Almost post Covid-19 I am very privileged to be joining Elsa, owner of Seletar, Singapore Cuisine for a meal. Upon entering the beautifully decorated and spacious restaurant we record our names and contact details for contact tracing. I can see that the Covid-19 lockdown has not been easy for Elsa, having invested into a new business with a lot of time and energy as well as emotion. Even so, she is gracious and communicates in a peaceful, professional, pleasant and welcoming manner so I feel right at home.
As we are seated a beautiful selection of food is presented. It looks amazing and unusual and it tastes wonderful. Singaporean hawker style food is not normally available in restaurants in Singapore but in New Zealand it is special as you don’t usually see this here. It’s a great opportunity to discover its interesting flavours and vibrant colours. You know it must be good when Singaporeans and people from outside the region come to eat here especially for its authenticity. and unique quality.
Seletar has grown fast since its opening early this year, adding new staff to the team to meet customers’ needs. Elsa feels very blessed and proud of her team. “It’s a matter of giving and your team will be happy to give back to you,” she says. They are well qualified, very skilled and experienced in each of their respective jobs. Trained in French, Italian and Spanish cuisine in Europe, chef Faizal, always with a big smile on his face, is using his birth country Singaporean food experience for the foundation of his food preparation at Seletar. He loves to experiment with flavours and takes great pride in cooking as well as plating the food. “We eat with our eyes as much as with our mouth,” he explains. It is obvious Faizal is as passionate about cooking as Elsa is about her business.
The team members at Seletar are not only skilled but have lovely, warm personalities as well and are well travelled. I can sense the cosmopolitan vibe of this multicultural group.. Singaporean food incorporates flavours from several parts of the world, and includes those of the Eurasians, Malays, Chinese and Indians, Singapore’s main four ethnicities. Faizal gives this his own twist with flair.
I love the flavours and enjoy the food as much as the company I am with. I am delighted that some of the dishes I taste remind me of the food I ate as a child when living in Holland. Throughout history Dutch sailor men brought back spices from the East. Indonesians were one of the ethnicities starting up their restaurants in Holland and so its palate became part of the Dutch diet. All of Faizal’s food is made with love from scratch. One of the dishes served proudly is Elsa’s own recipe Beef Rendang, fast becoming a hot seller. Absolutely melt in the mouth I say!
Seletar’s eating style is very much based on sharing where a variety of food is served centrally on the table. Dinner guests help themselves to small portions from each platter as each palate pleases. It’s very sociable and encourages conversation all round.
As we are still in lockdown level 2 tables are arranged carefully providing the required space. Elsa takes great pride and care to give the customer the best service possible. All surfaces and equipment are meticulously cleaned and there’s one server per table only for minimal close contact.
Elsa is doing her absolute best to continue giving her clientele the best service possible and reassure her guests that Seletar is a safe place to come to. Booking in advance is essential so that arrangements can be made to make sure the necessary staff will be there to serve the guests.
Seletar is located on 39A Devon Street East in New Plymouth. It has a beautiful new website seletar.co.nz where you can read about its history, promotions and menu. It’s very user friendly so I suggest you check it out. Seletar also has a link on sosbusiness.nz if you are interested in buying a gift voucher for a friend or loved one. I definitely recommend you make a booking as you will not be disappointed in Seletar’s welcoming environment.