Set to open its doors tomorrow, Bacchanalia is primed to be the latest and hottest new restaurant to hit town. Owned and operated by the guys behind the Bacchanalia Brunch, they've also brought in a kitchen full of star studded chefs to make their vision into a reality. We had the chance to speak to the founders, Alex Chew & Raj Datwani, about the inspiration behind Bacchanalia and the challenging process of opening a restaurant. Read on to learn more and look out for our review coming out later this week.
UrbanJourney: Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind Bacchanlia and why you chose to open in Singapore.
Alex & Raj: Bacchanalia was inspired by the two of us spending time in restaurants, bars and nightclubs both in Singapore and around the world. We felt there were a few things missing in Singapore – both our brunch concept as well as our full Bacchanalia experience, which is a place you can come to for a long leisurely meal with quality food + drinks, as well as a progressive atmosphere that evolves as the evening turns to night.
UJ: What do you want to achieve with Bacchanalia?
A & R: It is for that reason we sought out such talented chefs who have experience in some of the world’s best kitchens, including a combined 12 years at Heston Bloomenthal’s The Fat Duck (UK), Mugaritz (SPAIN) and Per Se (NYC). Also, we wanted offer this gourmet food at a more affordable price (averagely less than $100) as one of our biggest personal frustrations is the exorbitant amount dinner can cost in Singapore.
UJ: What are your restaurant operating hours?
A & R: For now we will be open Tuesday - Saturday for dinner and Sunday for brunch. However, the design narrative of our restaurant allows for customers to really enjoy themselves through the evening, be it for a pre-dinner drink, dinner or even music and drinks after dinner. We hope Bacchanalia becomes a destination that encompasses a big part of your evening.
UJ: Describe Bacchanalia in hashtags:
A & R: #Buzzing #GreatFood #Champagne #Parry #FoodPorn #StrongDrinks #Enjoy #LateNight #FineDiningWithouttheFuss
UJ: What have been the biggest challenges along the way, from idea creation to now the launch of the restaurant?
A & R: Starting any business for the first time is always a massive challenge with tons of obstacles, both big and small, all compiled into one massive learning experience. Some examples of the bigger challenges over the last 20 months have been: finding the right location. The retail market here is both hot and expensive, so, we were very fortunate to find a beautiful and iconic location in the Masonic Hall. Assembling the right team is always a big challenge, and it is something we've been working on for over a year and will be a continious effort even now. Brand building - it's been an amazing year trying to build the Bacchanalia brand both in Singapore and abroad. We think We're just getting started but have some very cool things lined up for this year, so, fingers crossed!
UJ: Is there any particular lesson you have learned til now during this process?
A & R: There's probably not enough space on this page to document all our lessons! All we can say is...we are dying to open restaurant #2 so we can apply them all!
UJ: If you could start all over, is there anything different you would do?
A & R: This has been an incredibly tough but amazing journey thus far. We've had ups and downs, but are happy at the moment with how everything has turned out. If we changed anything, that means we wouldn't be where we are right now, so we'd have to answer no to that question!
UJ: What will a brunch experience be like at Bacchanalia? What about dinner?
A & R: Our monthly Saturday brunches have gotten a little crazier. We sold out all 150 seats for this week's event in 24 hours, and now that we have our own space we've been able to create our perfect atmosphere - from the seating layout to the lights and music to a few surprises that we have in store as well.
After a year of brunches, we are particularly excited for dinner service. An unhurried, affordable gourmet meal replete with your choice of spirits, wines, champagnes and even sake. On most nights, an in-house DJ (with the occasional celebrity DJ) to drive the mood as the night goes along, and a few drinks to cap off your evening, be it at our bar or at your seat. A full night in the same space you started.
UJ: Advice for anyone looking to get into F&B here in Singapore?
A & R: With a new F&B venue opening almost daily, be sure to be as unique as possible. Customers have so many choices so really give some thought as to why they would choose you, and build around that. Also, be very careful with your numbers - expenses add up quick here compared to most cities.
23A Coleman Street
Tel: +65 6509 1453
Find Bacchanalia on Facebook
View Bacchanalia's website
Enjoyed this article? You also may enjoy our review on Bacchanalia & our interview with Bacchanalia's head chef Ivan Brehm.