Smiles All Around

TO MAKE EVERY CUSTOMER THAT WALKS THROUGH THE DOORS of Al Capone's smile — that's the goal that Mr Anil Goswami has set for himself and his team. It's one he first conceived when he opened the first outlet of Al Capone's in 2015. Since then, the casual dining-cum-bar chain's outlet count has grown to four, the latest being at Kallang Wave Mall.

This outlet opened in October 2017, marking the first Al Capone's outside the Orchard Road belt. When asked why he decided to venture into Kallang Wave Mall, Mr Goswami says it was frankly a nobrainer. The 42 year-old tells HERE TO PLAY that it was driven by a mission to spread Al Capone's brand of laughs and family bonding over affordable food and drinks to eastern Singapore. "And there was no better place to start than at Kallang Wave Mall," he says, pointing to the mall's unique blend of sporting, fashion and family-friendly stores.

What inspired you to start Al Capone's in 2015?

I was struck by how expensive having a good time had become in Singapore. Whether it was drinks or food, everything seemed to be creeping up price-wise. So I wanted to offer folks a change and challenge the notion that you had to pass on higher costs to the consumer. At Al Capone's, we adopt a "love all, serve all" approach. Guided by this, we offer free food to whoever comes to the restaurant and isn't able to pay. It's our way of giving back to the community.

How different is Al Capone's Kallang Wave Mall outlet from its three Orchard Road outlets?

With Kallang Wave Mall, we wanted to play up the bonding aspect of Al Capone's. And different types of people bond over different things. So for the sport fans, we've got the latest games screenings. For those who prefer a quieter evening, there's an alfresco area tucked away in the back. And for families, there are large booths that are perfect for gatherings and special occasions. In my 20-plus years in the events business, I've seen that nothing brings people together better than good food and drinks. So we've brought everybody's favourite dishes from other outlets here as well.

What's a must-try at Al Capone's?

There are three dishes I would recommend. Order one of each to sample the different flavours they offer. Our pepperoni pizza is made fresh upon order and topped with premium-quality cheese. And in the name of inclusivity and bonding, we make it with turkey. In fact, we don't serve pork or beef in the restaurant, so that more people can come together over food.

Our lamb shanks are simmered for 18 hours and we add a pinch of Guinness to give them an extra kick. Then there's the ultimate bar food: chicken wings. We call ours mafia wings, deep-fried Cajun-style crispy wings served with a special sauce. Customers keep telling me to bottle and sell the stuff! It's funny because I concocted the recipe years ago, when I was cooking for a family gathering.

How important is your family in your business?

Very. My wife Rakshita is the most supportive partner I could ask for. And my son Aarneet is my number one foodtester. He's just six years old but he tastes my recipes and experiments and tells me whether they work. Kids never lie and they give you frank, constructive criticism. So my advice to my competitors? Have a kid test your food first!

When's the best time for someone to enjoy the Al Capone's experience for the first time?

Any time! There's always something going on, even on weekdays. Our mantra of working to put a smile on your face isn't just for the weekends — in fact, it's even stronger on days like Monday, when we know we have to work extra hard to help the working crowd beat the blues.

Al Capone's is located at #01-15 Kallang Wave Mall. Opens daily from 11am to 1am. Tel: 6282 5926.


Step into the magic of the golden era of Bollywood at Rocking Rickshaw, Mr Goswami's latest venture at Kallang Wave Mall. Just two doors down from Al Capone's, the restaurant invites diners to the heyday of the Hindi film industry, with a live band from Mumbai jamming to tunes from the era all night. And you can't miss the real-life auto rickshaw that sits outside the restaurant. "The place was inspired by the rickshaw wallahs (drivers) of India, who know the ins and outs of every city," he shares. "You want the best briyani? You ask them!" Mr Goswami is confident that these rickshaw wallahs would point to Rocking Rickshaw's take on popular Indian dishes like chicken malai tikka (spiced grilled chicken) and tandoori paneer shashlik (skewered and roasted cottage cheese cubes) as some of Singapore's best. Wash down this desi fusion menu with some of the most affordable daroo (booze) in town.

Rocking Rickshaw is located at #01-12 Kallang Wave Mall. Opens daily from 11am to 1am. Tel: 6282 5174.