French & S’porean Chef Pals Open Muslim-Friendly Hawker Stall Serving Pizza, Wagyu Pasta & Burgers - 8 Days Skip to main content

French & S’porean Chef Pals Open Muslim-Friendly Hawker Stall Serving Pizza, Wagyu Pasta & Burgers

The professional chefs became hawkers while waiting for the JB-SG border to reopen so they can launch their pizza restaurant in Malaysia.

French & S’porean Chef Pals Open Muslim-Friendly Hawker Stall Serving Pizza, Wagyu Pasta & Burgers

You might do a double take when you stroll past western food stall Mat Western in a Bedok North kopitiam. For one, there’s the tongue-in-cheek name, and then there’s the unlikely pair running the stall: French-born Muslim convert Umar Fabrice (right in pic), who used to be the executive chef of now-defunct European restaurant 7Adam, and Singaporean Hidir Kasim (left), who cooked at Osteria and Pizzeria Mozza. Umar tells us the stall name reflects his “Mat Salleh” (a colloquial Malay term for a caucasian man) status, as well as his decade-long friendship with Hidir (“mat” is slang for brother).

The corner stall, which opened on October 29, serves pizzas, burgers and other main courses. It stands out among its neighbours thanks to its large chalkboard menus and a professional-looking pizza counter – a hint at the pair’s original F&B plans. In early 2020, the two chefs were supposed to open a pizza restaurant in Johor Bahru. “It was my last day at work at [Italian restaurant] Brunetti and I was heading to JB to open the pizzeria the next day. That’s when they announced they were closing the [Johor - Singapore] border. It was definitely a big blow,” recalls Hidir.

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