Old building has its lovely charm…as well as headaches

Twice now, we have experienced such major power failures, with nearly everyone along Fairways Drive being affected. It hit us on Saturday, just before the breakfast hours.  Now we are rushing to save the perishables.

It has been more than 12 hours and we’re still waiting for the generators to jump start this place back to life.

The importance of being fussy

Why bother buying a costly espresso machine, only to feed it inferior beans?

We make sure Riders Cafe uses only quality products for our dishes and beverage. We buy our ingredients from reputable suppliers like Vic’s Meats and Culina, tea from our local company Gryphon & coffee from Grinders in Melbourne. But that’s not enough, we believe what makes a great dish is not only a combination of fresh ingredients and a kick ass recipe, it is also with a dash of creativity and a whole lot of passion.

I am pretty fussy about where I buy my ingredients. I scoured every inch of Singapore to find trusty suppliers to work with, from salt to seafood. And it paid off with the much appreciated responses we get from our customers.

Even with a small kitchen like ours (tiny, actually), we churn out our own desserts (even our Death By Chocolate cake), some breads and scones. People often ask me why a small cafe like ours would want to make our own stuff. The answer is simple: To be able to control what we serve and to modify it any way we want. Our kitchen doubles up as a lab in the afternoon on weekdays. Dean, a chef previously from L’Organic, uses this time to create new dessert recipes.

Our oven is kinda like R2D2, it looks like a heap of junk, but it works wonders. It was the only thing in the kitchen when we moved in because it was too big to be removed and was abandoned by the previous owner. LOL

Short handed

Hello everyone,
I am extremely apologetic if in recent months our service standards do not meet your satisfaction. We have lost a few employees to the big boys aka MBS and RW, so we are working with just half our strength. We are trying our best to hire more staff to cope. It is almost a struggle to keep up. Good service crew are impossible to find these days. We work on a ‘less is more’ system where we hire people of caliber rather than a bunch of zombies.

If you know anyone looking for career in the F&B, please let us know.

P.S  Li lin, thanks for reminding me to update this blog.

Closed On Valentine’s Day aka Lunar New Year 2010

Riders Cafe will be closed on Feb 14th -15th, we will reopen for business on Feb 16th.

What to expect in the coming months…

The New Menu
This has been in the works since November 2009. But we want to make sure we do a good job that’s why it’s taking much longer than expected. Please leave us your email address if you would like to be on our mailing list.

Some Touching Up
It’s time for us to get some repainting done. The ceiling is starting to grey and floor needs some polishing. We think the best time to get this done is in February. So be forewarned of closure.

Expanded Wine List
We are extremely happy with our current selection, but we wish to offer more choices for our customers. We are currently working with a couple of wine Connoisseurs and Suppliers to inject some life into our wine list.  So stay tuned.

Yes I’m back!

2010 New Year’s Resolution

To keep this blog updated. Regularly.


Ok I must admit, I have been a total slacker with the updates. No excuse. From this moment I will keep everyone updated on the progress of this little cafe, which I now call my second home.

Just a quick recap of how Riders Cafe passed the 2 and a half year mark.

In the beginning, it was extremely stressful. But what business isn’t? Our mantra, stay calm and make lemonade from lemons! The stories that comes out of our little cafe can fill volumes. Our friends can vouch for that.

From training foreign employees (who doesn’t understand the difference between ketchup and chili sauce) to handling egos (the size of elephants) in the kitchen, to runaway kitchen help (the escape artists) we have experienced quite a lot.

To people from the “other side”, no not ghosts, but what I was in before I started Riders Cafe, the F & B industry in Singapore is indeed a rough business. I was forewarned by my Dad, who laughed at me when I told him I hired a cook and we have already signed a contract of employment. He said, “The people in F & B do not believe in contracts. Good luck if he shows up for work.” Well, true enough, he did not turn up. He turned off his phone and was unreachable for days. Later I got an SMS from him  -“Sorry too far, cannot work”

Surprises never cease. If you like excitement in your life, start a restaurant. You’d be putting out fires all day long.

A Black & White Opportunity.

This blog documents my experience as a first-time restaurant owner.

I hail from the web industry, therefore know next to nothing about starting a restaurant. Only one thing I am certain of – running a restaurant is an awfully time consuming business (but which business isn’t?). IMO, time is a small price to pay compared to the amount of potential this place has. Plus the opportunity of being able to own a restaurant at such beautiful location was too great a temptation to turn down.

2 months ago, I was presented with the opportunity to tenant a space to start a restaurant. It’s in the historical black and white building of the Bukit Timah Saddle Club. (Who doesn’t love these old rustic black and white buildings?) With high ceilings, a great view of horses and lush greenery surroundings and just an approximately 10 mins drive (if you are lead-footed like me) from the city center, it is definitely not a common restaurant space found in Singapore. Unlike the newly renovated and refined black and whites at Rochester Park, this one comes unpolished. Cracked walls, old tiles, retro fittings, and most significant of all the black & whites, it is UN-AIRCONDITIONED. I am a sucker for architecture, a big fan of the art-deco era and industrial steel furniture. Without saying, the place sold me.

Riders Cafe