See how a radio DJ pursued his love for food.
The man behind the Chillax Cafe, radio DJ Darren Wee, 29, founded a casual French-Japanese resto-bar named Babette. Located along Tyrwhitt Road which houses hipster cafes, Babette is set to jazz up the Jalan Besar stretch with its offering of urban industrial swank.
Opened in July, Babette offers a unique blend of casual French-Japanese dishes - employing French cooking techniques with Japanese ingredients. The 64-seater restaurant is inspired by the 1980s film “Babette’s Feast” – a Danish film about how a good chef can transform a dinner into a love affair.
Babette is decked with custom-made wooden furniture pieces and concrete floors juxtaposed with red brick walls. It claims to be set as an unpretentious but hippy dining and drinking spot where the selection of beers, wines, and cocktails also play an equal focus.The restaurant’s menu draws inspiration from familiar flavours in comfort dishes, but often with a tongue-in-cheek called ‘Babette twist’. While most of the dishes are prepared using classic French techniques, Japanese ingredients are mainstay features in the main courses as well.
Darren started the business because he loves the F&B industry. He constantly checks out new food places for his food segment on Sunday at 987FM, so this brought about a natural interest in the topic.
According to Darren, starting a restaurant is always full of challenges. “Besides developing a good brand through good food and affordable prices, there's also the ever-present manpower crunch issues; dealing with Government authorities on licences and permits; and of course, learning to deal with building and renovation contractors,” Darren said.
For instance, Darren had to learn to communicate more in Chinese and the Hokkien dialect as he can’t speak to contractors in English. Darren adds that he also had to pick up a lot of terms commonly used by the contractors so they could understand him better and give him exactly what he want.
This radio DJ/restaurateur/former band member of MONOCHROME points out that every restaurateur can tell that the capital involved in starting up a new restaurant is never a small amount. As for them, they spent a ‘really high 6-figure’ amount to put together Babette because of the kitchen equipment that they had to customise to make full use of the small space that they have.
Currently, Babette offers an all-day Happy Hour "Bucket Of 5 for $39 Only" deal. They are hoping to create more awareness about the deal because it's all-day and certainly affordable.
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