Take Charge of Your Own Meal
More restaurants are engaging the customer in designing the menu
Issue: Jul 2011
Be your own chef at Al Fresco Gusto and create your own pasta perfection from a selection of noodles, sauces, vegetables and meats or seafood
Interactivity is so much a part of our lives now that even restaurants are jumping onto the bandwagon. Set menus and standard courses no longer satisfy. Instead, restaurants are increasingly engaging their customers and encouraging them to create their own dishes, combinations and flavours. This interactivity is just perfect for the new, take-charge generation.
Fun at Lunch
At Al Fresco Gusto, eating out is taken quite literally. The 100-seat outdoor trattoria is probably the largest Italian restaurant in an al fresco setting in Orchard Road. Spanning some 60 metres, it covers almost the whole width of ION Orchard, the iconic mall in the heart of Orchard Road. But what makes Al Fresco Gusto an interesting place for lunch is its innovative Quick Pick Menu which lets customers create their own pasta dish.
"Alfresco Gusto's Quick Pick Menu allows the customer to put fun in their lunch. This is a chance for us to give the customers what they want with the quality of our sauces and ingredients. When our diners design their own creations, they look forward to enjoying their own creations," says Audrey Cherish Yeong, Marketing and Communications Manager of Al Fresco Gusto.
Designing your pasta meal begins with picking the noodle of your choice. There are four types available: spaghetti, linguine, capellini, and penne. Then comes the sauce, of which there are also four types: classic tomato, Alfredo cream, prawn bisque, and Aglio Olio. These can be topped with a variety of vegetables: grilled zucchini, mushroom, olives and bell pepper confit. Finally, comes the choice of meats or seafood: chicken strips, fresh clams, Italian sausages and honey ham. In all, there are 256 different combinations that can be created!
"Some of our top combinations are: spaghetti with prawn bisque, fresh clams and mushrooms; capellini Aglio Olio with fresh clams and olives; penne in classic tomato sauce topped with chicken strips and grilled zucchini; and linguine in Alfredo cream sauce with Italian sausage and mushroom,” says Yeong.
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Say yes to designing your own crepes at Saybons
Choices abound at Saybons where you can decide the combination of toppings you want with your crepes
Rolling with the Times
Fast food goes chic and French with Saybons, a little eatery at Plaza Singapura with another outlet at Junction 8. Its name is an anglicized version of the French phrase c'est bon (it's good) and its food is certainly good. The place serves up simple, fuss-free, hearty French cuisine like soup, bread, salad, escargot and crepes both sweet and savoury.
Its crepes selection is worth particular mention because apart from the choices on the menu, Saybons allows you to design your own savoury and sweet crepes.
"I noticed that there is a trend towards consumers who want variety in their food," says owner and Le Corbon Bleu trained executive chef, Daphane Loke when asked why Saybons allows customisation.
"It is fun for the customers because they can try different crepe flavours everyday. Some also have very specific preferences such as no eggs, or onions. By allowing customisation, we can cater to a bigger group of customers.”
“I noticed that there is a trend towards consumers who want variety in their food,“ says owner and Le Corbon Bleu trained executive chef, Daphane Loke when asked why Saybons allows customisation.
“It is fun for the customers because they can try different crepe flavours everyday. Some also have very specific preferences such as no eggs, or onions. By allowing customisation, we can cater to a bigger group of customers.”
The plain crepes can be topped with any number of fillings: onions, tomatoes, asparagus, capsicum, avocado, mushrooms, eggs, ham, tuna, roast beef, bacon, smoked salmon, chicken or cheese.
The sweet crepes can be eaten with sugar and butter or with three types of toppings: fruits, regular and premium. Under the fruits section, you can choose from fresh strawberries, bananas, apples, peaches and lemons. The regular toppings include peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia, raisins as well as cinnamon. And the premium toppings give you a choice of milk, dark, and white chocolate, Nutella and salted caramel. Mix and match the toppings for your own crepe creation then up the ante with a scoop of French Vanilla or chocolate ice-cream or, if you are truly indulgent, both!
At Marble Slab Creamery, there are hundreds of flavours you can possibly create simply by mixing and matching flavours and mix-ins
Flavour of the Moment
From main course to desserts, you can definitely be creative and interactive all the way.
If chunky, milky-rich ice cream flavours are your thing, then Marble Slab Creamery will certainly hit the right spot. Right on Junction 8's second level is the American ice-cream franchise that lets you make your own ice-cream flavours by mixing your choice of handmade ice creams with an astounding selection of mix-ins.
The process is simply genius. Begin by picking one of more than 40 flavours. The more unusual ones include French toast, birthday cake, Blackforest cake, Amaretto, apple ‘n' spice, banofee pie, Irish cream, lemon custard and peanut butter banana. Then pick any number of mix-ins you want. These range from fresh fruits to nuts, baked goods (think apple crumble, cookies, brownies and cake), candy, cereal and sauces. Your choices will then be mixed together on a frozen marble slab to create a brand new flavour.
Perhaps the best thing about these interactive restaurants is the fact that not only are the choices limitless, the customers' preferences are also taken into consideration where it matters most. For discerning diners who want to take control of their meals, what more could the menu offer?
68 Orchard Road, #B2-32
Tel: + 65 6884 9018
Al Fresco Gusto (ION Orchard)
2 Orchard Turn, #01-15
Tel: +65 6509 9380
Marble Slab Creamery
9 Bishan Place #02-52
Junction 8 Shopping Centre,
(Next to Bishan MRT station)
Phone: 6258 5628