Out of anywhere in the world to open a second restaurant, why has Clayton Wells, the visionary behind Automata, chosen Singapore? “I think it’s because of its proximity to Australia, my connection with Singapore through friends and business partners and [the fact] it’s a thriving food city. I’ve been there multiple times,” he says.
Wells is getting ready to open Blackwattle this spring with his business partner and life-long friend, Loh Lik Peng. Joeri Timmermans, Automata’s sous chef since day one, will lead the kitchen as head chef. Sarah Knights will leave her post as senior sous chef at Quay to fill Clayton’s shoes back home as head chef of Automata.
While the food will carry the same fine dining accents, Wells wants the room to be fun and energetic. “It will start with the DNA of Automata,” he says. In terms of produce, Blackwattle will have different local options for seafood, vegetables and seasonings. “That’s the exciting part, “ he says. “We’re also broadening what we do.”
Blackwattle will feature an a la carte menu alongside his signature five-course degustation menu. The booming lunch trade inherited with the neighbourhood has informed the decision.