In Singapore, pizza is often seen as party food, not something to be enjoyed on the go. It's an easy option for casual get-togethers at home or at work, and is typically the go-to dish that's best shared among friends because it's filling and, well, convenient.
Gibran Baydoun of Lucali BYGB is out to change that. With the recent opening of Proper Slice, he aims to bring New York's neighborhood pizzeria grab-and-go concept to Gemmill Lane, alongside other New York-style restaurants like Burger Bar and Luke's Oyster Bar and Chop House.
We had a casual chat with Baydoun to find out more about Proper Slice and its offerings.
Talk to us about some of your most fond memories that involve pizza slice joints in New York.
A New York pizza joint is like a chicken rice stall in Singapore. If you ask anyone which is the best, they will often say it’s the one closest to their house.
For me and for many, living in New York was a literal struggle. I often lived paycheck to paycheck, and there was something complete and fulfilling about slipping into that slice spot around the corner and getting a couple slices of white pizza and a drink and having that be my meal for the day, or similarly after a real night out, when you’re standing there with your friends at 3:30 am having a few slices. Funny enough, it did not matter if the night was legendary, boring, or messy, you ended it properly over some pizza or a Stromboli.
What are your thoughts on the pizza scene in Singapore and what do you hope Proper Slice adds to it?
Here in Singapore, it feels as if Italy reigns supreme when it comes to pizza, but we wanted to funk up that idea, first with Lucali BYGB and now with Proper Slice BYGB. Italian or Neapolitan pizza is typically smaller and meant for the individual, but our pizza is bigger, thinner, lighter, and meant to be eaten with your hands, folded.
How did the concept came about? Was it always in the pipeline or did the current dining situation – with ever-evolving rules and restrictions – somewhat give you an “A-ha!” moment to set it up?
I have wanted a proper slice joint since the day I landed in Singapore. It’s the no-frills honesty that just feels right. I love the spirit of hanging in an alley off Gemmill Lane and having a few slices with my friends. What I thought would happen originally, was that Lucali BYGB would transform into a slice joint after hours, but since we don’t have after-hours here at the present time, it just needed its own home.
(Related: Lim Kian Chun of Ebb & Flow on launching eight concepts at the height of a global pandemic)
Walk us through the menu – how did you decide on the offerings and what should we be excited about?
Everything starts and ends with our original pie. The cheese, the sauce, the crust, the dough — that was key. Once you get that right, then you start having fun.
I knew white pizza was a must, as that is my favorite pizza of all time and I have missed having it, so it was purely selfish. Chef Ariana Flores threw spinach on one day, and the spinach and ricotta became a hit.
As for the other goods: Stromboli, garlic knots, meatballs, it just felt like natural accoutrements, and they are like the secret stunners that people in the know will really get. If you have ever met Chef Ariana or had her desserts, you know we are not getting away without having some sweets; tiramisu in a cup and a sweet calzone with ricotta and Nutella should probably be illegal.
Proper pizza eating etiquette at Proper Slice: Ask for cutlery or fold it up?
I will never tell someone how to eat their pizza, but I will say, I didn’t order any knives. Enjoy!
Visit Proper Slice at 110 Amoy Stree, 069930. For more information, click here