Frederick Yap and Velda Tan, co-owners of Pince & Pince, on how it all started and what it takes to serve up fresh, wild-caught lobster here in Singapore.
Everyone knows Tan as the photogenic co-founder of million-dollar online boutique Love, Bonito with 113K Instagram followers; Yap is the brand’s former managing director. And one would expect them to know how to generate buzz for their lobster joint Pince & Pints, which opened last year. Drawing two-hour queues nightly, however, is something else.
The idea for Pince & Pints germinated two years ago when Yap dined at London’s fast-but-fine-food phenomenon Burger & Lobster and was bowled over by its simple menu: steamed or grilled lobster, lobster roll or a burger for £20 (S$41.60) each. But doing this in Singapore was challenging: He found that the only way to serve a whole live lobster for under $50 (every lobster dish at Pince & Pints costs $48) was to buy them directly from fishermen off the Atlantic Coast and build a warehouse with tank facilities to store over 1,000 at a time.
So that’s what he did. “I strongly felt that there was a niche in the market for lobsters as most restaurants sell them at a very high price. The goal was to introduce lobsters as a new trend here, while offering great value for money,” he explains.
The restaurant receives two shipments weekly, ensuring a mere five-day interval between the time when lobsters are wild-caught from the ocean and when they are served. And when Yap declares Pince & Pints lobsters as the best, he’s done the legwork to prove it – he drove along the entire East Coast of the US to visit some of the world’s largest lobster facilities to learn lobster know-how. “The purchasing process took a lot of trial and error before I narrowed down the suppliers whom I’ve built strong relations with and get top quality lobsters from.”
The trendy seafood-shack-meets-Brooklyn-bar interiors are where Tan comes in. Working with local design firm Bravo, she oversaw the branding, right down to the chic metal menus modelled on lobster cages. She clearly knows what makes a good shot: Search #PinceAndPints on Instagram and over 3,000 posts pop up – close-ups of lobsters from every angle imaginable, 20somethings posing in the restaurant’s retro-cool leather booths, and line-ups of its pretty lemonades. She says: “We do our best to make our dishes as presentable as possible on top of tasting good, and to provide excellent service to our diners. As a result, they’re happy with their overall experience and want to share it.”
Coming soon: a second outlet in the later half of this year, plus a launch in Hong Kong.
Pince & Pints is at 32 & 33 Duxton Road (6225-7558).
An adapted version of this story appeared in Female‘s April issue.