Food For Now: Dessert chef Janice Wong launches new ice-cream parlour Softhaus
Janice Wong is best known for her dessert creations, from her initial 2am: dessertbar at Holland Village, to the Janice Wong sweet concept brand, with confections available online and from her physical shops. Now, she’s set to expand her empire just a little more, with the launch of her brand new store Softhaus, specialising in ice cream.
Having debuted on 15th August at Great World City, Softhaus aims to blend sweets and art into a single multi-sensory experience, and poise itself as “a happy place for people — where ice cream is for everyone.” “After 14 years in business, and pushing ourselves to innovate even as the industry was unsteady, now feels like the right time to introduce a new concept, which in many ways highlights the evolution of the Janice Wong brand,” says Janice. “Supported by our new partners at Vertex Ventures SEA, we have the goal of bringing the Softhaus experience to people all over the world, sharing the joy, one ice cream at a time.”
“I love ice cream, and during lockdown, that was the thing that kept me going. It was always one of my dreams to sell ice cream, and it was quite natural for us to do this concept, even with how saturated the market already seems,” adds Janice. “We decided to get innovative with our ideas, and sell ourselves on the availability of keto options and how fun all our flavours were, each one made with fresh ingredients, at a reasonable price point, and our signature toppings, including marshmallows and nostalgic gem biscuits. It was all about giving people that sense of fun and a moment of happiness, with this experience that wasn’t your usual ice cream concept, what with meringues and popcorn and macarons.”
Softhaus is anchored by high quality, locally sourced and sustainable ingredients to produce its 16 ice cream flavours, such as tangy Mango Banana Passionfruit, a KETO-friendly Chocolate Sorbet, and Pear Thyme Honey Eucalyptus, which is a wonderfully complex botanical delight. The same attention to detail extends to an array of 20 toppings and inclusions, including freshly baked macarons, crunchy popcorn, and handmade chocolates. Choose to have your custom creation in a waffle cone, cup, or sandwiched between fluffy, rainbow coloured bread — a tribute to the Singapore style of enjoying the treat. A truly inclusive experience, Softhaus includes options of plant-based milk and sugar substitutes in its offerings.
“Janice Wong has always been about doing things differently. When we started out, no one was combining chocolate and art into a box, and we found that there was a gap in the ice cream market, where no one was creating ‘pure’ ice cream anymore, with no stabilisers or other additives,” says Janice. “Our philosophy has always been rooted in quality ingredients, and that’s so important to us. 2am started off sugar-free, but we just didn’t market ourselves that way. And I realised as I grew older that I’m becoming more health conscious, and I want to enjoy myself without having to compromise on that.”
The launch of Softhaus follows a recent financing round led by Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia (Vertex Ventures SEA) into the Janice Wong Singapore business. In partnership with Vertex Ventures SEA, Janice Wong Singapore continues its digital transformation in the F&B scene. True to the Janice Wong Singapore brand, Softhaus has incorporated fun digital motion and animation into its food retail experience.The brand has also developed its very own curated mobile check-out page to keep the lines moving in a more seamless manner.
“Janice Wong Singapore has constantly pushed the boundaries of dessert making through the years. Looking ahead, we are excited to work with Janice and her team to incorporate new technologies and techniques to stay ahead by introducing new confectionery concepts, such as Softhaus, that speak to the new modern age of consumers,” says Chua Joo Hock, Managing Partner of Vertex Ventures SEA.
“If we were to expand, we’d like to be relevant to the culture of the place we’re in, like if we were in Japan for example, we’d offer things like wagashi or rice-based toppings, or the cone itself could be different,” muses Janice. “Over time, we’ve grown so much as we adapted to the various places we found ourselves in, and over the next few years, we’ll be looking at more collaborations with other brands, putting products in their space. We’ve also got plans to celebrate various ‘days’, like World Coconut Day on 2nd September, where we’ll be working with another vendor to use their discarded coconut husks, or International Coffee Day, where we’ll feature 2 single origin coffees. “
Softhaus Great World City is located on Basement 1, wrapped in pastel pink and cream yellow with splashes of bright red, turquoise and cobalt, the parlour’s interior boasts youthful and upbeat energy, designed to tease the imagination of its visitors.
“We will never compromise on the quality or service of our brand, so if we’re not ready to open a new franchise, we’ll stick to whatever we have until we get it right,” says Janice. “The brand and the product grows organically, together with our customer base. But really, we’re just excited to give people the experience, that instant gratification from enjoying our products, and build a community that’s all about fun.”
Softhaus Great World City
Where: 1 Kim Seng Promenade, #B1-K135 Singapore 237994
Operating hours: Daily from 10am to 10pm,
More information available on Instagram @softhausicecream