fat cat ice cream bar.jpg

Tan Ying Qi, 26, and Charles Tan, 24
Owners of: FATCAT ICE CREAM BAR at Block 416, Bedok North Avenue 2, #01-25
Opened: January 2015

Since her university days, Ying Qi has been toying with the idea of starting a cafe. A trip to Italy two years ago catalysed that dream.

“In Italy, I had the best lemon sorbet I’d ever eaten – it was fresh and had sweet, crispy bits of lemon in it,” recalls Ying Qi, who then challenged her brother Charles, a culinary-school graduate, to replicate it.

“After multiple tries, he finally managed to get it right,” says Ying Qi. “That gave me the boost of confidence I needed to turn my dream of opening an ice cream bar into reality.”

And so Ying Qi quit her job at a production house while Charles – who has worked at Restaurant Andre and the now-defunct Canele Patisserie – gave up a job opportunity at restaurant Le Chateaubriand in Paris.

The siblings pooled their money together, got financial assistance from their parents, and began whipping up all sorts of ice cream flavours, such as Banana Caramel and Hay & Honey.

They chose to set up shop in Bedok North because it was an area they were familiar with. “We had gone to school here (the siblings are alumni of Red Swastika School), had taken swimming lessons at Bedok Swimming Complex and had sport meets at Bedok Stadium,” says Charles.

“Plus, we felt that there was a lack of cafes, especially those specialising in desserts, in Bedok,” adds Ying Qi.

It seems like they made the correct decision, seeing as how their business is now thriving. While youngsters used to flock to the malls near Bedok MRT station, they’re now congregating at Fatcat, which sees an average of 300 customers a day.

Fatcat is also frequently raved about on social media. Do a search on Instagram – type #fatcatsg – and you’ll see a plethora of pictures of its signature charcoal waffles (usually sold out by 8pm), which comes with salted egg yolk sauce.

Its ability to attract hordes of dessert lovers to what used to be a quiet residential block lies in its scrumptious deconstructed desserts, says Charles. Usually found in fine-dining restaurants, such desserts are offered at Fatcat at much lower prices (from $9 to $16) – and the crowd is lapping it up.

Photography: Darren Chang, Art direction: Alice Chua, Styling: CK, assisted by Grace Lim, Hair: Ashloi, using Redken, Makeup: Marie Soh, On Charles: Suit & shirt from Hackett London, On Ying Qi: Top from Iblues, Skirt from Max & Co

This story was first published in Her World Magazine August 2015.