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


12 responses to “A Black & White Opportunity.

  1. Yo Jan, Congrats on your new venture!
    Do post some pix of the interior and also views from the inside out. PLUS some tantalising food shots! 😉

  2. Had lunch at your restaurant yesterday with colleagues. I love the place! It’s close to impossible to find restaurants in Singapore that really has character, and character is what the Rider’s Cafe is full of. I am very glad that this beautiful place is in the hands of a first time restaurant owner. I will hate to see the building’s unique ambience tainted by a commercial joint. I will be back again and again. Keep it up!

    PS I didn’t get your name, I’ll like to say hello in person the next time I visit.


  3. We had brunch with friends and our kids yesterday. The menu is wonderful and the quality of the food is excellent. We love the setting, atmosphere, and the fact that you have an extended brunch and kids menu.

    Although the waitstaff is very friendly, the service definitely needs some work. Orders came out separately (by 1/2 hr intervals), we waited a very long time for our food (1 hr), and we had to repeat basic requests a few times (eg. sugar for coffee and clearing dishes). Granted, it was very busy, but hopefully that will continue based on your great food/restaurant so you’ll need to train your floor staff and kitchen on how to handle the volume effectively.

    Despite the service aspect we will definitely give Riders Cafe another try and welcome your arrival!


  4. Hi,

    Hard not to fall in love with the place indeed. And the menu is full of good surprises! I am an UN-CONDITIONAL fan of your UN-AIRCONDITIONED space. Interesting initiative as well to start a blog… Why don’t you keep up with it? And why so much (good) French music in your restaurant?

  5. You already know how we love your restaurant…so we don’t have to tell you. We will have to organise another lunch/dinner or maybe even a brunch with the crew this time.

    Hang in there you two – you’re doing fab!

    ST x

  6. Hi! I just wanted to say that my family and I enjoyed our lunch at your restaurant yesterday (Fri March 21st). I had asked for an 11am reservation and you had called back confirming that you had managed to get a table for us. That was very good service.
    While we were there, my kid dropped his lego toy onto the tin roof overlooking the balcony. A member of your staff risked life & limb to get it back for us.
    My hubby ordered the Riders burger and he absolutely loved the patty and the bun. I tried some of his burger; the patty was very tasty and aromatic, not bland like some other beef patties we have tried in other well-known places. Your beef patty was very well-seasoned. The bun was lovely and sweet – I like that!

    My beer-battered fish and chips was also very tasty. One of the very best fish & chips dish that I’ve eaten for a very long time.

    Well done!! For a first-time restauranteur, you’ve done very well. The place has its charm. Very unique. I love that the tables are spaced far from each other and I love the non-air-conditioned air and ambience. Singapore has too many air-conditioned places which are too cold for my liking.

    My girl friends and I will be going to your restaurant next weekend for brunch. I am confident that it will be another lovely eating experience for us all.


  7. Hi,

    My friend and I went to your cafe last Sunday. I really like the restaurant and the ambience. All yours staff were nice and friendly. This s very important to bring back your customers. Well done.

  8. Hi! Lovely ambience for a leisurely Saturday brunch! Child friendly too. We enjoyed your breakfast selection and great coffee. Will def be back. Be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner 🙂 Well done, keep it up!

  9. Salman Bokhari

    Hi, Jan,

    Christine and I really enjoyed the evening tonight! I am also glad that the service was a bit slow since that enabled us to soak in the sublimal suroundings even more! So don’t rush now please!

    The UN-AIRCONDITIONED part is really welcome news!

    Best wishes

    Salman & Christine

  10. Good service, good food and I simply love the place. Cheers~


  11. Had lunch with a friend yesterday. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch and coffee and dessert. Love the ambiance too and even though we live on the eastern side the drive was truly worthwhile!

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