Monday, September 6, 2010

Italian home gastronomy - a premature death

Some time ago, I wrote a post about Quattro Stagioni - an Italian deli that used to be located in the basement of Liang Court. Well, what to my knowledge used to be the only Italian deli in Singapore, is now closed. Although nobody in Liang Court seems to know the reason (according to them, the staff suddenly vanished), I suspect it's due to poor sales. I have been patronising the shop regularly for quite some time, mostly at weekends, and I have rarely seen it busy. In other words, a specialised Italian deli in Singapore doesn't seem to work.

Quattro stagioni used to have the most basic products, forget about an extensive range, but it was a good start. I was delighted that finally I could buy bottarga or good Italian tomatoes, or proper Italian cheeses to complement a meal, including real buffalo mozzarella and burrata. Of course, my expectation would have been that in a few years time there would be more of these shops around the island, carrying a more extensive range of products. Unfortunately, the initiative died prematurely, leaving little room for future development.

Why did the concept of an Italian deli not work? Is Singapore not ready for it yet? Is it too small a market? Is it because we don't have a cooking culture? I would like to leave this question open to the readers.

16 comments:

alkanphel said...

I'm very sad to hear that they closed down. I was so happy to find a place where I could buy guanciale and burrata! But now I guess I'll have to make do with other stuff. I believe the reason why they finally closed down is because not enough people buy such specialty products.

amiscell said...

That's also what I thought, but if that's the conclusion, the implication is that we can't expect anything similar opening up again in the near future. No more burrata, guanciale, etc etc... for quite a few years!
Why can such a concept survive in Hong Kong? Yes, they have 2 million people more than us, but is that really it?

ice said...

You might wish to try their restaurant Bollicine located at The Rivergate along Robertson Quay. Not sure if there's a deli within, but Bollicine is the offshoot of Quattro Stagioni Deli.

amiscell said...

I will give it a go. Looking at this site: http://www.lotus-restaurants.com it seems like Amalfi and Lotus Grill are also part of the chain, or was ownership transferred to Bollicine?

alkanphel said...

Yeah I'll be sad if I can't get those food stuffs again. It is possible that the HK concept could have other reasons for surviving - maybe deeper pockets, supplying more restaurants or there must be a lot of Italian-food cooks in HK!

I do hope some of the other gourmet marts here might eventually consider bringing the Italian specialties like guanciale or bottarga.

mc said...

that's sad. i've heard plenty of good things about this place, and have always postponed trying it.

hopefully they'll pop up somewhere else.

your blog's a wonderful insightful read :)

amiscell said...

alkanphel - true, location, as well as different model (for instance it could be an extension of something else which works) could make a big difference.

mc - you are not alone hoping that. Thanks for the compliment, but mine is just a recipe blog. Your blog has some really interesting, beautifully written posts!

Val said...

The shop has shifted to Orchard Central Basement 2.

alkanphel said...

Hmm I didn't see the shop at Orchard Central's basement but I saw this Italian eatery called Eatalian Gourmet Garage. Their stock seems to be similar to what Quattro sold but there was no burrata, guanciale or bottarga there.

amiscell said...

Interesting, is that in Orchard Central?
I will go and check it out, we can always suggest that they can add those products to their range!

alkanphel said...

Yup it's at Orchard Central B2, at the farthest corner from the usual entrance.

Anonymous said...

The shop has interesting things like lardo and speck, but yes no burrata, guanciale or bottaga..

I'm so happy they still have Martelli spaghetti. BY FAR the best pasta I have tried. The sister shop opposite it can even upgrade your pastas to use Martelli pasta.

amiscell said...

Anonymous - I must agree with you on Martelli pasta!

alkanphel said...

I went by the shop to ask them again and it seems that they did own Quattro Stagoni and the products there were moved over here when Quattro closed down. And according to the lady there, the products are out of stock and they have to wait for the boss to order them again.

amiscell said...

That sounds like great news!! But which shop are you referring to? The one in Novena Square or the one in Central?

alkanphel said...

Oh it is the one at Central!

Related Posts with Thumbnails