Josh Niland and his wife Julie Niland are opening their first restaurant outside of Sydney in Singapore later this year. Since launching his acclaimed fine diner Saint Peter in Paddington in 2016, the seafood-specialising chef has become arguably the world’s leading proponent of the “fin to scale” (sometimes known as “scale to tail”) movement – an approach that emphasises using the entire fish, rather than just the fillets, in cooking.
Saint Peter has consistently been considered one of Australia’s finest restaurants both at home and abroad. Fish Butchery – a takeaway counter, grocer and the engine room for Niland’s restaurant prep – soon followed, selling dishes such as double yellowfin tuna cheeseburgers with Murray cod bacon and rosemary, garlic and fish sausages. Charcoal Fish, an upscale take on a classic fish’n’chip shop feted by visiting celebrities, and Petermen, an à la carte companion to Saint Peter, make up the rest of Niland’s group of restaurants.
Until now, he’s never opened a restaurant outside of Sydney, let alone overseas. Niland’s as-yet-unnamed concept will be in The Edition Hotels’ new location in Singapore, a 204-room hotel in the thick of the city’s Orchard Road district, that should open in November, if all goes to plan. “Earlier this year Edition reached out,” Niland tells Broadsheet. “Whilst opportunities like this have come up in the past, this one seemed super exciting and we’ve been really well aligned.”
A hallmark of Niland’s style is to take familiar dishes and genres – burgers, pies, butcher shops – and then refract them through a seafood lens. This time, he’s tackling the classic hotel steakhouse concept. “I’ve been trying to do this fish steakhouse for quite a while,” Niland says. “But I think a large venue like what we’ve got ahead of us in Singapore is a perfect environment for doing the idea.”
The new restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, with different menus for both services. In a notable departure for Niland, in addition to a greater focus on vegetables, both menus will feature meat. “Meat being a part of this menu will be fun, there’ll be land-based proteins, which will be different to usual,” says Niland. “There’s a part of me that wants to show people that I can actually cook a broad spectrum of things.”
Although this new project will incorporate Singaporean influences and ingredients, diners can expect it to be cut from the Saint Peter cloth. “I can’t talk too much about it, but people that have dined at Saint Peter and Petermen, and been around the food that we’ve done and the books we’ve written – there’s an expectation around the style,” Niland says. “It’s not going to be too far removed from what people expect, but it’s a big venue. That’s exciting.”
Niland’s unnamed new steakhouse will open at The Singapore Edition, 38 Cuscaden Road, Singapore, in November.