With price hikes being the new norm in Singapore, having a meal or drink at a restaurant or bar can be tough on the wallet.
Despite the rising costs of living, a survey by DBS Bank in 2022 showed that most Singaporeans are prioritising household necessities, including dining out. It’s a finding that may help reassure F&B businesses that there is still demand amid soaring food prices – but a handful of owners are still choosing to keep their menu affordable for their customers.
Says Gary Giam of 435AtHome, a family-friendly gastrobar along Race Course Road, “I’m not raising the prices of my food and drinks as I don’t think it’s right for us to be passing the cost onto the customer. Also, there is no GST charged to them when they dine here.” Here, house wines go for $16 per glass and $48 per bottle during their wine promotions.
Over at Wiped Out Bar, a no-frills rooftop locale situated on the fourth floor of Beauty World Centre, crowds are drawn to its $8 Heineken beers on tap, and chicken nuggets and curly fries at $4 each. The hawker hangout, which opened in 2020, is even expanding with another branch at the nearby Sime Darby Centre in April.
Adrian Tan, one of the owners of Wiped Out Bar, shares that he plans to offer live music performances, a selection of wines and liquor and a full menu of fusion grub at the new bar. There could even be open-mike nights for budding musicians.
For those working in the Central Business District, Graft & Dagger, as well as Jekyll and Hyde, are a hop and skip away. The two gastrobars, which are situated in a two-storey shophouse along Neil Road, dole out Mod-Sin sharing plates and craft cocktails, and you can always opt for their Happy Hour deals on classic cocktails – margaritas, gin and tonics, and more at $15 – if you’re on a budget.
Owner Chua Ee Chien explains, “A gastrobar really allows people to enjoy quality food with their cocktails. Too often, you might go to a cocktail bar for a drink or too, but the tapas selection is disappointing. As you drink more, you naturally might want more food too.”
He says that “inflation and rising prices have impacted us severely”, adding that “energy costs are up about 50 per cent, with food costs up from 25 to 30 per cent. But we happen to have an extremely talented and versatile chef in Alvin Tan, and we’re elevating the cuisine such that our quality of ingredients and how the dishes are being presented – coupled with great service – make all the difference.”
And the best part about these gastrobars? You can’t really go wrong with their fail-safe spread of comfort food and drinks, and they offer an ambience that’s perfect for casual get-togethers. Even better, there’s always something for everyone.