Anything goes in Nicco Santos’ new Singaporean chain

Santos’ first scalable concept offers nasi lemak and a variety of roti

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Inspired by Singaporean hawker culture, Your Local and Hey Handsome’s chef Nicco Santos adds a new dimension to Century City Mall’s Hole in the Wall with experimental nasi lemak and roti prata chain, Any Any.

Noting a lack of rice dishes in the food hall peppered with stalls of different food offerings—from burgers to cookies to tacos—Santos thought Charlie Paw’s scalable concept could use a little Singaporean and Malay fix, starting with traditional rice meal, nasi lemak.

“There’s no rice except in Bad Bird so I thought we’ll do nasi lemak, something very quick and of good value, not expensive but comforting,” Santos shares. “Nasi lemak is traditionally just rice, dilis, egg, cucumber and sambal. There’s also another variety called nasi padang where you take your rice and you take all your ulam, parang karenderia. So it’s actually a merge of those.”

nolisoli eats restaurant anyany hole in the wall
Nasi lemak with beef rendang. In Singapore and Malaysia, nasi lemaks are usually sold wrapped in banana leaf. Any Any incorporates that together with a printout of what seems like a page straight out of word hunt puzzle with every serving.
nolisoli eats restaurant anyany hole in the wall
Nasi lemak with sambal prawns

Any Any’s take on the Malay breakfast staple altered a few parts of the original recipe to fit the Filipino palate. Apart from making the sambal sweet which is traditionally salty and spicy, almost equivalent to the local bagoong, they also changed the usual sunny side up egg to a deep-fried hard boiled one but said that they are also considering other options like ramen eggs to add a soft and gooey bite. Beef rendang and sambal prawns provide an alternative spice to the original recipe which consisted of lamb curry.

Meanwhile, roti prata is Any Any’s answer to Filipino’s affinity towards “picka picka” food. Diners can choose from a variety of flavor options, both sweet and savory, to go with the tradition Singaporean fare which is usually paired with a curry dip but for the sweet selections, Santos and his team opted for an orange zest-infused condensed milk dip.

nolisoli eats restaurant anyany hole in the wall
Cheese roti prata with curry sauce
nolisoli eats restaurant anyany hole in the wall
Caramel roti

Despite Santos’ extensive background in Asian cuisine, he admits it has been awhile since he last made roti pratas, which to him needed particular attention when cooking, especially because the ingredients he stuffed the flatbread with before frying—spicy crab, a variety of cheeses and mackerel, not to mention, salted caramel, bananas and sangkaya—have different cooking times.

The first of many branches to come, Santos says part of their idea behind Any Any is to mimic the Singaporean hawker setup wherein each stall specializes in one or two main dishes. “Definitely, the next one will be noodles. Of course there needs to be another rice dish but a different one, not nasi lemak so people will still come back here,” he says of their next venture which is projected to open by November at the Fort.

nolisoli eats restaurant anyany hole in the wall
Nicco Santos
nolisoli eats restaurant any any hole in the wall
The name Any Any is inspired by the usual answer Santos would get from his friends in Singapore whenever they’re asked where they want to eat: “Any, any.” In essence, similar to the Filipino “kahit saan” or “kahit ano”.

Keeping up with his vision of Asian comfort food, which he champions through his two other restaurants, Santos admits that the details of the next Any Anys, even of this one, are not set in stone, however one thing’s for sure: he and his team will continue to “aim for hugs”. “When you eat dapat para kang niyayakap,” Santos says.

 

Related stories:

Nicco Santos found family through his culinary journey

Hey Handsome shows you the side of Southeast Asian cuisine you’ve yet to taste

Four lessons we learned about the food industry from Makers Setup F&B edition

TAGS: any any Hole in the Wall Indonesian nasi lemak nicco santos nolisoliph roti Singaporean