With varied offerings and their easy-to-eat style, skewers are gaining popularity among diners here and at least six eateries are featuring them as their star dish. Skewers are usually just part of the offerings at many Japanese restaurants. But sticks of chargrilled or deep-fried meat and vegetables have become the star in a fresh crop of restaurants here. Over the past nine months, no fewer than six skewer eateries have opened. They include Chikin, a yakitori and cocktail bar in Bukit Pasoh Road that opened last Friday; and Provisions, a claypot rice-cum-skewers restaurant-bar in Dempsey Road that opened earlier this month.
Come Aug 1, renowned kushikatsu restaurant Rokukakutei from Osaka will open its first overseas outpost in Odeon Towers in North Bridge Road. One of the early birds is The Skewer Bar in 489 Geylang Road which opened in February last year. Co-owner Tan Jun Ann, 34, says business has increased by up to 20 per cent over the past year, with about 500 skewers sold daily. “The popularity of skewers is an extension of eating satay for supper,” he says.
Many new places come with a bar. With Chikin, opened by Coterie Dining Concepts, chief executive officer Tay Eu-Yen, 38, hopes to bring yakitori out of a “traditionally smoky and woody izakaya setting” by covering her bar with Japanese pop art.
“Yakitori offers variety in a meal and are fun to eat,” she says. “They are flexible as they can be a light bar bite or a heavier meal option.”
At Provisions, South-east Asian ingredients are used in its meat skewers, claypot rice and cocktails. Co-owner Justin Foo, 27, says having a skewer-centric menu makes more business sense in a tough economic climate. He and co-owner K.C. Rahmat, 34, pumped in “less than $90,000” for their maiden business venture. He says: “A skewer eatery requires less manpower. Only two staff members are required to run the kitchen, unlike in a full-scale restaurant.”
Diners are lapping up the skewers. Human resource manager Mona Wee, in her 50s, likes barbecue grills. She says: “Skewers showcase a lot of creativity on a stick. It can be quite addictive and I can have 50 skewers with a group of friends.”