Archive for July, 2011

American Sushi

I travel to the US regularly, mainly to Seattle, Orlando, and New York, and I make it a point to see what the various Japanese restaurants on this side of the ocean are like.  You never know where your next good idea might come from!  This week I’ve been in both New York and Orlando and have eaten at three sushi bars.

One observation is that the menus here are loaded with all kinds of fusion sushi rolls and significantly less traditional nigiri.  I have a feeling that the diners are primarily ordering these rolls versus the straightforward nigiri or sashimi.  I feel that’s the case as you can tell the fish quality is not good; it’s mushy and in the thawing process (frozen for a long time) the water has permeated the fish. So it ends up with a limp feel and bland taste.  Which is unfortunate for the traditional sushi lover but if the majority of customers are ordering fusion sushi, then I can see why the restaurant would want to save money and invest in the rolls.  Coated with sauce, deep fried, and full of garnish means that the fish taste is lost amongst all the ingredients.

Fusion sushi roll

Don’t get me wrong, I think fusion sushi rolls are fun and have been thinking about adding some to our menu.  Maybe have an experimental period where people can send in suggestions.

There aren’t many Japanese restaurants in Singapore that offer up fusion sushi.  The two that leap to mind would be Kinki and Sun and Moon.  Any others?

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July 29, 2011 at 6:37 am 3 comments

Standing Sushi Bar in the blogosphere

I use blogsearch.google.com to keep on top of what folks are saying about Standing Sushi Bar.  It’s a great tool to find out what people are thinking and how their experience at the restaurant was.  Plus it’s simple to use; I just type in “Standing Sushi Bar” (including the quotes) and if anyone has written about the restaurant, I’ll see it.  Plus they include a date filter so I can see which our the newest entries.

Here are some recent reviews:

Sparklette – “Standing Sushi Bar‘s high quality, fresh and affordable Japanese food has stood the test of time, the standard remaining consistent over repeat visits to the different outlets.”

爱makan – “Attentive and prompt service, easeful atmosphere, economical sets menu and gratifying grubs. Tell me who in the right mind won’t be back for more?”

My World – “If you are looking for somewhere to eat fantasticly fresh seafood, this is the place to go.”

Blurting – “We also ordered fried Yakiudon which was one of the best I’ve ever had… just when I thought dinner was over, a mixed sushi platter was served. The sushi was good – fresh fish with small amount of rice underneath. The California roll was delicious.”

July 26, 2011 at 10:17 am 2 comments

Alcohol + Free Food = Winning!

Well hey, look at that, I have a bar now.  Stocked with beer, sake, shochu, umeshu, and whisky!  I just so happen to have a big kitchen to go with it.

  • Purchase 3 bottles of any beer or a 300ml bottle of sake ($25) and receive tori karaage (worth $10) and edamame ($4) free! Must order all 3 beers at once but don’t worry, we’ll keep them cold for you.
  • Purchase any bottle of alcohol between $60 – $95 and receive ebi tempura maki ($12) and edamame ($4) free!
  • Purchase any bottle of alcohol between $100 – $175 and receive an assorted sushi platter (7 nigiri, 2 maki, worth $25) and edamame ($4) free!
  • Purchase any bottle of alcohol from $180 onwards and receive a matsu sashimi platter (7 types of sashimi with 14 slices, worth $45), ebi tempura maki ($12), and edamame ($4) for free!

Promotion valid only for dine-in at Standing Sushi Bar 8 Queen Street and can not be used in conjunction with other promotions. Promotion not applicable to sake sampler and whisky sampler.

Valid during all operating hours.

Umeshu

Happy drinking and eating!

July 15, 2011 at 1:09 pm 4 comments

Hiring sushi chefs and bar staff

Hi all, Standing Sushi Bar is looking for sushi chefs and bar staff.

Sushi Chef: Minimum 1 year of experience, adaptable, and looking to learn from experienced chefs.  Need to be able to work well under pressure and in a fast-paced environment.  Must speak English.

Bar staff: Articulate, sociable, and trustworthy.  Willing to work late (midnight+). No previous experience necessary.  Must be fluent in English.

Salaries are dependent on experience

If interested please send your CV to eat@standingsushibar.com

Please note these positions are open only to Singapore citizens and permanent residents.  We don’t have quota for work permit / s pass at the moment.

July 12, 2011 at 10:52 am Leave a comment

Where’s the service staff?

Great article by Rebecca Lynne Tan regarding the shortage of manpower hitting the service industry.

From the Straits Times

Jul 10, 2011

Wait… where’s the service staff?

The staff crunch at eateries is so bad that restaurateurs have had to cut back their operating hours

By Rebecca Lynne Tan

Do not be surprised the next time you go into your favourite restaurant and see its owner clearing tables.

Restaurateurs here are facing such severe service staff crunches that some are having to double as runners, delivering food to tables and helping to clear them.

Some have also had to limit operating hours or close off seating sections to cope with the manpower shortage.

When LifeStyle visited newly opened bistro-restaurant The Dempsey Brasserie in Dempsey Hill two weeks ago, the owners were seen pouring drinks behind the bar counter and clearing tables.

Opening hours have been cut too – it is open only for dinner on weeknights, but all day on weekends.

Says the restaurant’s co-owner Terence Tan, 40: ‘I can’t even begin to open for breakfast or lunch on weekdays – we just don’t have the capacity to, in spite of having advertised for staff.’

Over at two-week-old eatery Wild Oats at Punggol Park, its chef-owner Willin Low, 39, had to enlist the help of five friends last weekend to clear tables and serve food. The group, which included bankers and marketing managers, worked an average of five hours each night over Saturday, Sunday and Monday night.

Chef Low says: ‘We probably need about 15 service staff to run our Punggol Park outlet smoothly, but that weekend, we had only eight wait staff.’

He adds that he had to close a third of the 300-seater restaurant because of his staff shortage.

F&B players blame it on the tight labour market.

Mr Andrew Tjioe, executive chairman of the Tung Lok Group which employs about 800 staff, says: ‘We are experiencing full employment (in the market) now, which makes it difficult to find staff. It was tough in the last couple of years with the opening of the integrated resorts, but it is just as bad now.’

Chef Low says: ‘Everyone in the industry is fighting over the same number of staff.’

The service sector foreign worker quota, where foreign workers can make up only 50 per cent of the company’s total work force, does not help, nor does the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) recent increase of the foreign worker levy and qualifying salaries for the S Pass and Employment Pass, say restaurateurs.

Foreign worker levies now start from $180 for skilled workers and $280 for unskilled workers, up by $10 each.

Qualifying salary threshold for S Pass applicants increased 11.1 per cent, while the qualifying salary thresholds for the Employment Pass (EP) were raised between 12 and 14.2 per cent across the three EP categories.

Mr Keith Loh, 37, who owns restaurants such as Bedrock Bar and Grill and Oriole Cafe and Bar at the Pan Pacific Serviced Suites in Somerset Road, says: ‘The increase squeezes our operating margins and we find it hard to transfer the costs to the customer.’

Adds Tung Lok’s Mr Tjioe, who says he will still hire foreign workers because he has not much choice: ‘It increases my costs, but it doesn’t change the way I hire.’

But MOM offers some relief for pass renewal. Its spokesman says: ‘Employment Pass and S Pass holders affected by changes to the qualifying salary criteria in July 2011 will be granted a renewal of up to two years if they renew their passes with their current employers.’

That might be good news for operators. But getting the passes renewed is not always easy, they say.

Mr Loh tells of one of his baristas, a Nepalese whom he had trained from scratch, who had his S Pass renewal rejected after working with the company for two years. The barista, who had won a local latte art competition, had to be let go.

Restaurants lament how well-trained staff, who have been with the company for anywhere between two and six years, have also had work pass renewals rejected, which then leaves them having to retrain new staff from scratch.

Restaurateurs say that when they renew work passes, it is because they deem the worker to be good, otherwise there is little incentive for re-hiring them.

MOM says it reviews the eligibility criteria for work passes from time to time. Changes were made in recent years to motivate employers to reduce their reliance on low-cost, low-skilled foreign workers, invest in productivity and improve the quality of their foreign manpower.

Companies can log on to its online Employment/S Pass Self-Assessment Tool (sat.mom.gov.sg) to check if their potential employees meet the requirements.

Finding Singaporeans for the job comes with its own set of challenges.

Says The Dempsey Brasserie’s Mr Tan: ‘There is a distinct lack of passion among Singaporeans in becoming service professionals. The root cause is people’s perception of service professionals. But being a server does not equate to being a servant.’

Operators point out that low pay could also be one reason it is tough to employ Singaporeans. Operators say staff no-shows, especially among Singaporeans, are common – they almost expect their employees not to show up for work. Some might work for a week and disappear without a trace.

The MOM suggests that F&B employers looking to recruit approach the relevant Continuing Education and Training (CET) Centres for job placement services, as well as career centres at Community Development Councils (CDCs) and the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), which provide job-matching services for unemployed Singapore residents.

F&B players hope more Singaporeans will consider going into the profession, and learn the ropes and rise through the ranks from the bottom up, just like in any other trade.

Mr Loh says: ‘It takes just as much skill and professionalism to be in this industry as any other.’

Still, in spite of the staff shortage, new restaurants continue to sprout like mushrooms.

And with high rental overheads and operating costs, a new restaurant cannot afford to wait for an optimal number of staff before it opens.

Mr Tjioe adds that the Tung Lok Group, like many other restaurants, opens its new restaurants even when it is under-staffed.

He says: ‘If we have to close a section, we will do that so that we can cope with the service.’

rltan@sph.com.sg

July 11, 2011 at 1:23 pm Leave a comment

It pays to be kind

I admit I’m addicted to the Singapore Seen section on Stomp. While they bill it as a lofty site for citizen journalism, it has turned into a portal showing the ugly side of us all living together on this tiny island.

Public transportation woes, maid troubles, anti-foreigner diatribes, aaaggghhh!

Is this country really debating whether an able-bodied person should let an elderly or pregnant commuter take the priority seat on public transportation?  Isn’t the answer obviously “OF COURSE?”

The government has run campaigns to encourage kindness and graciousness. I’m not sure what the results have been, but it seems many folks are motivated to take action only if there is a concrete payoff.

So us here at Standing Sushi Bar are taking our sushi sensibilities and wading into the teeming, seething mass that is the Singapore public.  Our goal?  Encourage people to be kind – it will make Singapore more pleasant for all!

Do good with Standing Sushi Bar

We’re sending our ninjas out across the streets, trains, and buses of Singapore.  Armed with these kindness cards, if they see you doing something nice then you get free sushi!  Give up your seat on the MRT, hold the elevator door open, pick up some litter… no act of kindness is too small.

At Standing Sushi Bar, it pays to be kind.

July 6, 2011 at 6:53 am Leave a comment


Standing Sushi Bar

Join us at our branches in Singapore's fast-paced Raffles Place business district or unwind in our flagship branch located in the Bras Basah Arts & Historic neighborhood. High-quality, healthy, affordable dining. Open at Marina Bay Link Mall and 8 Queen Street!


eat@standingsushibar.com

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