With such wonderful dishes comes many questions we were curious about and being the first Central Asian Kitchen in Singapore, we had burning questions for the owners for The Nomads to understand their thought process behind The Nomads SG:
If there was only one dish that you could eat for the rest of your life from the menu, what would it be and why?
o Olzhas Zhiyenkulov (OZ): I am torn between Beshbarmak and Sturgeon. Beshbarmak is our most traditional dish that in itself contains a lot of defining elements of our culture and history. Sturgeon from the Caspian Sea is one of the most sought-after delicacies where I come from.
o Shawn Kishore (SK): I enjoy the Plov for its balance – crunch from chickpeas, acidity of the pickles, creaminess because it is a “risotto”, and hearty with seasonal A4 wagyu. There are so many parallels I can draw between the Plov and South Asian rice dishes that I’m familiar with too. It’s simply comforting.
How did you create the right kitchen (chef/staff) for the whole concept which is rather rare in Singapore?
o OZ: To do that, I knew I had to expose my business partner Shawn Kishore and our Executive Chef to the most important culinary and cultural phenomena in Central Asia. We even got exclusive access to some of the top-rated kitchens across the region when we were there.
o SK: I believe the right kitchen is an ever-evolving one that meets the demands of the industry, chefs, and diners, so we’re always keeping abreast of new kitchen technology and equipment to inject new life to what we can serve up.
How long did it take from start to launch for The Nomads and what was the toughest thing you had to deal with when starting The Nomads?
o OZ: Including the design stage, it took us a year. Considering this is my first F&B venture, I had lots of doubts, but Shawn helped me to understand and see through them.
o SK: We launched right before COVID-19 hit, so surviving the pandemic as an experiential dining establishment was a huge challenge. Thanks to government support and the team’s resilience and readiness to pivot, The Nomads was able to capture the food delivery market share during the lockdown.
Can we expect any exciting new concepts coming up?
o Kafe Samsa is about to spruce up its wine list to include Central Asian offerings from the fertile soils of Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Morocco. A new food menu will be launched too in June.
o OZ: We also have a number of ideas that are equally unique and disruptive as The Nomads, for example, The Silk Road Bar & Grill. The mission behind Silk Road Concepts for me is to share the heart and soul of my old home with Singapore, my new home, through a common language – food. As long as the situation with COVID becomes more manageable and can raise the necessary funding, we will continue to do so via new dishes and new concepts.