Grain Traders aims to serve hearty comfort food for the everyday worker, providing variety, quality, and an experience for the senses and soul in a cosy, comfortable ambience.
What it is: This local dining concept aims to be more than your typical casual, lunch-time joint. While serving up food quickly is a priority, it separates itself from the rest of the lunchtime offerings by ensuring that its food is not just hearty but also healthy. Everything is freshly cooked on the spot — whether it’s grilling, searing or roasting — in its open kitchen, which takes up almost a third of the restaurant’s 1600 square foot space. But Grain Traders is also more than your run-of-the-mill health-conscious salad bar. It is like a friendly and homely escape from the monotonous daily grind and the claustrophobic confines of the workplace. Here, the modern but cosy decor and airy space provide a welcome respite from the eye-stinging white lights and stark interiors of your office cubicle.
What it looks like: The expansive space is modelled to feel like a home and a warehouse, mixed in with plenty of natural sunlight, greenery, enamel crockery and cast iron pots, not to mention specially handcrafted tables, chairs, and stools that were made in Bali. The earthy hues and eclectic mix of decorative elements make it feel unpretentious and welcoming.
Who’s behind it: Founder and directer, Javier Perez, says that the idea for Grain Traders has been brewing in his head for over three years ever since he launched Kilo at Kallang Bahru. He had been wanting to serve up the same kind of quality, wholesome food that Kilo has come to be known for, but executed with a fast-dining concept. However, things just didn’t fall into place until now. His close friends and collaborators, creative directer, Ken Yuktasevi, and co-founder, Joshua Adjodha, are all responsible for making this idea a reality. According to Perez, “The lunch hour is the most important time of the day, and we wanted people to be able to spend that time in the best way possible.”
What it’s got: Puerto Rico-born Perez emphasises that the food is slow-cooked, hearty and fulfilling, and that the sheer variety makes for all kinds of possibilities for mixing and matching for any taste and preference. How it works is that patrons select from a spread of cooked food and fresh vegetables and pick enough items to constitute a bowl ($16), and each bowl consists of one grain, one protein, one hot vegetable, two cold vegetables, one sauce and one topping. Grains include Japanese sushi rice, brown rice and quinoa, amongst others, while meats include grilled stripling steak, chargrilled salmon, seared marinated tuna, slow-roasted pork and roasted chicken. Greens run the gamut from roasted butternut squash to grilled beets and carrots, to marinated peppers and cucumber pickles.
Those who hate making choices when it comes to food can opt for any of the six signature bowls, nicknamed “Hero Bowls”, all of which bear eclectic names ranging from The Beebop which has striploin with salsa verde, to The Tantrum which comes with lentil cakes and pico de gallo. The kitchen is run by Gisela Salazar Golding, who polished her culinary skills in Spain, and indeed the manner in which the food is displayed on the counter top that is reminiscent of authentic tapas joints in Spain.
Grain Traders, CapitaGreen Building #01-01/02/03, 138 Market Street Singapore 048946