen.
With diners becoming more sophisticated and discerning in eating, days of eating to appease a hungry stomach is making way for an all-rounded experience where the ambience, presentation and culinary fusions are greatly valued. And the Project Shop as the backbone of the PS. Cafe’s line is making good headway in the industry.