Update 06 | 09 | 2006

After 10 years as Bobby Rubino's, this space at Chijmes Singapore has undergone a major revamp. Dropping the Rubino's moniker, and under new management, the space will now be known as "Bobby's".

Click on the Logo at right to go to the new Bobby's home page


By Wong Pui Sing : Asian Hospitality

 Sept 1996


Update Sept 2006 - this space has been renovated, see the new Bobby's home page



Bobby Rubino's Place For Ribs, located at CHIJMES Fountain Court, features a casual jazz club setting. Although it is the first outlet outside of America, the US design was deemed inappropriate for the Singapore market. New elements of 1960's Motown appear as architectural details, such as the black & white checkered floor, ball lights, display niches at the bar, and custom-made metal screens. Lava lamps at the back bar add a humorous point of discussion for patrons waiting to be seated in the dining area.

Luxurious curved leather banquettes provide intimate areas to dine while remaining an integral part of the overall room. Heavy textures of raw brick, concrete and a specially commissioned monumental artwork are given dramatic presence with a well thought out lighting scheme.

While the content of the menu remains true to its' American counterpart, a new graphic look is derived from the style of jazz album covers from the 50's & 60's. Developed as a total graphic package to enhance the overall concept, designs for place mats, menu covers, drinks list covers, business cards and stationery are an extension of the monumental artwork in the dining room. Final details such as food presentation on black crockery, resin handled cutlery and friendly courteous staff, Bobby Rubino's Asian flagship is smokin' as one of the chains top revenue earners.

Footnote : Bobby's is now 10 years old and is still Smokin' - recent additions include a pool table at the bar, it's THE happenin' venue Thursday eves at Chijmes.

bobby4.jpg (14100 bytes)



W I N N I N G   R E S T A U R A N T   C O N C E P T S


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'The act of dining, wining and socializing in Asia is becoming a holistic experience, so restaurateurs must approach their establishments in the same light if they are to win customers hearts'.

Intense competition, demographic changes and demand for value, variety and service are the key factors to be considered when setting up a restaurant.

A successful restaurant, cafe or food establishment needs a well-defined concept, says Francis Loughran, director of Food Services Group Australia, who has 21 years of experience as a consultant for retail food and foodservice industries in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He says the concept must include every aspect of the operation, from the food to the interior design, table top design and service standards - right down to the napkins - to offer customers a complete and satisfying experience.

Ed Poole, director of Singapore-based Poole Associates, says the restaurateur needs to have at least a few key basics in mind before seeking out a consultant. 'Generally, if the restaurateur does not have the name of the restaurant, the chef, the food they want to serve, the location in mind, we are not ready to look into the design of the restaurant', he says.

Restaurateurs must then decide on the theme - classical, contemporary, ultra-modern or alfresco - and support it with research into growth-area index, income levels, customer profiles, age distribution, household demographics and lifestyles and industry indicators from local and national restaurant and catering associations and industry bodies.


Of all the different concept elements, food and location are the most crucial in a restaurant's success; one may precede the other or even synergize to give birth to the beginnings of the concept.

In the case of new American ribs restaurant in Singapore, Bobby Rubino's The Place For Ribs, which opened in August 1996, Mr. Poole researched the origins of ribs to arrive at a Motown theme that reflects the Afro-American origins. The concept was then developed further with black and white floors reflecting the Chicago influences, American 'schoolroom' chairs, metal partitioning, leather banquettes in an overall casual 1960's jazz club setting. Taking into consideration the location of the restaurant, Mr. Poole also 'cleaned-up' the original menu and spruced up the logo design to appeal to the business and up-market target clientele expected at CHIJMES city central location.

A site in a building may prompt a restaurant theme, as in the case of Spot on the Hub in Singapore's Science Park, a science and technology center. Mr. Poole created a Renaissance theme symbolizing the revolution of art and science, using Leonardo da Vinci's paintings and giant colored apothecary's jars befitting its location. He says that once he and the owner saw the location, the concept came together in 15 minutes because the owner had a clear idea of the food he wanted to serve. 'We took advantage of the huge curved windows on one side fronting lush foliage, had the tables radiating around them and filled the center with round tables. To create intimacy in a spacious setting, we broke the monotony with cheesecloth curtains'. The rest was just efficient planning and some clever tricks such as removing suspended ceilings, hiding ugly pipes and shifting air-conditioning ducts to one side and shielding them with fish-eyed portholes for long term aesthetic effect.

Finishing Touches:                                                     

'A good design does not date'. A well thought out, well catered and well managed place lasts'. Mr. Poole says. 'The trick is to have a strong concept but keep the decor general to allow for changes in food over time. A well-designed restaurant has to have a strong concept which is conveyed subtly but thoroughly without being too transparent'.


Bobby Rubinos

30 Victoria Street, Singapore


Project Design Team :

Poole Associates Private Limited

Ed Poole, Marie Bogart, Willy Baet, Teo Siew Lin


T 65 | 6536 | 3928


Graphic Designer : Peter Fifield + Associates



Photography : Peter Mealin




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