Singapore has seen a rising smattering of concept stores in recent times. From fashion ateliers offering a smorgasbord of lifestyle aesthetics to frou frou little food boutiques dressing-up Sunday staples like Eggs Bennie and macaroons, our little country is slowly becoming one of the most stylish destinations in the world. But is this just another transient fad or is this foo-shion here to stay?
Globally, there have been many attempts at fusing food and fashion. With food good enough to wear (Lady Gaga’s ‘bacon creation’ at the 2010 MTV Awards, need I say more?) and fashion good enough to eat (foodporndaily.com makes me want to switch up my closet for a room full of glass cabinets displaying my own collection of ‘food vogue’), it is no surprise that our sprightly young entrepreneurs have caught on to the wave… and are making a business out of it (because let’s face it, Singaporeans are not yet daring enough to don cabbage bikinis or wrap themselves in charsiew… right?)
Ever heard of an F&B outlet that touts fashion and lifestyle labels as well? A quick survey turns up a few bout-eliers that have attempted at the foo-shion enterprise. Maison Ikkoku, for example, offers a fashion-eat-able coup d’etat for men who are tired of being dragged along by their women on frivolous, giggly shopping sprees (guilty!). Pact is a posh emporium of industrial architecture that offers Asian cuisine, a modern/grunge wardrobe and a salon that employs Japanese influences in a cutting edge fashion. Fullhouse Theme Café is a vintage little Victorian abode with a homely arrangement that caters to the entire family; from a girly room with a bed full of designer stuff that I would die to drown in to an entertainment room for mini-concerts and movie screenings to a quixotic dining experience with family recipes. Singapore is surely becoming less stranger to fresh, new concepts.
Recently, we were invited to the launch of yet another. Egg3’s vivacious founder, Mike Tan, has launched a pop-up store featuring a Patisserie selling bite-sized desserts and beverages. Said Mike Tan, “Most regulars always say “Why don’t you have a cafe with the fashion together?”. So that’s what gave me the idea of creating a pop-up store [that] caters to young yuppies, trendy people who have taste and like to dress up and love simple, nice food.” Hence, the dawn of a new… egg.
(Mike Tan started his conquest at a small shop at Ang Siang 9 years ago and has since expanded to 3 other shops – at Mandarin Gallery, Orchard Central and Cathay – all with a lifestyle concept. Egg3 Patisserie is his first venture into the F&B industry.)
Egg3 is one of a cosy shell encompassing a yolk of eclectic style that offers chic classic French desserts (and other staple food options) at affordable prices alongside a quirky selection of local and imported knick-knacks. Fancy a scone while perusing Max Tan’s wardrobe? What about a tart to accompany you into -J-A-S-O-N-’s closet? Egg3 offers all that and more because everything on display at Egg3 Patisserie is for sale! (Yes, including the white-ware you’ll dine with and the luxurious furniture you’ll lounge on.)
The scones are to-die-for! Crumbly as a cookie on the outside, soft and milky as butter on the inside with sweet sultanas dotting the surface… it’s like biting into one of heaven’s nuggets. Absolutely divine.
So what sets Egg3 Patisserie apart from other foo-shion outlets? Mike Tan aims to create a ‘home outside a home’ and it is this humble experience that sells. This quaint little place holds no airs and you immediately feel welcome with the more-than-hospitable service. There is no clear divide between the fashion and food floors and it feels as if one area melts warmly into the other with a stage of natural sunlight to provide an incredibly cosy feeling. It feels like being right at home in a makeshift walk-in closet with a table of sweets and a bunch of friends on a casual afternoon. And with a cosmopolitan layout, it feels as if the world has come to your doorstep. Mike Tan is quite the sight as well, with his PSY glasses, baggy Japanese-inspired garb and genial smile, his buoyant personality is one of the many endearing attractions that grows on you at Egg3 Patisserie.
Beyond a retail space tailored to a lifestyle niche, concept stores sell the feel-good experience of having an unconventional alternative to spice up our mundane nine-to-fives and a variety of novelty items that we don’t come across in typical retail outlets. But are foo-shion concept stores a disposable fad? I believe it boils down to a matter of want or need. We want something different but, with the variety we get in our many self-contained malls, do we actually need a store that caters to both our wardrobe and our appetites?
Mike Tan comments, “People want fresh ideas, they want a trendy place to sit around that’s different. When I travel around Europe, Korea, Japan they have a lot of these styles of nice concept stores. I think it’s [here for] the long-term”.
Mike Tan’s entrepreneurial notions have altruistic underpinnings as well as he hopes that his chain will provide a platform for local designers to showcase their work amidst a shroud of foreign imports. And perhaps this can serve as a cornerstone foundation for aspiring homegrown artists and food entrepreneurs: To work together to pave the way to a more exceptional F&B experience for a swanky young Singapore that is in search of something a little more… ‘different’.
Egg3 has an affordable High Tea set that offers 6 delicious tarts (selection pictured above), 1 scone and 1 tea/coffee for just $15.90! This offer only applies from 3 – 5pm.
Egg3 nests at 231 Mountbatten Road, Block D, #01-06/07 and is open every Tuesday to Sunday.
Picture credits to Egg3