Murals on the walls inspired by 1930s children’s books are fascinating.
Making its way to the most iconic building along Keong Saik Road is Potato Head Folk, the first international opening of PTT Family, the hospitality and entertainment group best known for the acclaimed ‘Potato Head Beach Club’ in Bali.
In an exclusive interview with Ronald Akili, CEO of PTT Family, he said that they have been planning to open a venture in Singapore for a number of years. And the opportunity to create something beautiful in a historical and iconic building in the heart of Chinatown felt right. It officially opened in June 6.
According to Ronald, the theme of the entire space can be described as ‘fun’, ‘whimsical’ and ‘referencing childhood’ with the murals on the walls that are inspired by 1930s children’s books illustrations and much of the sculpture complementing it. A creative eye marries this well with the more static aspects of the space that are inspired by the history of the building that was built in 1939. Furnished with eclectic vintage furniture and artsy knick knacks, the restaurant feeds just as much to the visual as well as to the gastronomical appetites.
Like any other business trying a new venture, Potato Head Folk faced challenges
“As the building on Keong Saik Road is a protected heritage site, there were a number of challenges to overcome to create four different floors of hospitality operations. However, we are proud that we have overcome these challenges and have restored a much loved building in Singapore,” said Ronald.
While they prefer to not disclose the exact figure they spent to put up the restaurant, Ronald said that it was a great deal. He also said since the business is still very new, they are concentrating on keeping their standards ‘very high’ and making sure all their guests leave happy. But in the future, they will be creating partnerships with like-minded organisations in and around the industry to keep their offering fresh and interesting.
The Potato Head Folk experience
Potato Head Folk welcomes guests to a Three Buns gourmet burger dining experience on the first 2 floors with a quick dine and takeaway at the first floor's kitchen and table service at the dining room on the second.
The third floor opens up to a sleek and sexy art deco cocktail bar, Studio 1939, that is created to be an ideal space to lounge and hang out.
The Rooftop on the fourth floor brings guests into a bohemian oasis that has a tiki bar and a BBQ smokehouse that is surrounded by a flourishing herb garden.
The founding partners
Ronald Akili, 33, began his career in property development with his first project a gated residential community in Indonesia.
In 2009 Ronald decided to combine his love for food with his passion for art, design and architecture and opened his first F&B outlet, Potato Head. In 2010, Ronald opened Potato Head Beach Club in Bali which proved to be a major success, catering to more than 2,500 people on a daily basis. In 2012, Ronald audaciously set out to build a residential estate as a model for modern and environmentally-friendly development, Tanah Teduh. By engaging nine of the nation’s leading architects and working with the natural contours of the land and being sensitive to the surroundings, they created a property that is synonymous with leading edge environmental design.
Following this Potato Head Garage was opened in Jakarta, and proved to be an instant success. Ronald is passionate about creating unique hospitality concepts, all of which break away from products that are already available in the market and one of his key considerations is always to give back to the local community – something he looks forward to achieving with Folk in Singapore.
Jason Gunawan’s, 33, embraces his expertise and passion for the creative arts, and design in particular was first nurtured as an undergraduate in Product and Graphic Design at the prestigious Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. With his studies complete and a true love of all things vintage developed, Jason’s first foray into business was the souring, restoration and trading of vintage furniture and posters, as well as classic cars. After seven years in Australia, Jason returned to his hometown and began the planning of his next venture, an art gallery.
In 2008, in partnership with a friend, Ronald Akili, Jason opened Ark Galerie, a gallery that was swiftly to become a key player in the Indonesian contemporary art scene. In 2009, also in partnership with Ronald Akili, Jason decided to combine his love for food with his passion for art, design and architecture and opened his first restaurant, Potato Head, with this began the story that would culminate in the creation of the Group - PTT Family.
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