“When you feed someone, they’re putting their trust into you that the food will nourish them. You’re contributing to someone’s wellness and how they feel. It’s one of the few businesses that can affect someone’s life”. That’s Michelle, the creative head and hands behind Fin, a wholesome food joint in Publika.
What started off 5 years ago as a poke bowl pop-up in Publika’s art row is now a full-fledged restaurant serving rice bowls, salads, wraps, and sandwiches.
“We don’t try to do too much with our food. We make the sauces interesting, and from scratch every morning. Nothing is bought off the shelf.” The menu items at Fin are simple, but by no means basic. Joel, business partner and food “scientist” (actually graduated in Food Science) developed the menu through research, development, and playing with food.
While poke bowls are still on the menu, there are many more options now. Ingredients like seared salmon, garlic aioli, sautéed vegetables, and brown rice come together for a hearty meal. There are equally scrumptious options for vegans, like this vibrant bowl of roasted vegetables, quinoa, and salad.
Fin’s goal was always to serve wholesome food at affordable prices. But even with a clear goal in sight, grit is put on the grill when tough times hit – MCO. Upon announcement, Fin quickly responded with their 3-point plan: a robust sanitising procedure, a call to spread kindness instead of virus, and that they’re just a delivery order away.
“Why did I open a restaurant” a question that has crossed Michelle’s mind during this trying time. “The F&B industry is hit very hard, but we are lucky we can still open. F&B is one of the lucky ones”, Joel placates.
To add salt to MCO wounds, the team was in the midst of setting up their new space, a different lot in Publika. Helmed by Jonathan, partner and “operations guy”, the new lot has recently resumed renovations.
“We have to launch the new place as our contract here is ending. It’s not that we’re optimistic, we’re just going to work very hard. We’ll be doing our team a disservice if we don’t move forward. Life has to go on, and it will be hard, but we will not be crippled by this pandemic.”
Designing a new space in the midst of a pandemic may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. A bigger lot, new seating layout to accommodate physical distancing, smaller group seatings, acrylic barriers, bigger windows, and outdoor dining are some of the new features being implemented.
“When the world feels like it’s going to end, it changes your perspectives and priorities – we’ve gotten rid of frivolous things like really expensive furniture. Our goal is to make food in a welcoming space that makes people happy!”, says Michelle.
It isn’t just the interior that will be getting an upgrade, it’s also the menu. With a bigger kitchen, the team has been experimenting with more flavours, like with this roast sambal salmon plate. They’re also planning for homey Asian broth dishes using produce off-cuts; waste not want not!
The emphasis on optimising ingredients runs through the eatery’s veins. “It feels cheating to serve a salad but not know where it comes from. Quality matters because the veggies are not cooked or processed. When we get our veggies from Cultiveat, we know it’s a reliable source.”
“The values Cultiveat holds – good for the environment, minimal waste – they align with ours. We support the cause by serving your produce”.
Michelle Liu, Co-Founder of Fin
“Plus…”, Joel adds, “these lettuces stay crisp for an insanely long period of time, so we end up discarding a lot less. It also makes for a better eating experience”.
There’s so much to look forward to with Fin 2.0. “We’ll be doing heaps more collaborations; we don’t want to exist in a bubble. Craft beers from Ales & Lagers, creating flavours with Pun’s Ice Cream, and Fin-inspired ceramics with Stoneworks Ceramics are just some of the things in the pipeline”.
Update: Fin’s new outlet successfully launched in August, 2020 with a refreshed look and menu.